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2/8/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Domestic containers up, international containers down in 4Q, IANA says


Despite the slumping U.S. economy, domestic intermodal volume in the fourth quarter totaled 1.5 million units, a 2.7 percent increase compared with fourth-quarter 2006's total.

However, overall volume totaled 3.5 million units, down 1.6 percent year over year, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's (IANA) quarterly "Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics" report. International traffic declined 4.7 percent (to 2 million containers) in the quarter because of slowing imports and trailer traffic continued to erode, falling 6.9 percent to 563,639 units.

Domestic container volume posted the largest fourth-quarter gain, rising 9.5 percent year over year to 939,469 units primarily because of a solid performance by intermodal marketing companies, IANA said.

"The growth in domestic intermodal was very encouraging at a time when other freight traffic volume has been struggling," said Tom Malloy, IANA's vice president of member services and business development, in a prepared statement. "That growth ... sets the stage for a return to international volume increases when import traffic rebounds."

For the full year, overall volume totaled 14.1 million units, down 1.1 percent compared with 2006's total. Although domestic containers increased 9.3 percent to 3.6 million units and total domestic equipment rose 0.3 percent to 5.7 million units, trailers dropped 11.8 percent to 2.1 million units and international containers declined 2 percent to 8.3 million units.


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