UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic jumps 13% year over year

21 January 2010 19:52  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 13.0% last week from the same time last year, marking their tenth increase in a row and the second this year, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 16 January were 27,405, up 3,147 car loads from 24,258 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 14.6% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 9 January.

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 0.8% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. The decline was led by coal, by far the largest shipment category. However, despite the overall decline, 12 of the 19 categories registered year-over-year increases last week.

Year-to-date to 16 January, US chemical railcar loadings were up 13.8% to 55,314 from 48,604 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 16 January rose 18.4% to 14,660 from 12,378 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were up 16.3% to 29,023 from 24,950 shipments in the same period in 2008.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic fell 5.3% to 1,024 from 1,081 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were down 3.1% to 2,015 from 2,080 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 14.2% for the week ended on 16 January to 43,089 from 37,717 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was up also by 14.2% to 86,352 from 75,634 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 0.8% to 264,030 and was down 6.7% to 500,826 year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic was 350,634 for the week, up 4.2% from a year earlier as the slight US decline was more than offset by increased Canadian and Mexican shipments.

Year-to-date to 16 January, total North American railcar traffic was down 0.8% to 666,886.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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