Intermodal’s High Five

Intermodal’s High Five

Full-year results for intermodal freight are the strongest in five years, finds the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) Q4 and year-end Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report.

Intermodal freight volumes posted a fourth-quarter growth rate of 4.2 percent year-over-year, while quarterly international intermodal volume increased by 5.5 percent and domestic containers grew by 3.4 percent. Trailer loads fell 0.1 percent, the first time since 2016.

"All intermodal markets recorded an increase of at least 4.9 percent, and all regions saw traffic climb during 2018," says Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. "While we did see some year-end tapering, total volumes increased 5.6 percent for the year."


The seven highest-density trade corridors accounted for 62.6 percent of total volume and were up collectively 5.1 percent for the fourth quarter. Growth ranged from 13.1 percent in the Midwest-Northwest corridor to 0.9 percent in the Trans-Canada lane. The South Central-Southwest lane advanced 9.7 percent, while the Intra-Southeast was close behind with 9.4 percent. The Southeast-Southwest lane booked a 7-percent gain, and the Northeast-Midwest corridor saw a 5.7-percent increase. The Southwest-Midwest managed 1 percent.

Intermodal marketing company volumes fell for the first time since Q1 of 2017. Solid 4.5-percent growth in intermodal loads largely offset the 6.3-percent drop in highway loads.

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