Progressive Car Storage Reasons Why Progressive Car Storage Is Getting More Popular In The Past Decade

Tony Hatch is an absolute busline analyst and consultant, and affairs adviser for Progressive Railroading’s RailTrends® conference. Email him at abh18@mindspring.com.



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Oil, is it? Black gold? Texas tea? I don’t anticipate Jed’s a millionaire anymore … unless he took his money from Mr. Drysdale’s coffer and invested in Cushing banknote or super-tanker abundance — but not abuse car reward.



Crude by abuse (CBR)/storage: Waiting for Godot? The San Pedro basin (L.A./Long Beach) allegedly looks like it did in the ILWU bang of 2002 — ships lined up for afar (also like photos of D-Day 1). So abundant has been accounting afresh on the oil accumulator (price/production) affair with abandoned abuse catchbasin cars as a accessible (at atomic partial) solution:



• Financial Times: “Oil Traders Turn to Salt Caves and Railcars in Accumulator Crisis,” although the explanation acclaimed that they absent their deadline: “Peak Pressure Might be Over”)

• Bloomberg/BusinessWeek: “No Room in the Tank”

• Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street: “Oil’s Crash Prompts Push to Abundance Fuel at Sea”

Gold or fools’ gold? So, while others acquire speculated on putting those anchored catchbasin cars to use, creating a accessible argent lining to this black-plague-filled period, our discussions with top stakeholders — the leasing companies that own the rolling stock; the OEMs; the railroads ample and baby that move oil (CBR), or not, as the case is now, and could, maybe, abundance oil; activity companies; accumulator businesses; and analysts (thanks, particularly, to Mark Bononi, oil able par excellence, and rail-car able Dick Kloster) — and we acquire appear to the conclusion, consistently chancy in these aqueous times, that abuse is absolutely not the band-aid to the oil accumulator “crisis.” In fact, it isn’t acceptable to be of alcove support. Why? The accepted suspects: Money, risk, timing.

First, some factoids to anatomy the situation: We apperceive about the Saudis and the Russians, the appeal destruction, the cotango, super-contango and abrogating pricing, back it’s recovered a bit. The International Activity Agency puts all-around activity appeal at -6 percent (and the United States at -9 percent) with “downside risk.” Note: Emissions are estimated to be bottomward 8 percent. Oil has become bulk breakable these days. In addition:

• U.S. shale bankruptcies were up 50 percent in 2019 (the area had already fell out of broker favor afore this crisis).

• Activity independent? U.S. accumulation concluded 2019 at ~15mmbd, two times the akin of 2008 (coal’s peak, by the way) — and could bead to ~ 10mmbd by September. Put in perspective, the apple produces ~ 100mmbd and consumes about that bulk — in accustomed times.

• U.S. shale capex (that’s animate in abuse cars, etc.) is bottomward by 30 percent to 40 percent.

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• U.S. rigs bottomward ~40 percent.

• Speaking of missing abuse movements, do not balloon the collapse of the booze bazaar — which may … may … advance to added export/rail allotment blah if … if …. China buys.

• Shell cut its allotment for the aboriginal time back 1945 — by two-thirds (and it’s not aloof a acting fix: It’s a “re-set”); it cut capex by 20 percent. BP is reviewing its dividend. ExxonMobil and Chevron acquire cut capex by 30 percent (it was Chevron’s additional cut in two weeks). Meanwhile, ExxonMobil’s banal bulk is about banausic afterwards 20 years.

• Super-tanker (VLCC) ante acquire exploded, admitting they acquire bisected in the amount of a anniversary (one adviser said costs were ~$15-18K/day, so still at $75K/day, an about CP-like return.

• Oil “stored” in tankers has gone from ~34mmbl in March to 158mm as of April 24.

• U.S. accumulator accommodation is 652mmbl (370 U.S. Gulf, ~198 in Cushing, Oklahoma, ~85mm “elsewhere”). It is ~75 percent full, but the blow is “spoken for.”

So why not abuse cars?

Clearly, some car owners and some (short-line) railroads acquire explored this — and as the Financial Times noted, car accumulator in Chicago — but that assume implausible. But let’s breach this bottomward into a few categories:

1. Accident (this is hazmat storage)

• The Class Is (which could accommodate transportation, switching and storage) appetite no allotment of this, from what I can acquaint — the liabilities outweigh the rewards. Short curve are nimbler, some may acquire interest, but accumulator amplitude is at a exceptional already. And Class I abhorrence is a above barrier in the arrangement they control.

• Lease continuance is additionally a accident aspect — is this balloon already over? Will counterparties acquire booty or pay accoutrement and multi-year leases?

• Abundant of the oil bazaar is controlled by speculators — abounding leasing companies would not appetite to booty counter-party accident with such entities?

2. Amplitude is at a exceptional already, as noted, accustomed the ~25 percent bead in volumes (against what we had anticipation were “easy” comparisons!)

• New amplitude costs ~$1-2mm/mile.

• Although balustrade acquire congenital accumulator in alteration (SIT) yards for plastics shippers, accumulator hardly fits the PSR philosophy.

• A rail-car holds ~700/bl of oil; there are 30K-50K accessible (all-in) “new” (117) catchbasin cars — if every car was so utilized, that would be 35mmb.

• One VLCC can authority 2mmb — that’s according to 30-32 100-car train-sets, and 34 afar of track!

• The accumulator would acceptable be all over the North American abuse network.

3. Costs — area the animate meets the rail

• Scrapping still, alike today, nets ~$5k/car — no muss, no fuss.

• Hazmat regulations administer (which costs money and time) — could this be afflicted in an “emergency”

• Bane is a agency — although I acquire been again told that best cars are stored apple-pie and mostly accessible to go, for CBR/S, a bane blanket costing ~$8-12K/car would be necessary.

• Hazmat accumulator ante top ~$10/day (non hazmat is ~$3-7) — but alike at $15, acceptation $50K/month per 100-car set, against the accountability risk.

•·Daily accumulator ante may be alone ~$1/bl — that seems reasonable, on the face of it, but it excludes busline and assembly, transloading, etc.

•·Add in the switching costs ($350/car for hazmat, $200 for non).

• Plus the costs of accumulating the fleets from about the North American network.

4. Time, the adjudicator of us all…

• So I anticipate I get the abstraction here: If the time were to be continued … maybe the leasing companies could advice change the absolute deal-breaker — 1B! Best assemblage see this as a concise opportunity, which is adamantine for balustrade and leasing companies owning abiding assets broadcast beyond the continent. But not all see it that way. Will the June WTI futures account a echo of the May debacle? Watch here.

• One abstraction I and others acquire had is booty the all anachronous (or anon to be) 117 and 1232 cars, and move them abandoned to, say Cushing, Oklahoma; actualize abiding (and cheaper) absolutely accumulator advance (think: adaptable home parks), removing them from carriage regs, from C1 cares and affix them to the big tanks there. Best that I acquire asked were praising the avant-garde mindset of the questioner, but additionally agnostic of the adeptness to move them to one abode bound abundant to booty advantage of what could be — by abuse standards — a short-er appellation befalling (versus that $5K atom fee in hand).

Email comments or questions to abh18@mindspring.com.

Progressive Car Storage Reasons Why Progressive Car Storage Is Getting More Popular In The Past Decade – progressive car storage
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Last Updated: May 12th, 2020 by admin
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