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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
IANA: North American intermodal volume dipped in Q1
After strong growth in 2018, intermodal volume fell 1.5 percent in 2019’s first quarter to 4,477,728 units, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's (IANA) latest Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.
International intermodal volume rose 1.2 percent to 2,319,585 units, but domestic container counts dropped 4.1 percent to 1,821,916 units and domestic trailer traffic declined 5.4 percent to 336,227 units compared with first-quarter 2018 figures. Total domestic equipment volume decreased 4.3 percent to 2,158,143 units.
"A variety of factors across North America played into first-quarter results, including the reduction of tariff-driven imports," said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey in a press release. "Tough year-over-year comparisons also had an impact, which will play a role in the coming quarters."
Traffic in the seven highest-density trade corridors — which accounted for 63.7 percent of total intermodal volume — ratcheted down 0.2 percent collectively in the quarter. The intra-Southeast corridor was the best performer with a 8.7 percent gain, while the Midwest-Northwest corridor registered a 5.7 percent increase, the report states. But volume in the Midwest-Southwest, Southwest-Southeast and Northeast-Midwest corridors fell 5.1 percent, 3.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Following a modest drop in the fourth quarter, intermodal marketing companies' volume decreased 7.1 percent in Q1 — the first time since the last recession that both intermodal and highway loads declined in the same quarter, IANA officials said.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.