15 June 2010 18:07 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--May chemical and petroleum shipments on US waterways increased year over year for the sixth straight month and are up 12% in 2010, according to an indicator released on Tuesday by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The indicator confirmed traffic reports received by the Port of New Orleans this year, said port spokesman Chris Bonura.
"Chemicals are doing very well now, particularly exports," Bonura said, noting that shipments had increased on the Mississippi river between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana, where many plastics and crop protection plants are located.
Bonura said the Port of New Orleans' latest figures only accounted for shipments through January and February this year, when chemical shipments on the river totalled 238,111 tonnes, up 75% compared with 135,883 tonnes in the first two months of 2009.
"It's been pretty active," Bonura said. "Because of the currency valuation, US products are cheaper in foreign markets now. And the price of natural gas is really low compared to crude oil and other fuels."
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.
Chemical tanker traffic on the Houston Ship Channel jumped by almost 60% in the three months ended in February compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Greater Houston Port Bureau.
The rise in May, up 11.7% over the same month last year, still showed traffic at the second-lowest level since May 2006. The Corps's data does not track specific chemicals or petroleum products each month, but only as a generic group.
The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have contributed somewhat to the increase in traffic, said Sean Duffy, president and CEO of the Gulf State Maritime Association.
Duffy said a few oil tankers headed to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Platform, known as the Loop, had offloaded cargoes to tankers and barges because of the spill.
"They've been a little busier than usual," Duffy said. "I would say the spill has had something to do with it."
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections