Intermodal freight volumes posted a strong fourth quarter that saw a growth rate of 5.8% year over year, according to an Intermodal Association of North America report.
International volumes increased by 7.7% while domestic container volumes grew by 2.5% and trailer loads increased by 12.2%. In the fourth quarter, the seven highest density trade corridors were up 3.7%. These corridors accounted for 62% of the total volume of intermodal freight for the quarter.
The Eastern-Western Canada corridor expanded by 12.7%, exceeding all other lanes by a wide margin. Two other lanes, the Northeast-Midwest and the South Central-Southwest, reached 5% growth. The Midwest-Southwest, intra-Southeast and Southeast-Southwest lanes recorded growth of 2.4%, 2.2% and 1.0%, respectively. The Midwest-Northwest corridor volume shrank 5.2%, the only lane reflecting a decrease in volume.
"Intermodal delivered in 2017, thanks in large part to growth on the international side," said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. "The imbalance between imports and international volumes during 2016 has reversed, resulting in a strong 4.7% volume gain for the year."
Traffic for intermodal marketing companies increased 16.% year-over-year in Q4, with almost all of that gain taking place in the highway segment. This is the second consecutive quarter when both intermodal and highway loadings increased. For the full year, IMC volumes were up 5.4%, with highway moves growing at about twice the pace of intermodal loadings.
Fourth quarter statistics were published in IANA’s Q4 and year-end Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.
IANA is a trade association representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry.