US chem railcar traffic down 21.7% on Ike

25 September 2008 16:48  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Plant outages and supply disruptions along the Texas Gulf coast due to Hurricane Ike cut US weekly chemical railcar shipments by 21.7% in the week ended 20 September - the third sharp drop in weekly shipments in a row, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said on Thursday.


Chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 23,937, down from 30,555 for the same week in 2007.


The drop in chemical shipments came as overall freight traffic for the 19 commodity categories AAR tracks was down 7.8% from the year-earlier week, with most of the decline due to disruptions caused by Ike which struck Texas and Louisiana on 13 September, the association said.


For the two previous weeks ended 13 September and 6 September shipments were down 8.6% and 8.9%, respectively, from the year-earlier periods as chemical producers struggled with the fallout from Hurricane Gustav.


The weekly rail shipment data is a good early indicator of current industry activity in US chemicals. Railroads transport more than 20% of the chemicals produced in the US.


Total chemical railcar loadings in the year-to-date period through to 20 September were up 2.0% year on year to 1,174,319, from 1,151,373 a year earlier.


Railcar loadings for all 19 commodities categories tracked by the AAR for the week were down 7.8% to 312,662, from 339,224 in the same week in 2007.


Year-to-date to 20 September overall railcar loadings for the 19 categories listed by the AAR were 12.347m, down 0.1% from the same period of 2007.


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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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