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Rail News: Intermodal

IANA: Domestic, international container volumes strengthened in Q4


Total intermodal volume increased 3.1% in fourth-quarter 2023 to 4,367,940 units compared with Q4 2022, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

While the number of trailers dropped 21.6% to 168,814, domestic and international container originations grew 6% to 2,108,322 units and 2.9% to 2,090,804 units, respectively. It was the first of the past nine quarters showing year-over-year growth, IANA officials said in a press release.

"The fourth quarter may have been an inflection point for intermodal. Both trade flows and inventories started to swing in its favor,” said IANA President and CEO Joni Casey. "Monetary actions by the Federal Reserve to bring down interest rates in 2024 could further set the industry up for more sustainable growth."

All but one of the seven highest-density trade corridors — which collectively handled more than 60% of total volume — increased in Q4. The South Central-Southwest corridor surged 9.6%; the Southeast-Southwest rose 8.7%; and the intra-Southeast gained 6.3% The Midwest-Southwest and Midwest-Northwest corridors both grew 4.8%, while the Northeast-Midwest corridor climbed 4.6%. 

The Trans-Canada corridor recorded the only loss, at 2.3%. Total IMC volume fell 11.8% year over year, with intermodal down 6.6% and highway traffic down 14.9%.

For full-year 2023, total intermodal volume declined 5.9% to 16,609,980 units compared to total volume in 2022.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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