US weekly chemical railcar traffic falls 20.5% year on year

21 May 2009 16:42  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic fell 20.5% in the week ended 16 May from the same week in 2008, marking the 37th straight decline, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

US chemical railcar loadings for the week were 24,925, down from 31,359 in the same week in 2008, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

Sequentially, the decline compares with a 19.2% drop from the previous week ended on 9 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 16 May, US chemical railcar loadings fell 18.0% to 489,295, down from 596,557 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 16 May dropped 22.8% to 10,873, down from 14,087 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were 212,341, a 27.1% decrease from 291,198 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 34.4% to 1,114, from 829 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were 19,796, up 15.4% from 17,154 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 36,912, down 20.2% from 46,275 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, North American chemical railcar traffic was 721,432, down 20.3% from 904,909 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 25.3% to 247,258, and dropped 19.2% year to date to 5.04m.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 26.1% to 311,698 for the week, and fell 19.7 % in the year-to-date period ended on 16 May to 6.38m.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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