Event Sponsors

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  • Amsted Rail Logo
  • American Railcar Leasing Logo
  • Atel Equipment Corp. Logo
  • Biggs Appraisal Logo
  • C.K. Industries Logo
  • Columbus Castings Logo
  • David J. Joseph Company Logo
  • Fifth Third Bank Logo
  • First Union Rail
  • FreightCar America Logo
  • GATX Rail Logo
  • Infinity Funds Logo
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  • National Railway Equipment Co. Logo
  • Nixon Peabody LLC Logo
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  • Railroad Appraisal Associates Logo
  • Railroad Financial Corp. Logo
  • The Andersons Logo
  • VTG logo
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Join Our Sponsor List Now! Who’s Who @ REF” Attendee List 2014 Agenda Speakers REF2014 Photos Hotel & Golf Read our
Rail Industry Update

Industry Partners

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  • ABH Consulting Logo
  • AMA Capital Partners Logo
  • Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Logo
  • BB and T Logo
  • BMO/Harris Equipment Finance Logo
  • CAI Logo
  • Chi-Freight Logo
  • Citirail Logo
  • Connell Finance Company Logo
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  • David Scot Consulting Logo
  • DVB Bank Logo
  • Ellwood Crankshaft Group Logo
  • Genesis Capital Logo
  • GLNX Logo
  • Helm Financial Logo
  • HWTSK Logo
  • Key Equipment Leasing Logo
  • McLachman Rissman and Doll Logo
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  • Midwest Railcar Logo
  • National Steel Car Logo
  • New Province Partners Logo
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Mission Statement:
28 Years Serving The Rail Industry

Over the last twenty-eight years, Rail Equipment Finance has established itself as the premier industry meeting addressing issues relating to the North American railcar and locomotive fleets. REF provides the most current information on fleet demographics as well as proven accurate predictions for the future. This data is presented in a concise format by the top experts in the field and is paired with information on the leasing and finance industries that support these fleets. Our attendees receive not only the experience of REF, but presenters’ statistics, diagrams, and presentations on a CD Data Disk.

For 2014 and beyond, Rail Equipment Finance will continue with this proven format, providing information vital to our industry as well as world class networking opportunities for our attendees. It will be done at a cost, subsidized by our Sponsors and Industry Partners, that represents significant value for our attendees and their companies.

Rail Equipment Finance 2014

March 2–5, 2014

La Quinta, California

For 28 years...........Railroad Financial Corporation's annual Rail Equipment Finance Conference has provided the answers to vital questions on the North American railcar and locomotive fleets! Fleet additions. Fleet retirements. New car "build" projections. Today's values for new and used railcars and locomotives. Projections for future values. Projected surpluses and shortages. An overview of financings and financial structures.

Our Faculty includes nearly 50 of North America’s top rail finance and rail equipment professionals and we make sure that they provide answers to the tough questions that are on everyone’s minds:

  • Economic Overview For Rail: The rail industry’s immediate past, present & future from 50,000 feet and 50 feet.
  • North American Railcar Review: The rail industry’s latest stats on 2013 railcar builds & retirements.
  • New Building: What types of new cars and locomotives will be built?
  • Shortages/Surpluses: What types of equipment will be in short supply....and for how long? What types will be in surplus due to market conditions?
  • Lease Rates / Equipment Values: What will happen to lease rates and equipment values in 2014?
  • Tank Cars and Sand Cars: How long will the boom last? When can buyers get delivery on new cars? What about new safety design requirements?
  • Retirements: What kinds of rail cars and locomotives will fall out of the North American fleet in 2014? What are they worth today, what will they be worth tomorrow?
  • New EPA Rules: How is locomotive fleet planning being tied to new EPA rules?
  • Loco Repowers & GenSets: What role are locomotive “repowers” playing in the fleet demographics? GenSet locomotives?
  • Natural Gas Powered Locos: Who is testing them? What impact will they have on the North American Fleet?
  • Operating Lessor Outlook: How did operating lessors deal with market forces in 2013? How will they likely fare in 2014?
  • New Finance Leasing Structures: How has the finance leasing marketplace for railcars been reborn?

Industry Strategies

  • Where will the dangers be? Where will the opportunities exist?
  • Who will be the most important “players” in the equipment equation in North America during 2014?
  • Are we headed for mergers and acquisitions?
  • What do they think? What do they say? What are they likely to do? Where will the money come from?
  • Where will the bottlenecks exist in our industry?

For 28 years, The Rail Equipment Finance Conference has been the "Gold Standard" for information on North American rolling stock. Equipment and rail finance professionals do their homework at Rail Equipment Finance’s sessions at the start of the year to assure success all year long!

Networking Opportunities!

