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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Domestic intermodal volume hits four-year high in '08, IANA says


Although total intermodal and international container volumes dropped in 2008, domestic intermodal reached its highest annual level since 2004, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) latest “Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics” report.

Domestic equipment volume totaled 5.9 million units, up 2.9 percent, and domestic container volume totaled 3.8 million units, up 7 percent compared with 2007 totals.

On the down side, ISO container volume totaling 7.7 million units and total intermodal volume totaling 13.7 million units declined 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively, vs. 2007 levels. In the fourth quarter, ISO container volume tumbled 11.1 percent to 1.8 million units while total volume dipped 7.2 percent to 3.3 million units.

“International intermodal volume declined in every IANA region during the fourth quarter … and con-tinued its steady decline for the seventh-consecutive quarter,” IANA officials said in the report “This quarterly loss contributed to the largest year-over-year drop of intermodal loadings since IANA began keeping quar-terly records in 1998. International containers had been the main driver of intermodal growth prior to 2007.”

Fourth-quarter domestic equipment traffic totaled 1.5 million units, down 2.1 percent, but domestic container volume reached 980,634 units, up 4.4 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2007 levels.

“Growth in 53-foot containers was an excep-tionally strong 10 percent for the quarter,” IANA officials said.

Meanwhile, trailer traffic continued to drop off in both the quarter and full year. Quarterly volume fell 12.9 percent to 491,128 units and annual volume declined 4 percent to 2.1 million units vs. 2007 levels.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/23/2009