North American chemical rail volume increased 1% in 2023

North American chemical rail volume increased 1% in 2023

North American chemical rail traffic rose for an eighth consecutive week, with railcar loadings for the last week of 2023 rising 24.3% year on year to 44,162, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Loadings rose in all three countries: the US, Canada and Mexico. For the full year, chemical railcar loadings were up 1.0% from 2022 to 2,364,975 in 2023 as increases in Canada and Mexico more than offset an 0.3% decline in the US.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

Total US railcar loading were up 2.0% year on year in the fourth quarter while US intermodal traffic was up 5.5%, meaning "that Q4 was clearly the best quarter of 2023 for US rail volumes on a year-over-year basis”, said AAR senior vice president John Gray.

“It appears that intense rail efforts to improve service quality are paying off. Railroads are hopeful that gains in the fourth quarter will carry over into the first quarter of 2024 and beyond,” he said.

We remind, North American chemical rail traffic rose month on month and year on year. The following table shows rail traffic for the week ending on 23 December. Figures show railcar loadings. In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest. In Canada, chemical producers rely on rail to ship more than 70% of their products, with some exclusively using rail.

mrchub.com

Colonial Chemical set to inaugurate Saudi Arabia facility

Colonial Chemical set to inaugurate Saudi Arabia facility

US personal care ingredients maker Colonial Chemical is to inaugurate a manufacturing facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia on 17 January, said Personalcaremagazine.

The plant was built by Colonial Chemical Middle East Arabia (CCME), a joint venture between Colonial Chemical and its Saudi partners, Sadeem Investments and Earth Reservoir for Oil & Gas.

The new facility will manufacture speciality chemicals and surfactants to meet the demand of service companies and formulators in the consumer and personal care, oil and gas, mining and other industries.

“The state-of-the-art facility brings manufacturing technologies and capabilities on a large scale allowing our customers within Saudi Arabia and the region to meet the IKTIVA and Vision 2030 of the country,” the company said in a statement.

The facility will also provide a secure sourcing point for the larger Middle East region taking advantage of local feedstocks.

“We are very excited about the new venture and the very positive response we have had from the market. We look forward to developing the business and making Colonial Chemical ME Arabia a strong contributor to growth in the region,” said chairman David Anderson Sr.

We remind, Personal care ingredient distributor Azelis has acquired two competitors, Localpack of Colombia and Oktrade in Turkey. Founded in 2004, Localpack is a speciality chemical distributor located in Medellin that employs 27 staff. The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2024 after fulfillment of customary closing conditions.

mrchub.com

Kao Thailand Collaborates with SCGC and Dow to Pioneer Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Kao Thailand Collaborates with SCGC and Dow to Pioneer Sustainable Packaging Solutions

In a significant stride towards sustainable business practices, three major companies, namely Kao, SCGC, and Dow, officially sealed their commitment through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Dow Thailand's headquarters in True Digital Park West, said Chemanalyst.

The ceremony, attended by key figures including Kao Thailand President Yuji Shimizu, SCGC Executive Director Pisan Uawithya, and Dow Thailand President Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, marked the commencement of a strategic partnership aimed at advancing sustainable packaging solutions.

Kao, a prominent Japanese consumer products manufacturer renowned for brands such as Attack, Biore, Haiter, Laurier, and Magiclean, is poised to integrate innovative, sustainable packaging across an extensive array of products within its Thai portfolio in the near future. The collaboration is driven by a shared commitment to the principles of the 4R framework: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Replace, in alignment with Kao's broader ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) strategy termed the 'Kirei Lifestyle Plan.'

Expressing enthusiasm about this collaborative venture, Kao Thailand President Yuji Shimizu emphasized the company's dedication to achieving Zero Carbon Emission by 2040. In line with this goal, Kao is intensifying efforts in energy conservation within its production facilities and implementing sustainable design and development practices throughout the entire product lifecycle to mitigate carbon emissions. Furthermore, Kao has set a target of achieving net zero waste plastic packaging by 2040. Shimizu underscored the importance of partnering with expert and like-minded entities such as Dow and SCGC to fulfill these ambitious goals and create eco-friendly packaging solutions that genuinely benefit consumers.

