An Air New Zealand 787-9 Dreamliner (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Freight rail efficiency and the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure will be getting attention this week as will the continuing saga of falling oil prices.
Norfolk Southern, which serves 22 states mostly east of the Mississippi, announces its quarterly earnings. The railroad is a big carrier of coal and serves 24 automobile assembly plants, 14 of which belong to Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, according to Standard & Poor’s.
January is far away on the calendar from hurricane season but catastrophic storms like Super Storm Sandy in 2012 do have a lasting cost for federal and state governments by wrecking expensive infrastructure.
Case in point: the South Ferry subway station in Lower Manhattan was underwater for a week and was severely damaged by Sandy, which arrived just three years after a $500 million project to modernize that station had been completed.
A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee panel holds a hearing on how to reduce the impact of catastrophe storms and accelerate recovery from them. On the witness list: current Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate and former FEMA head David Paulison.
Aircraft maker Boeing announces its earnings for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said last October that oil prices would need to fall “a long way from where we are now” before “you begin to see even [an] incremental impact” on airlines’ demand for more fuel-efficient aircraft.
But the price of crude has fallen from about $85 a barrel in October to less than $50 a barrel today.
Boeing delivered a record 723 commercial aircraft to airlines in 2014. One Boeing executive recently said annual deliveries “will grow easily to over 900 over the next few years.”
One reason Boeing can meet the booming demand is its non-union plant in North Charleston, S.C.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is trying to dissuade Boeing workers in her state from joining the union which represents Boeing workers in Washington state.
Also Wednesday morning, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on safety and efficiency on freight railroads.
Among the witnesses are Frank Lonero of CSX Transportation and Chris Jahn, president of The Fertilizer Institute.