UpdateUS chemical railcar traffic falls 1.6% year over year

12 November 2009 18:45  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads fell 1.6% last week from the same time last year, an industry association said on Thursday.

For the week ended on 7 November, chemical rail car loadings were 26,122, down by 425 car loads from 26,547 in the same week last year, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The decline in chemical shipments compares with a 3.6% year-over-year increase in shipments in the previous week ended on 31 October.

Chemical rail car loadings are seen as an important measure of chemical industry activity and demand. Rail car loadings represent about 20% of chemical volumes by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest.

Chemicals were one of 15 commodity categories with year-over-year declines last week, the association said. Overall, weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories the AAR tracks fell 12.2% from the same week last year.

Year to date to 7 November, US chemical rail car loadings are down 12.8% to 1,156,524, from 1,326,930 in the year-earlier period.

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

Canadian chemical rail traffic for the week ended on 7 November fell 4.1% to 12,937 from 13,491 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were down 21.0% to 517,290 from 654,643 in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 19.3% to 1,108 from 929 shipments in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 23.7% to 49,063 from 39,661 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipment fell 2.0% for the week ended 7 November to 40,167 from 40,967 in the same week in 2008.

For the year to date, North American chemical railcar traffic was down 14.8% to 1,722,877 from 2,021,234 in the year-earlier period.

Overall, the AAR tracks 19 carload commodity categories.

From the same week last year, total US weekly railcar traffic for the 19 carload commodity categories fell 12.2% to 274,846 and was down 17.8% to 11.8m year to date.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 10.6% to 357,883, and fell 18.1% in the year-to-date period ended on 7 November to 15.0m.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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