Intermodal Volumes Best in Nearly Four Years

Total intermodal volumes climbed 7.2 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2018, the strongest gain since Q2 2014, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report. Domestic containers increased 6.2 percent, international intermodal volumes grew 7 percent, and trailers led overall growth at 14.5 percent.

“Drivers for first-quarter growth were an overall strong economy, the continued growth of imports, higher fuel prices, tight over-the-road capacity, and weak comparisons to lower 2017 volumes in some markets,” says Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA.


The seven highest-density trade corridors accounted for 62.8 percent of total volumes and were collectively up 6.2 percent. The Northeast-Midwest performed best, with volumes gaining 12.3 percent. The South Central-Southwest followed with eight percent. The trans-Canada, intra-Southeast and Midwest-Southwest lanes had growth of 6.7 percent, 6.5 percent and 5.6 percent respectively, while the Southeast-Southwest managed two percent. Only the Midwest-Northwest experienced a decline—4.8 percent—and its fourth consecutive quarterly loss.

Intermodal marketing companies saw loads rising 10.8 percent, mostly on highway gains.

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