UpdateCanada weekly chem rail traffic falls 10.6% on strike

07 June 2012 19:06  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates with Canadian and Mexican chemical railcar traffic data)

TORONTO (ICIS)--Chemical shipments on Canadian railroads fell by 10.6% year on year for the week ended 2 June, mainly because of a freight rail strike at the country's second largest rail carrier, according to data released by a rail industry association on Thursday.

The nine-day strike at Canadian Pacific ended on 1 June when government back-to-work legislation went into effect.

Canadian chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 9,741, compared with 10,896 in the same week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said. The fall marked the third decline in a row and the 17th decline in the shipments so far this year. 

The previous week, ended 26 May, saw a year-on-year decline of 17.3% in chemical shipments. That week was also affected by the strike.

The weekly chemical railcar loadings data are seen as important real-time measures of chemical industry activity and demand. Canadian chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with many firms relying exclusively on rail shipments.

From 1 January to 2 June, Canadian chemical railcar loadings were down by 8.3% year on year to 235,084.

The AAR said weekly chemical railcar traffic in Mexico rose by 28.8% year on year to 1,224 carloads. From 1 January to 2 June, Mexican chemical railcar loadings were up by 1.5% to 26,397.

US chemical railcar traffic fell by 4.5% year on year for the week ended 2 June, marking its fourth decline in a row and the 14th decline so far this year.

There were 27,343 chemical railcar loadings last week, compared with 28,634 in the corresponding week of 2011. In the previous week, ended 26 May, US weekly chemical railcar loadings fell 1.7% year on year.

From 1 January to 2 June, US chemical railcar loadings were down by 1.1% to 662,607, compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Meanwhile, overall US weekly railcar loadings for the 19 high-volume freight commodity groups tracked by the AAR fell by 3.1% year on year to 265,207 carloads.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic for the week ended 2 June was down by 3.5% to 350,410 carloads.

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


By: Stefan Baumgarten
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