IANA: Trailers pace 1Q intermodal growth

Written by Douglas John Bowen
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North American intermodal growth continued uninterrupted in the first quarter of 2014, but unexpectedly was driven largely by growth in trailer traffic, the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

IANA said Monday, May 5, 2014 that total intermodal volume rose 2.6% during the first quarter, measured against he same quarter in 2013, “despite extreme weather conditions depressing economic activity across much of North America.” IANA added, “For the first time in nearly a decade, trailer growth outperformed all other intermodal segments, posting a 7.5% increase. This ended the sustained streak of market leadership that had been enjoyed by domestic containers,” which rose 3.2%.

“Severe weather during the first quarter impacted the entire transportation network,” said IANA President and CEO Joni Casey. “But despite these challenges, intermodal volumes showed modest growth, led by gains in trailer movements particularly in some of the regions that were hardest hit by winter, such as the Northeast and Eastern Canada.”

Calverton, Md.-based IANA noted that the container segment still beat expectations among many in the industry, despite the segment’s relative weakness. “Domestic containers can still point to an impressive an eight-year cumulative average growth rate of 8.6%,” IANA said.