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By Pat Foran, Editor
Given all the strident NAFTA renegotiation talk earlier this year, there was concern in some rail circles about the consequences of trade-pact tinkering on U.S.-Mexico cross-border carload and intermodal business. The anxiety eased a bit after the Trump administration released its renegotiation priorities on July 17. Meanwhile, international container volume has been the key driver of North American intermodal traffic growth so far this year.
Total intermodal volume grew 4.5 percent in the second quarter — the strongest growth in almost three years, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) announced Aug. 1 in its quarterly Intermodal Market Trends and Statistics report. The number of international containers jumped 5.6 percent to nearly 2.3 million units and domestic containers rose 3.2 percent to nearly 1.9 million units compared with Q2 2016 totals. Trailer volume was up 3.9 percent to 302,372 units. Overall, Q2 intermodal volume reached nearly 4.5 million units, compared with nearly 4.3 million during the same 2016 period.
“Growth in Q2 indicates that economic conditions continue to improve for all segments of the intermodal market,” said IANA President and CEO Joni Casey in a press release. “Year-to-date performance is a healthy 3.3 percent, notwithstanding a weak year-over-year comparison for the second quarter.”
The seven highest-density trade corridors, which account for 63.4 percent of total intermodal volume, posted a collective 4 percent increase in Q2 compared with the same 2016 period. Leading the way was the Trans-Canada lane with an 11.4 percent increase. The Midwest-Northwest lane, which was down 0.6 percent, experienced the only decline, according to IANA. The remaining five corridors’ Q2 growth ranged from 1.3 percent to 4.6 percent.
With Railway Interchange 2017 just around the corner, Progressive Railroading recently created a news feed that previews what exhibitors plan to display and demonstrate at the massive, biennial trade show.
Designed to help Railway Interchange attendees plan their visits to the exhibit floor, the news feed can be accessed by clicking on a tab located at the top right corner of progressiverailroading.com.
The largest combined railway exhibition and technical conference in North America, Railway Interchange 2017 will be held Sept. 17-20 in Indianapolis.
In addition to educational sessions, Railway Interchange will offer more than 340,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space to display the latest in railroad products and services. We’ll certainly be there. The Progressive Railroading booth number is 2508. See you in Indianapolis.