Johnson City, TN– Railroad tie markets are strong and should remain that way for the next few quarters, according to a report to the Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club (ALC), which met here recently.
A representative of North America’s leading railroad tie producing companies spoke to a large ALC crowd of sawmill and distribution yard companies from North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. Koppers Inc.’s Chuck Black, MidAmerica Procurement Manager, had encouraging words for the Hardwood industry club.
Tie purchasing remained stable in 2022 as other markets have declined, he said. The demand for both cross ties and switch ties was forecast to increase about 2 percent in 2022 to more than 18 million wood ties.
Black said that number could increase another 2 percent in 2023 and wood represents more than 95 percent of all tie products.
“I believe it continues to be the best material,” he said. “It performs the best for both cross ties and switch ties.”
Availability of product increased in recent weeks, Black said, as other industrial lumber and timber products declined. He compared tie demand to flooring lumber, which dropped through 2022.
The presentation included a basic education on tie grades and how manufacturers like Koppers determine the value of ties. He encouraged the attendees to work closely with tie procurement staff to deliver the highest quality product and receive the best return.
Koppers produces railroad ties, bonded rail joints and track components for freight, transit, high-speed, and heavy haul needs. The company also offers railroad services, including engineering, design, repair, and inspection of railroad bridges in North America and is a world-leading developer of progressive wood preservative and enhancement products.
The next ALC meeting is in Greensboro, NC at Embassy Suites on Jan. 10.
Learn more at www.lumberclub.org.