US weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 14.8% year over year

17 December 2009 19:55  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 14.8% last week from the same time last year, marking their eighth increase this year and the fifth in a row, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 12 December were 25,752, up 3,312 car loads from 22,440 in the same week last year, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The increase for the week comes after a 13.9% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 5 December.

The weekly chemical railcar loadings data are seen as an important measure of chemical industry activity and demand. Railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical volumes by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest.

The increase in chemical shipments compares with a 10.2% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. Chemicals were one of seven commodity categories with a year-over-year increase last week.

Year-to-date to 12 December, US chemical railcar loadings were down 10.8% to 1,291,681, from 1,448,082 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 12 December fell 2.4% to 12,923 from 13,243 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were down 19.2% to 583,592 from 722,213 shipments in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 24.7% to 1,116 from 895 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 23.3% to 54,366 from 44,089 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 8.8% for the week ended on 12 December to 39,791 from 36,578 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was down 12.9% to 1,929,639 from 2,214,384 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 10.2% to 261,933 and was down 16.8% to 13.1m year to date.

For all of North America, railcar traffic sank 7.6% to 341,410 and fell 17.0% to 16.8m in the year-to-date period ended on 12 December.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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