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Big box segment carries intermodal gains, says IANA

“Domestic container volume was the foundation of intermodal growth in both the second quarter and year to date,” said Joni Casey, President and CEO of IANA. “Despite some segments slowing in Q2, the Market Trends and Statistics data confirm the industry’s underlying momentum.”

The Trucker News Services

8/6/2013

CALVERTON, Md. — Domestic container volume continued its steady performance in the second quarter of 2013 with 9 percent year-over-year gains, reported the Intermodal Association of North America Monday.

The group said this was “largely attributable to a strong big box segment, with total intermodal traffic rising by 2.4 percent for the quarter.”

International volume was unable to build on its solid first-quarter growth, falling 1.3 percent in the second quarter after posting 3 percent gains in the prior quarter. This decline can be attributed to surprisingly weak shipments in June, with loads falling 6 percent from a year ago. It is unclear if the June trail off is an indicator of more to come or if the 6 percent dip is an outlier.

Intermodal trailer volumes declined 2.5 percent when compared to 2012’s second quarter, but this loss was less than half of the decrease in loads experienced in quarter one.

“Domestic container volume was the foundation of intermodal growth in both the second quarter and year to date,” said Joni Casey, President and CEO of IANA. “Despite some segments slowing in Q2, the Market Trends and Statistics data confirm the industry’s underlying momentum.”

Intermodal marketing company (IMC) volume slowed and intermodal loads ended up gaining only 1.1 percent, as opposed to 2.2 percent in the first quarter. However, while weakening imports and related transloads may have contributed to second-quarter performance, stronger gains in highway volume helped offset the slower growth in intermodal business.

The Southeast region was the clear leader in the second quarter of 2013, according to IANA’s Market Trends data, with intermodal increasing 8.1 percent compared to 2012. Intra-southeast shipments bested the national average, posting an impressive 11.1 percent in the second quarter.

Regional traffic in the Southeast United States grew 8.1 percent compared to second-quarter 2012, with domestic container volume leading the way up 12.4 percent, surpassing the industry average of 9 percent growth. Southeast international intermodal also bested industry statistics with a 6.7 percent gain compared to a 1.3 percent drop nationwide.

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