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Rail News: Intermodal

IANA: Domestic containers behind first-quarter intermodal growth


Despite West Coast port labor issues that affected international container traffic, total intermodal shipments rose 2 percent to 3,853,661 units in first-quarter 2015 compared with first-quarter 2014, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) announced yesterday.

Domestic intermodal loads increased 4.5 percent to 1,970,630 units, while domestic containers rose 6.5 percent to 1,588,581 units in a quarter-over-quarter comparison, IANA officials said in a press release. In addition, international container traffic dipped 0.4 percent to 1,883,031 units and trailer volume declined 2.7 percent to 402,049 units.

"Monthly first-quarter results were uneven due to the issues on the West Coast," said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey. "Despite February’s challenges, however, we still saw some overall quarterly growth, led by big boxes in regions less affected by port congestion."

By region and compared with first-quarter 2014, Southwest volumes declined 5.7 percent; Southeast volumes surged 9.9 percent due to increases in domestic and international containers; and Western Canada posted a 10.6 percent increase in regional traffic growth.

The seven largest volume corridors' results also varied based on their exposure to port disruptions. Lanes in the Southwest were down, while intra-Southeast intermodal shipments increased 16.5 percent in a quarter-over-quarter comparison. Overall, high-density lanes, which accounted for 64.5 percent of total volumes, logged a 0.9 percent decline in the quarter.

Intermodal marketing companies reported intermodal and highway loads rose 3.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.


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