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Closer Look: Flat Cars

Published Annually

The Closer Look Series combines AllTranstek’s rail equipment intelligence with FTR’s dynamic forecasting model and analysis in a collaborative methodology to produce the industry’s most thorough and comprehensive rail equipment forecast and report.

Learn about the ownership trends in this car type, and the expectations for new investment across the various sub-segments of the Flat Car fleet.

NOTE: Save $300 off of each additional report you purchase in the Closer Look Series. Please contact Helen Lile at hlile@ftrintel.com or (888) 988.1699, ext. 1 to obtain a Promotion Code for ordering.




Flat Cars are open decked cars designed to carry large products that may not fit within the confined spaces of other railcar types. Over the years, this fleet has become segmented into specialized functional areas, including intermodal, automotive, and general service.

The variety of car types in the Flat Car fleet have large disparities in performance depending on the markets they serve. Intermodal and automotive have been two of the most active markets in rail over recent years, while general service flats have largely struggled. The ownership of this fleet is diverse and varied depending on the equipment type. However, investment rates in flat cars have been relatively strong versus some other equipment categories.

Shippers and lessors are finding few opportunities among the Flat Car market, thus railroads own the vast majority of equipment.

Closer Look: Flat Cars Report Contains

  • A detailed fleet analysis by AllTranstek’s unique car type segmentation scheme, dividing the Flat Car fleet into 8 diverse sub-segments
  • Current fleet sizes for each sub-segment
  • Pictures and illustrations of select car types, unique components, and important commodities
  • Unique characteristics inherent to sub-segments
  • Snapshot of each fleet segment’s age profile allocated by 5- year buckets over a car’s 50-year life
  • Ownership mix profiles across railroads, shippers, and leasing companies
  • Historic deliveries, retirements, and utilization
  • Forecasts and projections by fleet segment: new car deliveries and retirements
  • Current and historic traffic activity across car types
  • Traffic shares, commodity drivers, and industry drivers
  • AllTranstek’s unique Car Demand Pressure Index, illustrating the relationship between fleet size and shipping activity since 2007
  • Fleet ownership mix, age profile, retirement trends, and new equipment delivery forecast for the fleet as a whole
The full Closer Look Series includes Box Car, Covered Hopper, Flat Car, Gondola, Open Top Hopper, and Tank Car reports.  The entire series is now available. Be among the first to receive this series of reports and gain a competitive advantage by increasing your knowledge of the rail car supply chain and macroeconomic indicators.



Closer Look: Flat Cars

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