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September 2012



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Quarterly container volume best in a year; transportation, logistics M&A activity robust



IANA: 2Q's Container Volume 'Best' In A Year

International container volume in North America increased 3.9 percent during the second quarter, marking the best quarterly results in a year, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's (IANA) "Intermodal Market Trends and Statistics Report" issued last month.

In absolute terms, the quarter also served as the international segment's highest second quarter since 2008, IANA officials said in a prepared statement. U.S. container volumes picked up nearly 4 percent during the quarter, with increases near 3 percent on the West Coast and 5 percent on the East Coast.

"In comparison, Canadian container import volumes continued to make great strides, particularly on the West Coast, where imports through the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver posted nearly 20 percent year-over-year gains in the quarter," they said.

Overall, intermodal volume rose to a total 3,716,321 units, a 5.2 percent year-over-year increase. Domestic container volume increased "an impressive" 12.5 percent, just under the 14.9 percent gain posted in the first quarter, IANA officials said.

"Growth at this pace is exceptional during any quarter, but this gain is even more remarkable due to the softening economic climate," said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey.

PwC: M&A Activity 'Robust' In T&L Sector

Merger and acquisition deals in the transportation and logistics sector stood out as being "very healthy" during the second quarter, according to PricewaterhouseCooper's (PwC) analysis of global M&A activity released last month.

Deal flow was "robust" during the quarter, with lots of activity near the top of the market as evidenced by the fact that mega deals, or those valued at $1 billion or more, "are on pace to easily exceed the total of such announcements for all of 2011," the report stated.

The United States continued to be the "bright spot" in the market, showing a "surprising amount of strength" in deal volume and values — even without factoring in the impact of United Parcel Service Inc.'s $6.9 billion offer in the first quarter to acquire TNT Express, the report said.

 

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intermodal traffic chart

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North American Carloads chart

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