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Rail News: Intermodal

Soft international container demand drives down total Q1 intermodal volume, IANA says

Domestic container demand was strong in the first quarter, but international container demand wasn't — by far. As a result, North American intermodal volume in the quarter totaled 3.3 million units, down 2.4 percent compared with first-quarter 2007's total, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's (IANA) quarterly Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.

International container volume totaled 1.9 million units, a 5.2 percent decrease vs. first-quarter 2007's level, and the sector's fourth-consecutive quarterly decline and largest drop in nine years.

"Once the current bout of economic weakness passes, imports should again set a healthy pace, renewing their contribution to broader intermodal advances," said Tom Malloy, IANA's vice president of member services and business development, in a prepared statement.

Domestic container volume reached 892,417 units, up 5 percent compared with first-quarter 2007's level and the 10th straight quarter the sector posted a year-over-year gain.

"Gains in domestic freight are encouraging. If the industry can hold those gains as imports rebound, the table will be set for even more growth in the future," said Malloy.

Meanwhile, all domestic equipment rose 1.7 percent to 1.4 million units, trailers declined 3.5 percent to 512,595 units and total intermodal marketing company revenue rose 9.8 percent to more than $982 million, IANA said.

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More News from 5/15/2008