US weekly chemical railcar traffic falls 19.2% year on year

14 May 2009 16:27  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic fell 19.2% in the week ended on 9 May from the same week in 2008, marking the 36th straight decline, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

US chemical railcar loadings for the week were 25,502, down from 31,563 in the same week in 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

Sequentially, the decline compares with a 17.5% drop in the previous week ended on 2 May.

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 9 May, US chemical railcar loadings fell 17.8% to 464,370, down from 565,198 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 9 May dropped 29.6% to 10,549, from 14,989 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were 201,468, a 27.3% decrease from 277,111 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 24.8% to 1,000, from 801 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were 18,682, up 14.4% from 16,325 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 37,051, down 21.8% from 47,353 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, North American chemical railcar traffic was 684,520 down 20.3% from 858,634 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 25.8% to 249,576, and dropped 18.8% year to date to 4.79m.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 27.3% to 312,850 for the week, and fell 19.3 % in the year-to-date period ended on 9 May to 6.07m.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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