UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 18.7%

30 December 2009 19:38  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 18.7% last week from the same time last year, marking their tenth increase this year and the seventh in a row, an industry association said on Wednesday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 26 December were 21,694, up 3,421 car loads from 18,273 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 19 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 1.1% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. However, despite the decline, all of the categories expect shipments of coal and coke registered a year-over-year increase last week.

Year-to-date to 26 December, US chemical railcar loadings were down 10.1% to 1,339,779 from 1,489,543 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 26 December rose 29.6% to 11,628 from 8,974 shipments in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were down 18.2% to 608,143 from 743,588 shipments in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 17.7% to 989 from 840 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 23.2% to 56,366 from 45,766 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 22.2% for the week ended on 26 December to 34,311 from 28,087 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was down 12.1% to 2,004,288 from 2,278,897 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 1.1% to 197,754 and was down 16.3% to 13.6m year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic was 264,044 carloads for the week, up by 5.9% from a year earlier as the US decline was more than offset by increased Canadian and Mexican shipments. But year-to-date to 26 December, total North American railcar traffic was down 16.4% to 17.4m.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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