SCGC, with a steadfast focus on sustainability through the lens of a circular economy, brings its commitment to green solutions to the collaboration. Pisan Uawithya, SCGC Executive Director, highlighted the company's dedication to developing diverse green alternatives tailored to the sustainability concerns of brand owners and consumers. Specifically, in collaboration with Kao, SCGC aims to leverage its expertise in designing and developing bottles and packaging bags using innovative green plastics from SCGC GREEN POLYMER™. Uawithya emphasized the goal of creating sustainable packaging for Kao's products, promoting resource efficiency, and aligning with the circular economy principle within Thailand.

We remind, a proposed regulation currently under consideration by the Ministry of Justice aims to legalize the utilization of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET), specifically reusing plastic bottles, for food packaging purposes. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a versatile plastic derived from petroleum, is commonly used for packaging both food and non-food items. The bill, initiated by officials at the Environmental Protection Authority but subsequently drafted by experts from the Ministry of Industry and the Food and Beverage Industry Research and Development Center a year ago, is currently in the review stage with stakeholders.

mrchub.com

NextDecade files to allow TotalEnergies to exit LNG stake

NextDecade files to allow TotalEnergies to exit LNG stake

NextDecade has filed for a shelf registration that would allow TotalEnergies to sell its 17.5% stake in the U.S. LNG company over time, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

A unit of French oil major TotalEnergies currently holds 44.9 million shares of NextDecade, bought for $219 million in June as part of a broader deal to develop NextDecade's Rio Grande LNG export project in south Texas that has faced repeated delays.

NextDecade, which signed a contract to supply 5.4 million tons of LNG per year to TotalEnergies, said in a filing dated Dec. 22 it would not receive any proceeds from any such future offerings.

The prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registers the shares owned by TotalEnergies and enables them to sell them in the future, said NextDecade spokesperson Susan Richardson.

"There is no current offering of shares. While we cannot control the actions of our shareholders...we view them as a long-term strategic partner," Richardson said. TotalEnergies' decision is likely a reflection that, having helped get the LNG facility to a final investment decision, an equity position was no longer required, said Rapidan Energy Group Research Director Alex Munton.

"The equity investment in Next Decade may have been needed to help Rio Grande being financed, and that now the project the under construction TotalEnergies may have decided that there is little value in holding onto its position, as the overriding interest is in the offtake volumes, which it was able to secure at low cost", Munton said.

We remind, Diesel supply in Asia is set to jump in 2024 fueled by new refineries in the Middle East and robust exports from China, and is likely to outpace the region's world-leading demand growth, analysts and trade sources said. As a result, diesel prices are expected to fall, meaning Asia's refiners face a second consecutive year of sliding profit margins for the fuel used in cars, trucks and power generators.

mrchub.com

Workers threaten 2-d strike at Neste oil refinery in Finland

Workers threaten 2-d strike at Neste oil refinery in Finland

Finland's Industrial Union said on Thursday it planned two days of labor strike action at Neste's Porvoo oil refinery, likely shutting the plant's production unless the government agrees to change its proposed labor market reforms, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Finnish unions have protested in recent months against the right-wing government's plan to favor local work agreements over centralized bargains, limit political strikes and make it easier to terminate work contracts.

"We hope that the suspension of oil refining will make the government realize that it cannot put the entire burden of public finances on the shoulders of workers," shop steward Sami Ryynanen at the Porvoo refinery said in a statement.

A strike at Porvoo is scheduled for Feb. 1-2 of 2024, the Industrial Union said. "If the strike were to take place, it would lead to the shutdown of Neste's Porvoo refinery which must be carried out in an orderly and safe manner," a Neste spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

We remind, Companies across many sectors on Wednesday signed initial investment pacts totaling $18.75 B for projects they will build in India's western state of Gujarat, according to a government statement. As part of the deals, an arm of Welspun Enterprises will invest $5.11 B, partly to build green hydrogen and green ammonia facilities, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

mrchub.com