While the U.S. economy sputtered along last year, intermodal container volume hit a record high with 13.1 million moves.

The Intermodal Association of North America reports the level surpassed the previous years total by 5.9% and is 9.8% percent higher than the previous benchmark set in 2007.

The groups said for the third straight year, domestic containers were the driving factor with volumes topping five million for the first time, reflecting a growth rate of 12.2% over 2011 activity. 48-foot and 53-foot domestic boxes accounted for 38 percent of all container movements for the year. Despite some year-end softening, international volumes continued to have the largest share of intermodal loadings at 52 percent of the total.

For all of 2012, there were 14.632 million intermodal moves, 4% higher than 2011’s level. Intermodal trailer volume last year fell 10.1% to 1.532 million while all domestic equipment increased 6.5% in volume to 7.051 million units while ISO containers gained 1.7% to 7.580 million

There was some softening in the final quarter of last year with total intermodal volume growing just 2% from the same time a year earlier.