Total intermodal freight volumes climbed 6.3% year-over-year in the third quarter for the strongest growth rate in over three years, according to new figures from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).
International intermodal volume increased by 8.2%, the domestic container market grew by 3.8% and trailer loads had the strongest growth number at 8.4%.
"This quarter's results show a continued recovery for all three intermodal segments, marking three consecutive quarters of growth, a first in six years," said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA.
The seven highest-density trade corridors accounted for 62.9% of total volume and were up collectively 5.2% for the third quarter.
The Eastern-Western Canada corridor, up 12%, showed the largest gain. Three other lanes exceeded 5% growth after incurring losses in the third quarter of 2016: the South Central-Southwest, at 9.2%; Southeast-Southwest, up 7.7%; and the Northeast-Midwest, at 5.9%.
Two lanes registered a drop in traffic: the Intra-Southeast corridor fell 0.2%, while the Midwest-Northwest corridor dropped 6.1%.
Traffic for intermodal marketing companies grew 4.1%, compared to a 0.6% increase in the second quarter. For the first time in 2017, IMCs recorded gains in both highway and intermodal loadings. Total IMC revenue soared 11.2% over last year, almost twice the 6.6% gain in the second quarter.