UpdateCanada chemical rail traffic falls for fifth week in a row

09 February 2012 18:52  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates with Canadian and Mexican chemical railcar traffic data)

TORONTO (ICIS)--Chemical shipments on Canadian railroads fell by 4.8% year on year in the week ended on 4 February, marking their fifth decline in as many weeks this year, according to data released by an industry association on Thursday.

Canadian chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 10,553, down from 11,087 in the same week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

The previous week ended 28 January saw a year-on-year decline of 13.4%.

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

In the year to date to 4 February, Canadian chemical railcar loadings were down by 14.3% year on year to 48,463.

The AAR said weekly chemical railcar traffic in Mexico rose by 20.3% year on year to 1,202 from 999 in the same week a year earlier. Year to date to 4 February, Mexican chemical railcar loadings were up by 10.3% to 5,359.

US chemical railcar traffic rose by 10.0% year on year for the week ended 4 February to 31,775 chemical railcar loadings, compared with 28,874 in the same week in 2011.

In the previous week ended 28 January, US weekly chemical railcar shipments fell by 1.6% year on year, marking their second decline so far this year.

Year to date to 4 February, US chemical railcar loadings were up 0.1% to 149,827, compared with the same period in 2011.

Meanwhile, overall US weekly railcar traffic for the 19 high-volume freight commodity groups tracked by the AAR rose by 6.2% year on year to 284,546 carloads.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic for the week ended 4 February was up by 7.4% to 374,923.

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

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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