UpdateCanada weekly chemical railcar traffic falls 5.5% year on year

08 December 2011 20:42  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates with Canadian and Mexican chemical railcar traffic data)

TORONTO (ICIS)--Chemical shipments on Canadian railroads fell by 5.5% year on year in the week ended on 3 December, marking their sixth decline so far this year, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

Canadian chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 11,112, down from 11,756 in the same week a year earlier, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

The previous week ended 26 November saw a year-on-year increase of 6.9% in Canadian chemical railcar shipments.

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 3 December, Canadian chemical railcar shipments were up by 8.8% to 533,531.

The AAR said chemical railcar traffic in Mexico rose by 36% year on year to 1,163, from 855 in the same week a year earlier.

Year to date to 3 December, Mexican chemical railcar shipments were up by 7% to 56,338.

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. There were 30,973 chemical railcar loadings last week, compared with 32,187 in the same week in 2010.

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 all of North America, total railcar traffic for the week ended 3 December rose by 2.7% to 404,507.

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

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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