Numerous official and unofficial networking opportunities give attendees direct access to industry professionals and......most importantly......decision makers! As useful as it is to make a business call on a potential client........playing a round of golf with him at REF 2014 is even better!

Who’s Who@REF

REF2013 saw the premiere of Who’s Who@REF, which allows our attendees to readily identify each other at our General Sessions and Cocktail parties to promote business contacts (or, possibly, to avoid each other!) It presently includes the names, titles/affiliations and pictures of REF2013’s Faculty and Attendees and will include new registrants in real time as they register for REF2014.

Join us in La Quinta, California for REF 2014
on March 2 – 5, 2014!

Conference Brochure—REF 2014

For 28 years.........Railroad Financial Corporation's annual Rail Equipment Finance Conference has provided the answers to vital questions on the North American railcar and locomotive fleets! Fleet additions. Fleet retirements. New car "build" projections. Today's values for new and used railcars and locomotives. Projections for future values. Projected surpluses and shortages, An overview of financings and financial structures. This year the answers to those questions are more important than ever!

Our Faculty includes nearly 50 of North America's top rail finance and rail equipment professionals and we make sure that they provide answers to the tough questions that are on everyone's minds...


“Here’s what people say about
Rail Equipment Finance Conferences...”

  • “A must-attend for investors, lenders & railroad professionals.”
    Barbara Wilson
    SVP & Chief Financial Officer
    Helm Financial Corporation
  • “The networking opportunities alone are worth the price. I cannot think of any similar event that provides even 50% of the value!”
    Rob Blankemeyer
    Vice President - Acquisitions
    First Union Rail
  • “If you are interested in understanding the state of the industry and can only go to one conference, THIS is the one to attend!”
    Dennis P. Neumann
    BNY Capital Funding LLC
  • “The Conference is a must for anybody who is not in the trenches on a day-to-day basis.”
    Desmond Hayes
    CAI Rail, Inc.
  • “There is no better venue available in the rail industry than REF!”
    David P. Murawski
    Vice President Sales
    Union Tank Car Company
  • “The broad equipment type, demand and underlying market presentations provide information that would take me months and dozens of interviews to collect.”
    Bill Rennicke
    Oliver Wyman

Rail Industry Update

This blog will be updated regularly........so visit it often!

Ed Biggs Weighs In On Grain Cars

As much as I enjoy reading prose of my own authorship, there are times when something comes across the internet that takes pride of place. Below is a piece that I recently received from our friend and REF2014 sponsor, equipment expert Ed Biggs.

He as agreed to allow me share it with you.

Don’t cut those C113’s and build more C114’s!

There is nothing worse for a rail shipper than to have product to ship and no cars to ship them in. I have been an advocate of repairing older grain cars rather than scrapping them for many years. While I still advocate repairing the repairable older grain cars, I also believe the time is at hand to build additional grain hoppers to meet the needs of grain shippers. 

Two types of railcars are most commonly called grain hoppers. The C113 type is the old 1970-1980 4750ish cubic foot capacity and the C114 is of 5000 and greater cubic foot capacity.

Last years dismal crop output idled many grain type covered hoppers. Sidelined first were the oldest cars and those needing repairs. At least one Western Class One Railroad reduced its older grain fleet by scrapping large numbers of cars. A number of leasing companies have selectively culled cars with high repair estimates. The big problem is that the pace of replacements has not kept up with retirements especially in 2012 where the focus of the rail car building industry has been on crude oil tank cars.

On January 1, 2012 the C113 fleet was 152,524 units and the C114 fleet was 120,321 units.

On April 25th 2013 the C113 fleet was 146,904 units and the C114 fleet was 120,905 units.

The 5,620 unit decline of the C113 fleet is in no way replaced by the 584 unit increase in the C114 fleet. The C113 fleet is down approximately 50,000 units since January 2007.

While there have not been any substantial shortages of covered hoppers reported yet, the potential shortage of cars has been masked by the lower than normal exports.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics point to a substantial increase in grain exports in 2013. What normally happens at the ports is that large numbers of covered hoppers wait for long periods as part of the throughput of the port facilities that are loading increasingly larger ships. There are quite a number of 1975- 1982 built 100 ton grain hoppers that are in that 31 to 38 year time of their life where they need a capital infusion to be useable to the end of their Interchange life of 50. Rather than scrap them either repair or flip them out into the industry to potential users that are willing to take the risk and make the repairs to the cars. You as an owner will yield in all likelihood a number substantially above scrap and shippers will have cars to use until the builders catch up. What about the high velocity on the railroads? Yes! The railroads can fly the cars across their systems to and from the ports. The problem is the substantial wait time at the ports where trains are held to load the ships. To get the best fleet utilization, domestic grain should move in modern 286K cars. It makes little sense to tie up those modern assets at ports when there is an alternative available on the cutting block.

