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Rail News: Intermodal

IANA: Q1 intermodal growth strongest since 2014


Total intermodal volume climbed 7.2 percent in first-quarter 2018 compared to the same period a year ago, marking the strongest gain since second-quarter 2014, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) announced yesterday.

Domestic containers in Q1 2018 rose 6.2 percent, international intermodal volume increased 7 percent and trailers soared 14.5 percent, according to IANA's Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.

"Drivers for first quarter growth were an overall strong economy, the continued growth of imports, higher fuel prices, tight over-the-road capacity and weak comparisons to lower 2017 volumes in some markets," said IANA Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey in a press release.

The seven highest-density trade corridors accounted for 62.8 percent of total volume and were collectively up 6.2 percent. The Northeast-Midwest performed the best of the seven with a 12.3 percent gain. The South Central-Southwest followed with 8 percent, while the trans-Canada, intra-Southeast and Midwest-Southwest lanes had growth of 6.7 percent, 6.5 percent and 5.6 percent respectively. The Southeast-Southwest logged 2 percent growth.

Only the Midwest-Northwest posted a decline in Q1, which was 4.8 percent and its fourth consecutive quarterly loss.

Meanwhile, Canada's originated intermodal volume increased 8.8 percent in the quarter compared with year-ago volume, while Mexico's originated intermodal volume rose 14.4 percent in the quarter.

"Intermodal's strong recovery continued in Q1," the IANA report stated. "Slow gains in early 2017 helped boost recent results. Q1 2017 was modest, rising 2 percent. Comparisons will be tougher in the coming months. Growth should stay strong, as several factors are boosting the market."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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