Demand still strong for inland barges

A big WorkBoat Stock Index gainer in recent months has been Trinity Industries. The Dallas-based company’s stock has been boosted by orders for new railcars and barges

Trinity’s rail group generated record financial results in the first quarter and saw a big increase in its order backlog. However, its smaller barge component has been a big contributor as well to the company’s bottom line.

During the first quarter, Trinity received barge orders of about $215 million, which increased its barge backlog to $508 million at the end of March. With production slots for 2014 sold out, Trinity said orders are now being taken for 2015 deliveries.

We have all heard about the boom in tank barge demand, but the company said demand for hopper barges has been recovering as scrap prices improve and barge traffic on the inland waterways increases due to stronger exports of corn, wheat and soybeans. As a result, earlier this year Trinity shifted some of its production capacity from smaller tank barges to hopper barges.

The demand drivers for new tank barges, however, continue to be favorable with backlogs stretching into 2015. As infrastructure investments in the energy sector are completed, Trinity said it expects to see shipments of chemicals and petrochemicals increase. The outlook for Trinity is good, with the company boosting the profit forecast for its inland barge group in 2014. 

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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