UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic jumps 13.7% year over year

25 February 2010 19:20  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 13.7% last week from the same time last year, marking their 15th increase in a row and the seventh this year, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 20 February were 29,004, up 3,497 car loads from 25,507 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 5.4% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 13 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 1.6% year-over-year decline in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR.

Year-to-date to 20 February, US chemical railcar loadings were up 12.2% to 198,197 from 176,686 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 20 February rose 24.3% to 14,370 from 11,557 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were up 19.8% to 102,920 from 85,892 in the same period in 2009.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 16.3% to 1,266 from 1,089 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 12.3% to 7,943 from 7,073 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 17.0% for the week ended on 20 February to 44,640 from 38,153 in the same week in 2008.

For the year-to-date period to 20 February, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was up 14.6% to 309,060 from 269,651 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 1.6% to 273,999 and was down also by 1.6% to 1,856,400 year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic rose 1.3% to 358,553 as increases in Canadian and Mexican shipments offset the decline in the US. Year to date to 20 February, overall North American shipments were up 1.8% to 2,442,733.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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