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Total Intermodal Volume Continues to Increase Despite Sluggish Economy

CALVERTON, MD., Nov. 5, 2012 – Domestic container volume recorded double digit growth for the fourth quarter in a row according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report, released today. Every IANA region reflected an increase in domestic containers which were responsible for the majority of total third quarter intermodal gains. Volumes were most impressive in the Midwest and the Northeast regions, with each recording nearly a 15 percent uptick.

Overall intermodal volume increased a respectable 3.2 percent during a quarter that exhibited some economic slowdowns. Trailer volume dropped 10.7 percent, as shippers continued to move away from 45-foot and 48-foot equipment, although 53-foot trailer shipments held close to last year’s volumes, dropping only a minimal 0.2 percent year-over-year. While domestic container volume was the highlight of the quarter, international volume posted a modest 0.9 percent increase, with the Northwest and Western Canada regions recording impressive growth during Q3 of 13.8 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.

Third Quarter 2012 Intermodal Volume Comparisons

Equipment Type 2011 2012 Change
Trailers 424,987 379,673 -10.7%
Domestic Containers 1,266,856 1,409,527 +11.3%
All Domestic Equipment 1,691,843 1,789,200 +5.8%
ISO Containers  1,960,667 1,978,955 +0.9%
TOTAL 3,652,510 3,768,155 +3.2%

The largest overall cause of modest international intermodal volume increases continues to be weak port volume, as many shippers have been unwilling to bring in substantial inven­tories. Strong domestic container gains have kept overall intermodal volume growth positive, and an anticipated rebound in imports should deliver higher levels of overall intermodal performance in the coming months.

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 copy of the Q3 2012 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 Q3 2012 results.

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