According to the people in the know at the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Economic Research Service, the Farm Service Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service who are tracking what is going on in the grain belt 2013 is shaping up to be a record year for some of the major crops. All of the following statistical information is drawn directly from the USDA 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum Report date February 22, 2013. This report is very detailed and of interest were two items: 1) The size of the main four crops that load in grain type covered hoppers. 2) The estimated potential for exports which in my opinion the older C113 type covered hoppers can be best deployed.

Corn plantings for 2013 are projected at 96.5 million acres, down 0.7 million acres from last year’s 75-year high. Strong new-crop prices in both the futures and cash forward markets support a highly favorable net returns outlook, much as it did last year at this time. Corn production in 2013 is projected at a record 14,530 million bushels, up 3,750 million or 35 percent from the drought-reduced 2012 crop. The 2013/14 corn supply is projected to rise 28 percent to a record 15,187 million bushels as the increase in production far outweighs the year-to-year decline in beginning stocks with the smallest carry in 17 years. Prospects for a record crop are supported by higher harvested area and a return to trend yields. Harvested area is projected at 88.8million acres, up 1.4 million from 2012 and the highest since 1933. A return to more normal spring weather is expected to reduce this year’s planting opportunities for corn and leave more land available for soybeans.

A record corn crop for 2013/14 should improve ethanol production margins and lead to increased ethanol production. Corn use for ethanol is projected at 4.675 billion bushels for 2013/14, up 175 million bushels from last year, but below 2011/12 levels.

Corn Exports: U.S. corn exports for 2013/14 are projected up 600 million bushels to 1,500 million. Expanded world corn area and production in 2013/14 support continued growth in global corn use. Global corn import demand is expected to jump in 2013/14 due to falling prices, continued economic expansion, and growth in animal feed demand. Expected record production in the United States will boost exportable supplies sharply and improve competitiveness.

Wheat planted area for 2013 is expected up 0.3 million acres to 56.0 million. Winter wheat seeded area at 41.8 million acres is up 0.5 million from last year. Wheat production for 2013 is expected to decrease more than 7 percent to 2,100 million bushels despite increased planted area.

Wheat Exports: U.S. wheat exports for 2013/14 are expected to drop 100 million bushels from the 2012/13 forecast to 950 million with tighter supplies and intensified competition from other major exporters.

Soybean planted area is projected at 77.5 million acres, up 0.3 million from 2012 and up 3.6 million from last year’s planting intentions. New-crop soybean futures prices and current forward pricing opportunities are somewhat higher than last year at this time both in level and relative to corn. Several other factors also are expected to result in an increase in soybean plantings compared with last year’s intentions. Soybean supplies for 2013/14 are projected at 3,545 million bushels, up 11 percent from 2012/13 as larger soybean production more than offsets lower beginning stocks and projected imports. Soybean production is projected 13 percent higher at 3,405 million bushels mostly reflecting yield gains above last year’s drought-reduced level. Soybean plantings are projected slightly above last year as cotton plantings decline and opportunities for double-cropping increase in several of the wheat states.

Soybean Exports: U.S. exports are projected to rise to 1.5 billion bushels in 2013/14 on larger supplies and increasing foreign demand, boosting the U.S. share of global trade. However, U.S. exports will likely face stiffer competition from South America, where exportable supplies will be much higher than in 2012/13. Foreign demand will be driven by China, which typically accounts for more than half of world imports.

Rice Supplies: Total 2013 rice planted acreage is projected at 2.64 million acres, down 2 percent from 2012. The majority of this year’s acreage decline occurs in long-grain rice in the Delta states, where producers are expected to switch to crops that earn a higher return, such as soybeans. In contrast, medium-grain rice plantings are expected to expand in the South and California due largely to expected higher prices.

Rice Exports: All-rice exports for 2013/14 are projected at 93.0 million cwt, down 12 percent from a year earlier. The decrease is largely due to smaller exportable supplies of long-grain rice. Long-grain exports are projected at 61.0 million cwt, down 19 per cent. Medium- and short-grain rice exports are projected at 32.0 million cwt, up 3 percent from 2012/13.

Many factors go into the decision to scrap cars rather than sell them including depriving would be competitors. Even if no cars are scrapped, shortages of grain hoppers will increase as the harvest progresses. Some railcar builders have ample non tank car capacity that could deliver a portion of new grain cars at about the time their need will be felt. Building new grain hoppers sooner rather than later appears to be appropriate.

Ed can be reached at the address below:

Tony Kruglinski, Chairman REF2014

Edward D. Biggs III,LLC,ASA
Providing Valuation and Transportation Services to the Rail Industry
2255 Sumter Lake Drive
Marietta, GA 30062
678-236-5618 FAX
biggsappraisal.com Web Page
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