Crossties

NOV-DEC 2017

Crossties is published for users and producers of treated wood crossties.

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CONTACT RTA WEBSITE BECOME A MEMBER BECOME A MEMBER RTA WEBSITE CONTACT Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products Eagle Metal Products East Coast Railroad Gross & Janes Co. Hurdle Machine Works Koppers Inc. CROSSTIES • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 22 ECONOMIC SESSION Anthony Hatch, ABH Consulting Railroads that increase rates above rail inflation every year, about 2 percent, will need to provide better service and more capacity in the future. I call it the "Grand Bargain." We are seeing rapid intermodal growth due to better service; huge railroad investments; truck problems like fuel, driver shortages and congestion; the switch from other freight cars; and growing economy and trade. David Caldwell, Hardwood Market Report China is well over 50 percent of our U.S. lumber exports. But our exports are less than 10 per- cent of their total consumptions. We need them more than they need us. We have an abundant supply of hardwood tim- ber owned by private landowners who are willing to sell it for the right price. PROCUREMENT SESSION Ray Moistner, IHLA Our challenges include log exports—putting all eggs in one basket; labor—general and next generation; and wood byproducts. The key now is to believe something can be done about it. We have identified opportunities like increased auto- mation, more outreach to global markets, co-generation, robotics and less milling and more exporting of logs. We can all agree by now that there's enough wood out there, but access is still limited. Skipper Beale, Beale Lumber Company It all starts with timber. You can't have a sawmill if you don't have access to timber. We have a lot of eggs in one basket—China. If we have one trade dispute, we have a lot of problems. I'm concerned about the flooring business. We lost Stewart Flooring, which is Shaw Industries, and Armstrong in Jackson, Tenn. David Brazeale, Brazeale Lumber Company Even though equipment is more modern today to harvest timber, it is still very labor driven, which is a problem for us going forward. We have two months of supply in our log deck now. We prefer to have more like three months. I'm having trouble with byproducts such as fuel, saw- dust and bark. It's hitting our bottom line. Henry Christ, Dunaway Timber Company I have 30 days worth of sup- ply for the current production we have. I've left home to come here and my people are facing seven days of rain starting this morn- ing. This time last year, we had somewhere around 65 days worth of supply. Last year's weather was good enough that we never missed a day for snow. We could be facing weather this year. Every one of those logs going to that log yard for export would make a crosstie. Brett Franklin, Tri-State Timber Ash is unbelievable. Buyers come in and raise the price against each other. It is typically rare to have them come in and raise prices in middle of season. The buyers are not getting the volume they want. There is more and more competition from log buy- ers competing against sawmills. Geoff Henderson, Anderson Tully A huge volume of our stock goes into China and/or Asia. Asia is a necessity. As far as Anderson Tully goes, we have found in Asia that we're trying to find cus- tomer bases that keep it in Asia. Thirty-five percent of our production does go green to within a five-state radius of Vicksburg. THIRD PARTY & RR QUALITY CONTROL SESSION Nate Irby, Union Pacific We want material that's as good as we can get to begin with. Junk in is junk out. We have to get the best tie we can all the way thru system. In terms of from the time we get the tie to the time we send it on track, we are fine tuning things at the plant. Pre- and post-creosote formal inspections help us fine tune operations at the plant. We are also doing internal training at the railroad to make sure that everyone is on board so that we are sourcing the best ties. Brad Crawford, Norfolk Southern We are doing visual field inspections. We are inspecting after the ties are laid out and prior to installation and/or after ties are installed; borings in the field; third party lab inspection on the borings. We've paid a lot of money for ties, and I want to make sure they last a long time. Don Guillen, Association of American Railroads How does AAR ensure facilities meet and maintain their QMS M-1003? Auditing agencies are assigned to specific facili- ties. There are over 50 auditors trained by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC). All 134 components must be M-1003 QA certified. Manufacturers of railway ties are a required specification. Must be certified in order to supply to the railway industry. Kim Merritt, Southern Pine Inspection Bureau The benefit of having third-party auditing for standardized quality control programs is the creation of a level playing field among pro- ducers. This reduces subjectivity in results, RTA Conference Presenters Share Insight On Issues Affecting Wood Tie Industry Experts from all facets of the railroad, hardwood and wood tie industries were on hand at the 2017 RTA Conference and Technical Symposium in San Diego, California, Oct. 31-Nov. 3. e presenters shared their insights about challenges and opportunities the industry is facing today and what we might see in the next several years. Below are excerpts from their presentations. RTA CONFERENCE

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