IANA reports “surge” in domestic container volumes

IANA said that 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.

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A report issued by Intermodal Association of North America this week shows that domestic and international intermodal volumes posted solid gains in Q2 2011.

IANA’s “Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics Report” noted that domestic container volume grew 9.0 percent 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 percent) was posted in Q2 2010.

Although domestic containers recorded significant increases, trailer volumes had more modest gains, rising 4.6 percent over 2010 levels – a slightly slower pace than in the previous quarters that likely represents a continued equipment shift toward domestic containers.

IANA said that 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.

Donald Pisano, chairman of the National Industrial Transportation League’s Ocean Transportation Committee, and chairman of the Traffic and Warehouse Committee at the Green Coffee Association, told LM that the trend to move cargo via intermodal is growing.

For a variety of reasons, this is gaining traction, he said.

As with other industry leaders, he also said it will have an impact on which seaports prosper in the future.

International intermodal volumes during the quarter increased 5.4 percent year-over-year. While this is the slowest rate of international growth since late 2009, IANA 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, said IANA.

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 percent year-over-year expansion, said IANA spokesmen.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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