US weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 16% year over year

03 June 2010 20:12  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 16% last week compared with the same period in 2009, a rail industry group said on Thursday, marking the 29th weekly increase in a row and the 21st gain this year.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended 29 May were 29,786 up by 4,108 carloads from 25,678 in the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The increase compares with a 3.8% increase in the previous week ended 22 May.

The weekly chemical railcar loadings data are seen as an important real-time measure of chemical industry activity and demand.  Railcar loadings represent about 20% of US chemical volumes by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest.

The increase in chemical shipments compared with a 21.9% year-over-year increase in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 high-volume freight cargoes tracked by the AAR. All commodity categories in addition to chemicals recorded year-over-year increases last week.

However, compared with the same week in 2008, overall carloads were still down 8.9%, the association said.

Year-to-date to 29 May, US chemical railcar loadings were up 13.2% to 608,800 from 538,054 in the year-earlier period.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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