Revised data show higher US rail chem traffic

26 February 2007 19:21  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The American Railroad Association (AAR) revised on Monday its data for railcar traffic for the week ended 17 February, reporting a 0.5% increase in chemical railcar traffic, compared with the same week in 2006.


The AAR said the revision was due to one railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, reporting increased carload volumes. The AAR had reported last Thursday a 1.6% drop in chemical traffic for the week ended 17 February.  


Including Norfolk's higher numbers, chemical railcar loadings for the seventh week of the year totalled 29,940, compared with 29,796 for the same week in 2006, and 29,835 for the sixth week of 2007, ended 10 February, the AAR said on Monday.


Cumulatively, US chemical railcar loadings came to 205,476 for the seven weeks ended 17 February, down 0.7% from the same period in 2006.


Analysts consider the weekly statistics to be a good indicator of current chemical industry activity, as railroads transport 22% of chemicals produced in the US.


The AAR did not provide specific reasons to explain the changes in chemicals shipments, but it said that overall rail traffic in the US continued to be affected by the winter weather.


The AAR said that overall railcar loadings for the 19 commodity categories it tracks declined by 3.7% in the seventh week, to 309,389 carloads, and cumulatively carloads were down 6.1% to 2.174m for the first seven weeks of 2007 ended 17 February, compared with 2006.


The AAR also said that overall Canadian railroad traffic fell by 13.5%, to 67,188 cars for the week ended 17 February, compared with the same week in 2006, and cumulatively Canadian rail traffic dropped by 4.8%, to 510,120 in the first seven weeks of 2007, compared with the same period last year.


The decline in Canadian rail traffic was due to a strike by 2,800 workers at Canadian National (CN), Canada’s largest rail firm, which began on 10 February.


CN and the United Transportation Union (UTU) reached a tentative settlement over the weekend and the striking workers were returning to work, CN said on Monday.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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