There are several reasons why Class I CEOs express guarded optimism about 2018: a strengthening U.S. economy, with growing consumer confidence; a tight trucking market; a rebound in crude-oil production; and a promising near-term future for certain energy and chemicals business.
Yet, there are some developments that also warrant caution, they believe. Coal production continues to erode as more utilities turn to natural gas to fuel their generation plants, and North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation efforts keep a pall over the future of U.S. exports.
So, how do the CEOs view the positives and negatives? And what are their expectations for 2018?
To find out, I approached each Class I and asked their chief executive to provide comments via email. My “Outlook 2018” feature in our December issue is the result of that effort.
I also reached out to American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association President Linda Darr for her take on next year. Her comments can be read here in this online article.