US weekly chemical railcar traffic jumps 19.3%

18 March 2010 19:35  [Source: ICIS news]

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TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 19.3% last week from the same time last year, marking their 18th increase in a row and the 10th this year, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 13 March were 28,854, up 4,673 car loads from 24,181 in the same week last year, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The increase for the week comes after an 18.4% year-over-year increase in the previous week ended on 6 March.

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 3.2% year-over-year increase in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR.

Year-to-date to 13 March, US chemical railcar loadings were up 13.5% to 287,153 from 252,965 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 March rose 31.2% to 15,125 from 11,524 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were up 23.6% to 148,534 from 120,186 in the same period in 2009.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic roles 2.0% to 1,197 from 1,174 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 8.0% to 11,388 from 10,542 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 22.5% for the week ended on 13 March to 45,176 from 36,879 in the same week in 2009.

For the year-to-date period to 13 March, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was up 16.5% to 447,075 from 383,693 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 rose 3.2% to 287,837 but was down 0.2% to 2,719,658 year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic rose 7.1% to 375,661 for the week and was up 3.2% to 3,567,229 year to date to 13 March.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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