IANA: Domestic containers drive 3Q growth

Written by Douglas John Bowen

U.S. domestic container volume rose 5.1% in the third quarter, outdoing a 4.7% advance by international container volume during the period, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) said Monday, Nov. 10, 2014.

IANA, issuing its Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report, noted, “While international loads had the strongest growth in Q2, domestic container traffic reclaimed its place as the best-performing market segment in Q3 with a 7% increase year-over-year. This increase represents a minimal half of a percent slip from Q2’s volumes. However, proof of the strength of domestic intermodal is the fact that for the first time since IANA began keeping data, domestic volumes were greater than international volumes, on a seasonally adjusted basis.”

Said IANA President and CEO Joni Casey, “Both domestic and international intermodal volumes remain strong through the midpoint of this seasonal shipping peak. Domestic container movements have posted gains every quarter since Q3 of 2005 and this trend is expected to continue as highway capacity tightens.”iana007

IANA noted, “Trailer volumes were flat in Q3, ending a three-quarter streak of gains and suggesting a weaker overall market outlook. Growth in this segment varied greatly among regions, with Eastern Canada posting a 12.3% increase and the Northwest reporting a 21.3% decrease. Trailer declines were also common in key corridors such as the South Central-Southwest lane, where volume dipped 5.5%. However, regional results were more encouraging in places like Eastern Canada, where trailer growth pushed overall intermodal growth above industry averages.

Eight of the nine IANA regions recorded overall volume gains this quarter, IANA said. Western Canada and the South Central region reported volume growth over 10%. Growth in the Northeast, Southeast, and Eastern Canada regions was above the overall industry average of 5.1%, while the Southwest, Midwest and Mountain Central regions recorded increases between 2% and 4%. Northwest volumes reflected the only regional declines, decreasing 9.5% from the previous year’s level.