US weekly chemical railcar traffic falls by 3.8% year on year

08 December 2011 19:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US chemical railcar traffic fell by 3.8% year on year for the week ended 3 December, marking their second decline in a row and the sixth decline so far this year, according to data released by a rail industry group on Thursday.

There were 30,973 chemical railcar loadings last week, compared with 32,187 in the same week in 2010, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

In the week ended 26 November, US weekly chemical railcar traffic fell by 2.3% year on year.

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

Meanwhile, overall US weekly railcar traffic for the 19 high-volume freight commodity groups tracked by the AAR rose by 2.8% year on year to 311,356 carloads.

For the month of November, US chemical railcar traffic was up by 1.1% year on year, the association said. Overall US railcar traffic for November was up by 2.3% year on year, to 1,476,635 carloads, the AAR said.

In November, US rail carload traffic saw its highest year-over-year percentage increase in eight months, AAR senior vice president John Gray said in commenting on the monthly data.

“There are still clearly a lot of things that aren’t right with the economy, but we hope this improvement in rail traffic is a sign that the pace of economic growth is increasing,” Gray added.

For the year to date to 3 December, US chemical railcar loadings were up by 3.5% year on year to 1,433,798 carloads.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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