US weekly chem rail traffic down 14.0%; N America down 14.4%

19 February 2009 16:51  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic fell 14.0% in the week ended 14 February from the same week in 2008, marking the 24th straight decline, according to data released on Thursday.

US chemical railcar loadings were 26,492, down from 30,806 from 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 14 February, US chemical railcar loadings fell 18.0% to 153,473, down from 187,063 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 14 February declined 17.8% to 12,029 carloads, down from 14,628 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were 72,518, a 19.6% decrease from 90,208 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 27.4% to 1,107 carloads, up from 869 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were 5,999, up 7.4% from 5,585 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 39,628 for the week, down 14.4% from 46,303 in the same week in 2008.

Year-to-date to 14 February, North American chemical railcar traffic was 231,990, carloads, down 18.0% from 282,856 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 12.2% to 281,533, and was down 16.1% year-to-date to 1,614,224.

For all of North America, overall railcar traffic sank 11.3% to 359,709, and fell 15.9% in the year-to-date period ending 14 February to 2,051,082

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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