UpdateUS weekly chemical railcar traffic increases 13.1%

29 April 2010 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 13.1% last week from the same time in 2009, marking their 24th increase in a row and the 16th this year, an industry association said on Thursday.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended on 24 April were 30,638, up by 3,549 carloads from 27,089 in the same week last year, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The increase for the week came after an 8.6% year-over-year increase in chemical carloads in the previous week ended on 17 April.

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 compared with a 14.6% year-over-year increase in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 commodity categories tracked by the AAR. All categories recorded year-over-year increases last week. With 298,218 carloads, overall volumes were at their highest level since the first week of December 2008, the AAR added.

Year-to-date to 24 April, US chemical railcar loadings were up 13.8% to 462,385 from 406,172 in the year-earlier period.

The AAR also provided comparable weekly chemical railcar shipment data for Canada, Mexico and the whole of North America.

Canadian chemical railcar traffic for the week ended on 24 April rose 38.5% to 14,827 from 10,705 in the same week last year.

For the year-to-date period, Canadian shipments were up 27.4% to 236,264 from 185,507 in the same period in 2009.

Mexican weekly chemical rail traffic rose 38.2% to 1,649 from 1,193 in the same week a year earlier.

For the year-to-date period, Mexican shipments were up 12.7% to 18,917 from 16,786 in the same period last year.

For all of North America, chemical railcar shipments rose 20.8% for the week ended on 24 April to 47,114 from 38,987 in the same week in 2009.

For the year-to-date period to 24 April, overall North American chemical railcar traffic was up 17.9% to 717,566 from 608,465 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 14.6% to 298,218 and was up 4.6% to 4,473,940 year to date.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic rose 16.5% to 387,283 for the week and was up 7.6% to 5,846,219 to date to 24 April.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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