Intermodal Volumes Down 18.7 in 2Q

August 12, 2009

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Intermodal volumes were down in all areas during the second quarter, with the exception of domestic containers, which saw a slight improvement of 0.9 percent
. According to a report released by the Intermodal Association of North America, total intermodal volumes slipped 18.7 percent year-over-year, settling at 2.8 million.

Trailer volumes were about 387,000, the first time quarterly volume has fallen below 400,000 loads since IANA started reporting in 1996. This is a 26.9 percent drop from 2008 levels, compared to being down 20.6 percent in the first quarter. The report attributes the decline to the fact that domestic freight has been migrating to containers.

All domestic equipment decreased 9 percent in volumes during the quarter.

International intermodal traffic fell for the ninth straight quarter, with volumes slipping 26 percent. Despite the decline, international volume accounted for more than half of all intermodal shipments. Traffic dropped at a double-digit pace in every region, with Western Canada experiencing the smallest decrease and the Northwest the highest.

Domestic containers saw a 0.9 percent uptick this quarter, most likely due to advances in 53-foot equipment, which increased 5 percent and represents 95 percent of all domestic container loads.

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