Domestic container shipments increased from 1,162,340 in 2012 to 1,266,856 this year for a 9.0% year-over-year gain during the quarter. That was slightly above the 8.8% and 8.6% upticks recorded in the first and second quarters of 2011. And in spite of a stagnant economy and falling diesel prices, overall intermodal volume still recorded its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over year gains.
While domestic containers continued to gain market share from trucking, trailer volumes slipped from 428,618 units in 2010 to 424,987 units this year for an 0.8% during the quarter as compared with last year. While rising diesel prices drove freight to trailers during the first half of the year, diesel prices began a decline in the third quarter which may have contributed to the decline in trailer activity in rail service.
Year-over-year international volume decreased a slight 2.6% during the quarter, as many ports recorded declines in import volumes. International units handled by rail did not mirror the decline in imports reported by most ports, suggesting that international volume may have gained share from highway movements.
Total intermodal volume did well to increase 1.4% year-over-year during the quarter - a smaller rate of growth than had been anticipated due to the economy's fluctuations and very difficult comparisons to last year's early peak, which was in August.