St. Charles, Missouri-based American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARI) has announced that it has begun managing its railcar leasing business in-house. The sale of its former lease fleet manager, American Railcar Leasing LLC (ARL), to SMBC Rail Services LLC was completed June 1, 2017. ARI says it now will be able to serve its customers with a complete suite of products and services, including ARI-built railcars for direct sale and lease, in-house lease fleet management, railcar and industrial components and railcar repair services.
In preparation for this change, ARI says it has increased its workforce, adding staffing to internally manage its own lease fleet and increasing its sales and marketing staff. ARI says it promoted internal company resources, recruited talent from external companies with rail experience and hired certain key ARL sales and lease personnel, including John O’Bryan as chief commercial officer to lead the team. ARI says it expects to continue to build out its lease management, sales and marketing teams.
Throughout the past several years, ARI has grown its lease fleet to more than 12,000 railcars, and the company says it is committed to further building its leasing business. In the first quarter of 2017, more than half of ARI’s railcar production and shipments were for lease. Furthermore, ARI’s order backlog of railcars as of March 31, 2017, included 1,199 railcars to be added to the lease fleet in 2017 and beyond, the company says.
“We want everyone to know that ‘it’s all here’ at ARI, and we are excited by this opportunity to further enhance our capabilities,” says Jeff Hollister, president and CEO of ARI. “The addition of in-house lease fleet management staff and an increase in our sales force will help to further enhance ARI’s business model of offering solutions to our customers of railcar products and services over the entire railcar life cycle. This will provide us additional flexibility and more tools that we expect will help us continue to grow our business.”
He continues, “We are excited to focus on providing a seamless relationship between ARI and our customers. These events give us an opportunity to better understand our customers’ needs and build deeper relationships. As always, our goal is to listen to our customers, develop solutions to meet their requirements and deliver high-quality products and services.”
ARI is a North American designer and manufacturer of hopper and tank railcars. The company manufactures and sells railcars, custom designed railcar parts and other industrial products and provides railcar repair services through its repair facilities, including minishops and mobile units.