29 August 2002 22:52 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Rail shipment of chemicals cargoes in the US continued to increase in the 34th week of this year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), climbing 2.3% last week to 28 187 carloads.
For the year to date, said the AAR, rail-borne chemicals cargoes have increased by nearly 2%, totalling 969 873 carloads by the end of last week compared with 951 910 carloads for the same 34-week period of 2001.
Although the 2% year-to-date increase is modest, it compares favourably with the 5% decline in rail shipments of chemicals seen last year.
The Washington, DC-based AAR does not offer explanations for fluctuations in the volume of chemicals - or the 18 other major commodity categories - that are moved by rail in the US. But, noting that rail transport accounts for 40% of inter-city freight movement in the US, AAR says that the level of cargo volumes on the rails is a reliable indicator of the US economy in general and the economic standing of specific commodities.
The AAR statistics continue to show chemicals cargoes as the second-highest volume of rail-borne cargo among the 19 major commodities tracked by the rail group. Chemicals are second only to coal shipments, which totalled more than 131 000 carloads last week and more than 4.4m carloads for the year to date.
Behind chemicals rank motor vehicles and related equipment (26 823 carloads last week), crushed stone, sand & gravel (23 363 carloads) and grain (20 385 carloads).
The increased volumes for chemicals for last week and the year to date compare with a 0.2% decline for overall rail cargo for the 34th week of the year and a 1.2% decline for the year thus far.
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