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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Domestic container volume remains intermodal's only bright spot in second quarter, IANA says


Similar to the first quarter, domestic container volume was the only positive for intermodal traffic in the second quarter, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) latest Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report. Domestic containers totaled 969,231 units, up 0.9 percent compared with second-quarter 2008 volume.

The 53-foot equipment segment — which accounts for 95 percent of all domestic container loads — posted a 5 percent gain. Domestic container volume increased in the majority of regions tracked by IANA, with the Mountain Central Region registering the largest gain at 17 percent and Midwest Region posting a 4 percent gain.

However, the weak economy continue to drag down overall intermodal volume, which plunged 18.7 percent year over year to 2.8 million units, the report states. Trailer volume tumbled 26.9 percent to 386,586 units, international container volume plunged 26 percent to 1.5 million units and all domestic equipment volume fell 9 percent to 1.4 million units.

“International volume, which still accounted for more than half of all intermodal shipments despite its recent downtrend, fell for a ninth-consecutive quarter,” the report states. “It dropped at a double-digit pace in every region, with western Canada seeing the smallest decrease in volume while the Northwest experienced the largest.”

Intermodal marketing companies fared a tad better in the quarter, with their volume shrinking by a small margin vs. second-quarter 2008 volume and increasing 7.3 percent vs. first-quarter 2009 volume.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/13/2009