MRC -- North American chemical rail traffic rose 3.0% year on year to 46,427 railcar loadings for the week ended 3 February, following declines in the two preceding weeks, according to the latest freight rail data on Wednesday.
Loadings rose in the US and Canada but fell in Mexico. Chemical railcar loadings are a coincident volume indicator for the industry, which had a rough start to the new year, with weak demand in a number of sectors.
For the first five weeks of 2024 ended 3 February, North American chemical railcar loadings rose 2.8% to 222,228, with US loadings up 2.9% to 152,138.
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.
We remind, North American chemical rail traffic fell by 0.2% year on year to 44,201 railcar loadings for the week ended 27 January – marking a second consecutive decline. The US and Canada recorded declines while loadings in Mexico rose.