UpdateCanada weekly chem rail traffic rises after three declines

03 November 2011 19:23  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates with Canadian and Mexican chemical railcar traffic data)

TORONTO (ICIS)--Chemical shipments on Canadian railroads rose 5.8% for the week ended on 29 October – the first increase after three declines in a row, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

Canadian chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 10,870, up from 10,277 in the same week a year earlier, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

The previous week ended 22 October saw a year-on-year decrease of 5.6%.

The weekly chemical railcar loadings data are seen as an important real-time measure of chemical industry activity and demand. Canada’s chemical industry transports two-thirds of its annual shipments on the country’s railway system.

Year to date to 29 October, Canadian chemical railcar shipments were up by 10.1% to 481,201.

The AAR said chemical railcar traffic in Mexico rose by 26.1% year on year to 1,179, from 935 in the same week a year earlier.

Year to date to 29 October, Mexican chemical railcar shipments were up by 6.7% to 51,116.

Chemical railcar traffic on US railroads rose by 1.6% year on year for the week ended on 29 October – to 30,047 chemical railcar loadings, from 29,584 in the same week in 2010.

In the previous week, ended 22 October, US chemical railcar traffic rose by 2.9% year on year.

Meanwhile, overall US weekly railcar shipments for the 19 high-volume freight commodity groups tracked by the AAR rose by 5.2% to 307,900 carloads.

For the month of October, overall carloads were up 1.7% year on year to 1,215,627 – marking the highest weekly carload average of any month since October 2008, the AAR said.

“While there is clearly room for improvement, October rail traffic appears to indicate that we are still in a slowly growing economy,” said AAR senior vice president John Gray.

“Things can change quickly, of course, and the growth rates are certainly not as robust as we would like to see, but we at least appear to be headed in the right direction,” Gray said in commenting on the US date for October.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic for the week ended 29 October rose by 4.8% to 402,438.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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