UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 13.9%

23 December 2009 17:41  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 13.9% last week from the same time last year, marking their ninth increase this year and the sixth in a row, an industry association said on Wednesday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 19 December were 26,404, up 3,216 car loads from 23,188 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 14.8% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 12 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 0.1% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. Chemicals were one of eleven commodity categories with a year-over-year increase last week.

Year-to-date to 19 December, US chemical railcar loadings were down 10.4% to 1,318,085 from 1,471,270 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 19 December rose 4.2% to 12,923 from 12,401 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were down 18.8% to 596,515 from 734,614 shipments in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 20.8% to 1,011 from 837 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 23.3% to 55,377 from 44,926 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 10.7% for the week ended on 19 December to 40,338 from 36,426 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was down 12.5% to 1,969,977 from 2,250,810 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 0.1% to 271,819 and was down 16.5% to 13.4m year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic rose 1.9% to 352,695 for the week but was down 16.7% to 17.1m in the year-to-date period ended on 19 December.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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