US weekly chemical railcar traffic rises 3.4% year over year

10 June 2010 18:26  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Chemical shipments on US railroads rose 3.4% last week from the same period in 2009, a rail industry group said on Thursday, marking the 30th weekly increase in a row and the 22nd gain this year.

The data are not strictly comparable because the 2010 week ended 5 June included the US Memorial Day holiday whereas the 2009 period did not.

Chemical railcar loadings for the week ended 5 June were 26,426, up by 861 carloads from 25,565 in the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The increase compares with a 16.0% increase in the previous week ended 29 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 4.0% year-over-year increase in overall weekly railcar shipments for the 19 high-volume freight cargoes tracked by the AAR - ten categories recorded year-over-year increases, while shipments in nine categories fell last week.

Compared with the same week in 2008, overall carloads were still down 16.4%, the association said.

Year-to-date to 5 June, US chemical railcar loadings were up 12.7% to 635,226 from 563,610 in the year-earlier period.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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