International Freight Lifts N.A. Intermodal Growth

CALVERTON, MD — Intermodal freight volume jumped 4.5 percent during the second quarter of the year in North America, with international shipments surpassing expectations, according to a new report from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

It said despite some softening due to declining trailer volumes, domestic containers, which includes Canada and the U.S., buoyed the overall domestic market segment in the two countries with 3.5 percent growth.

 “International volumes displayed one of the largest increases since IANA began keeping records in 2000,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “While much of the strong performance in second quarter was due to the recovery from the first quarter’s port congestion issues, strengthening imports also played a role in pushing international volumes higher. We are also optimistic that the domestic market will continue to show gains, as the over-the-road segment begins to tighten.”

The seven highest-density trade corridors, accounting for 65.8 percent of total intermodal volume, rose 4 percent this quarter, just below the 4.5 percent industry average. Growth rates for each individual corridor varied widely.

The intra-southeast U.S. corridor, positively affected by stronger imports through southeastern ports, led the way as intermodal volumes jumped a full 23 percent during the quarter.

 There were fewer swings in regional growth than usual. Notable exceptions were the South Central and Southeast U.S. regions, where strong international growth surpassed industry averages, and the U.S. Mountain Central and Eastern Canada regions, which failed to see intermodal volumes climb. Excluding these four areas, most regions recorded intermodal growth in line with the industry average.

Intermodal services providers posted strong year-over-year second quarter volume growth. Intermodal loads jumped 4.5 percent, and intermodal service providers’ highway volume soared 8.2 percent, which was three times the pace of overall highway trailer loads.


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