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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Fourth-quarter volume gain caps off another record-breaking year for intermodal industry, IANA says


Fueled by a 4.3 percent year-over-year increase in imported containers, North American intermodal volume rose 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The period’s traffic, which totaled 3.6 million units, helped the industry set a volume record for the fifth-straight year, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) quarterly “Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics” report.

Fourth-quarter traffic also represented the industry’s third-highest quarterly volume, bested only by traffic in 2006’s second and third quarters, IANA said. During the quarter, domestic trailers increased 4.9 percent to 818,295 units and ISO containers rose 4.3 percent to 2 million units, while trailers plummeted 14.9 percent to 710,831 units and total domestic equipment dropped 4.3 percent to 1.5 million units compared with fourth-quarter 2005 data.

“Trailer business fell … in part because railroads converted freight to containers that can be double stacked,” IANA officials said in the report. “Fourth-quarter volume growth was the slowest in 2006 [as] demand leveled off during the latter portion of the year.”

For the year, intermodal volume reached 14.2 million units, up 4.3 percent compared with 2005’s volume. Domestic volume totaled 5.7 million units and international volume reached 8.5 million loads, up 7.5 percent. The international segment now accounts for 60 percent of all volume, IANA said.

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More News from 2/8/2007