16 March 2010 16:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Chemical and petroleum tanker traffic on US inland waterways rose for the third month in a row in February, signalling that an economic recovery is in progress, a New Orleans port spokesman said on Tuesday.
A 12% rise in an indicator by the US Army Corps of Engineers mirrors the increase in chemical exports at the port of New Orleans over a three-month period beginning in November, said Chris Bonura, communications manager at the port.
The New Orleans port exported about 1.1m tonnes of chemicals in the period. "That's a 10% increase from the previous year," Bonura said.
He said that the New Orleans chemical exports were mainly containerised shipments while the Army Corps statistics pertain to mostly bulk cargo.
"Nevertheless," Bonura added, "we see chemical exports as one of the bright spots as we continue the economic recovery."
The monthly indicator by the Corps's Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, tracks chemical and barge shipments on the Mississippi and Ohio river systems.
The increase in February marked the third month in a row the indicator has registered a year-over-year increase. The Corps's data does not track specific chemicals or petroleum products each month, only as a generic group.
Chemical tanker traffic on the Houston Ship Channel fell in February by 12% but has jumped by almost 60% in the past three months compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Greater Houston Port Bureau.
For the three months ended in February, there were 761 chemical and product tankers that plied the waterway, compared with 478 vessels in the same period a year earlier, said Jeannette Wallena at the port bureau.
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