US weekly chemical railcar traffic falls 12.7% over last year

23 April 2009 16:46  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic fell 12.7% in the week ended on 18 April from the same week in 2008, marking the 33rd straight decline, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

US chemical railcar loadings for the week were 27,133, down from 31,065 in the same week in 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

Sequentially, the decline compares with a 22.2% drop in the previous week ended on 11 April.

With railroads transporting more than 20% of the chemicals produced in the US, the weekly shipment data are a good early indicator of current chemical industry activity.

For the year-to-date period through 18 April, US chemical railcar loadings fell 18.0% to 384,240, down from 468,470 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 on 18 April dropped 35.0% to 10,003, down from 15,400 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were 170,190, a 26.6% decrease from 231,784 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 30.5% 1,163, up from 891 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were 15,588, up 13.9% from 13,680 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 38,299 for the week, down 19.1% from 47,356 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, North American chemical railcar traffic was 570,018, down 20.2% from 713,934 in the same period last year.

Overall, the AAR tracks 19 carload commodity categories.

From the same week last year, US weekly railcar traffic for the 19 carload commodity categories fell 24.3% to 255,269 and dropped by 17.7% year to date to 4.03m.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 24.0% to 324,824 for the week, and fell 18.1% in the year-to-date period ended on 18 April to 5.11m.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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