UpdateCanada weekly chemical rail traffic recovers after strike

14 June 2012 17:48  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates with Canadian and Mexican chemical railcar traffic data)

TORONTO (ICIS)--Chemical shipments on Canadian railroads rose by 4.4% year on year for the week ended 9 June as shipments recovered from three straight weekly declines amid a freight rail strike, according to data released by a rail industry association on Thursday.

Canadian chemical railcar loadings for the week totalled 11,557, compared with 11,068 in the same week in 2011, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said.

The previous week, ended 2 June, saw a year-on-year decline of 10.6% in chemical shipments, partly because of the freight rail strike at Canada's second largest rail carrier that ended on 1 June when government back-to-work legislation went into effect.

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 9 June, Canadian chemical railcar loadings were down by 7.7% year on year to 246,641.

The AAR said weekly chemical railcar traffic in Mexico rose by 17.8% year on year to 1,210 carloads. From 1 January to 9 June, Mexican chemical railcar loadings were up by 2.1% to 27,607.

US chemical railcar traffic fell by 1.2% year on year for the week ended 9 June, marking its fifth decline in a row and the 15th decline so far this year.

There were 29,308 chemical railcar loadings last week, compared with 29,653 in the corresponding week of 2011, the AAR said. In the previous week, ended 2 June, US weekly chemical railcar loadings fell 4.5% year on year.

From 1 January to 9 June, US chemical railcar loadings were down by 1.1% to 691,915, 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 1.7% year on year to 285,413 carloads.

For all of North America, total railcar traffic for the week ended 9 June was down by 0.1% to 382,016 carloads.

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

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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