US weekly chemical rail traffic down 17.7%

12 February 2009 17:45  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic fell 17.7% in the week ended 7 February from the same week in 2008, marking the 23rd straight decline, according to data released on Thursday.

US chemical railcar loadings were 25,146, down from 30,572 for the same week in 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

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

For the year-to-date period through 7 February, US chemical railcar loadings fell 18.7% to 126,981, down from 156,214 in the same period last year.

The AAR also provided comparable chemical railcar shipment data for Canada, Mexico and North America as a whole.

Canadian chemical rail traffic for the week ended 7 February declined 19.6% to 11,876 carloads, down from 14,766 last year.

Year-to-date, Canadian shipments were 60,489, a 20.4% decrease from 75,948 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican chemical rail traffic rose 23.4% to 977 carloads, up from 792 a year earlier.

Year-to-date, Mexican shipments were 4,947, up 4.9% from 4,716 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 37,999 for the week, down 17.6% from 46,310 in the same week in 2008.

Year-to-date to 7 February, North American chemical railcar traffic was 192,417 carloads, down 18.8% from 236,878 in the same period last year.

Overall, the AAR tracks 19 carload commodity categories. US weekly railcar traffic for the 19 carload commodity categories dropped 16.1% to 265,143, and was down 16.7% year-to-date to 1,332,691.

For all of North America, overall railcar traffic sank 15.6% to 339,135, and fell 16.9% in the year-to-date period ending 7 February to 1,691,869.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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