Intermodal shipping: IANA reports solid Q1 intermodal volume growth

Spurred by increased consumer demand and inventory replenishment, intermodal volume for the first quarter trended positive due in large part to growth on the domestic side, according to the most recent Market Trends report from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

By ·

Spurred by increased consumer demand and inventory replenishment, intermodal volume for the first quarter trended positive due in large part to growth on the domestic side, according to the most recent Market Trends report from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).
    IANA reported that first quarter total intermodal loadings at 3,019,310 were up 8.4 percent year-over-year, topping the fourth and third quarters of 2009, which were down 6.4 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively, year-over-year.
    And three of the four major intermodal categories tracked by IANA all saw positive year-over-year growth in the first quarter. Domestic containersat 1,034,036were up 15.7 percent. All domestic equipmentat 1,417,400was up 9.0 percent. IANA noted that in the U.S. all U.S. regions recorded increases in domestic container shipments greater than 10 percent annually.
    The only negative indicator for the quarter was trailersat 383,364representing a 5.9 percent decline. Trailer volume has been down 19 of the last 21 quarters.
    IANA Vice President of Member Services Tom Malloy told LM that this report is good news on a number of fronts, the most significant one being the 15.7 percent bump in domestic containers compared to the same timeframe a year ago, when they were also up 0.1 percent year-over-year.
    Last year for this quarter, domestic containers [at 893,506] hit their highest point, when everything else was off, said Malloy. That is the biggest takeaway of this report.
    While many economic indicators are improving and showing signs of growth, Malloy cautioned that first quarter figures are matched against a dismal first quarter of 2009, when the economy was still very sluggish. Whats more, a closer look reveals that total intermodal loadings for the first quarter are 11.1 percent below the roughly 3.4 billion loadings for the first quarter of 2007, which was the best first quarter performance ever, according to IANA.
    On the international side, Malloy explained that while there was nearly 8 percent annual growth, actual quarterly performance was somewhat misleading, with January being moderate, February a little bit better. And a very strong March ended up representing the bulk of quarterly growth.
    March made the whole quarter look good, but trending-wise things are moving the right way, noted Malloy.
IANAs first quarter data, coupled with strong intermodal growth signs of late from the Association of American Railroads and FTR Associates, supports the anecdotal consensus that it is becoming more popular among shippers, even though straight trucking movements still account for more than 70 percent of all freight transportation activity.
    IMC performance: Intermodal Marketing Companies saw percentage gains on an annual basis in the first quarter, with intermodal loadsat 257,332up 12.1 percent, and total loadsat 398,960at 6.7 percent. Highway loadsat 141,628were down 1.8 percent. Intermodal and highway revenue at $578,254,686 and $179,359,127 were up 16.2 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.
    Even though most key IMC metrics were up annually, they were largely down compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. Malloy attributed this to a bit of volume uptick in the fourth quarter, which due to late year growth.
    While IMC growth on a sequential basis, the overall outlook looks positive for 2010, according to IANA.
    With the first quarter off to a quick start, it looks like intermodal is poised for a strong rebound in 2010, read the Market Trends report. Economic recovery, continued strong service levels, growing domestic container fleets, rising fuel prices and broadening railroad product offerings all are fueling the industrys sharp turnaround from the difficulties of 2009.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Container · Economy · Freight · ISM · News and Analysis · Ports · Railroad · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...