US weekly chemical railcar traffic rises year on year

24 September 2009 18:50  [Source: ICIS news]

Chem railcar traffic risesTORONTO (ICIS news)--US chemical railcar traffic rose year-on-year last week for only the second time this year but a railroad association cautioned that last year's numbers were hard hit by disruptions from a hurricane.

US chemical railcar traffic rose 17.4% in the week ended on 19 September from the same week in 2008, according to data released on Thursday by an industry association.

However, shipments in the same week of 2008 were hit by the disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike along the US Gulf coast, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

US chemical railcar loadings for the week were 27,608, up by 4,082 railcars from 23,526 in the same week in 2008, the AAR said.

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

In the previous week ended on 12 September, US chemical railcar fell 9.1% to 25,231, down by 2,529 rail cars from 27,760 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period through 19 September, US chemical railcar loadings were down 14.5% to 968,250, from 1,132,772 in the same period last year.

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

Canadian chemical rail traffic for the week ended on 19 September fell 11.1% to 11,898, from 13,391 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were 429,243, down 22.5% from 553,907 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 31.7% to 1,106 shipments, from 840 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were 41,045, up 21.8% from 33,712 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments totalled 40,612 for the week ended 19 September, up 7.6% from 37,757 in the same week in 2008.

For the year to date, North American chemical railcar traffic was down 16.4% to 1,438,538 from 1,720,391 in the year-earlier period.

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 9.6%, to 282,341, and dropped 18.2% to 9.8m year to date.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 9.6% to 361,311, and fell 18.9% in the year-to-date period ended on 19 September to 12.5m.

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