The railroad business will change due to the push toward renewable diesel fuel. According to the USDA Grain Transportation Report, an expansion of the soybean crush will likely result in more soybean meal exports and less focus on whole soybean export sales. Fifty-eight percent of whole soybean shipments are moved in cars owned by the railroad while more than 90 percent of soybean meal is shipped on privately-owned cars. Since meal is more difficult to move, the report said railroads may be less likely to invest in railcars in the future. Lease rates for privately owned rail cars were approximately $600 per car per month this past fall. That’s 50 percent higher than the rates seen in early 2020.
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