Highway Conversion Drives Container and Trailer Gains

CALVERTON, Md., Aug. 9, 2011 – Domestic and international intermodal volumes posted solid gains in Q2 2011, according to a report released today by the Intermodal Association of North America. IANA’s Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report notes that domestic container volume grew 9.0% year-over-year – a stronger pace than during the previous two individual quarters. This rate of increase is especially impressive considering that the highest gain recorded (16.4%) was posted in Q2 2010.

Although domestic containers recorded significant increases, trailer volumes had more modest gains, rising 4.6% over 2010 levels – a slightly slower pace than in the previous quarters that likely represents a continued equipment shift toward domestic containers. Domestic intermodal’s strong pace was bolstered by a steep rise in diesel prices that likely made it more cost-effective for shippers to shift freight off the highway.

Second Quarter 2011 Intermodal Volume Comparisons:

Equipment Type 2010 2011 Change
Trailers 406,080 424,587 +4.6%
Domestic Containers 1,128,108 1,229,815 +9.0%
All Domestic Equipment 1,534,188 1,654,402 +7.8%
ISO Containers 1,782,594 1,878,126 +5.4%
Total 3,316,782 3,532,528 +6.5%

International intermodal volumes during the quarter increased 5.4% year-over-year. While this is the slowest rate of international growth since late 2009, it should be noted that previous quar­ters benefited from weak comparisons. International shipments also would likely have been higher were it not for the disasters in Japan that reduced the volume of Japanese imports.

While the rate of intermodal growth slowed from the first quarter to the second quarter, it still remains in-line with many industry analyst estimates of 6-8% year-over-year expansion.

Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics is published quarterly by IANA and is available on a subscription and individual copy basis. Members of the working press may request a sample copy of the Q2 2011 Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics Report from Matt Mlynarczyk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-623-2929.  The report features detailed analyses and reproducible graphical representations of Q2 2011 results.

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