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Rail News: Intermodal

IANA: Intermodal growth streak ended in Q2


Overall intermodal traffic was down for the first time in second-quarter 2016 after 25 consecutive quarters of growth, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported yesterday.

Intermodal trailer volumes declined 28.6 percent, continuing a multiyear downward trend, while international shipments fell 9.3 percent, according to IANA's quarterly "Intermodal Market Trends and Statistics" report.

Domestic container loads gained 3.4 percent, which tempered the overall loss to 6.1 percent, IANA officials said in a press release.

"The Q2 intermodal volume numbers reflected current market conditions," said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey. "Year-end projections are still tracking for growth in both the domestic container and international volumes, however."

The seven highest-density trade corridors, which account for 63.4 percent of total intermodal volume, posted a collective 5.9 percent decrease year over year. Each corridor logged a loss.

In the Southeast-Southwest and the Northeast-Midwest lanes, container performance offset the drop in trailer volumes, resulting in the smallest declines of all the corridors. Containers did the opposite in the South Central-Southwest corridor which finished the quarter in negative territory by 17.6 percent, IANA officials said.

Additionally, intermodal trends were down in every region for the quarter, ranging from -1.6 percent in Mexico to -14.9 percent in the South Central. The decline in international shipments between the Southwest and South Central regions was enough to impact negatively the overall international numbers for the quarter, according to IANA.

Regional results also varied by exposure to trailers. Regions with the least trailer activity — including Mexico, the Northwest and Western Canada — came the closest to breaking even.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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