UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic jumps 5.4% year over year

18 February 2010 19:29  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 5.4% last week from the same time last year, marking their 14th increase in a row and the sixth this year, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 13 February were 27,544, up 1,409 car loads from 26,135 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 13.5% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 6 February.

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 an 8.1% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. Half of the commodity categories registered declines last week.

Year-to-date to 13 February, US chemical railcar loadings were up 11.9% to 169,193 from 151,179 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 railcar traffic for the week ended on 13 February rose 20.8% to 14,948 from 12,372 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were up 19.1% to 88,550 from 74,335 in the same period in 2009.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 13.6% to 1,185 from 1,043 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 11.6% to 6,677 from 5,984 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 10.4% for the week ended on 13 February to 43,677 from 39,550 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period to 13 February, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was up 14.2% to 264,420 from 231,498 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 8.1% to 257,823 and was down 1.6% to 1,582,401 year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic fell 4.6% to 342,147, but was up by 1.8% to 2,084,180 year to date to 13 February.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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