Intermodal volume sees annual gains in November, reports IANA
Total November volume, at 1,574,805 units, was up 3.6% annually. International, or ISO, containers saw the highest rate of growth, rising 4.8% to 780,420.
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November intermodal volumes showed growth across the board, according to data provided to LM by the Intermodal Association of North America.
Total November volume, at 1,574,805 units, was up 3.6% annually.
International, or ISO, containers saw the highest rate of growth, rising 4.8% to 780,420. Domestic containers, at 794,385, were up 2.4% and trailers rose 1.7% to 123,365, giving the all domestic equipment segment a 2.4% annual gain to 794,385.
On a year-to-date basis through November, the annual spreads for each category are higher than November was on a standalone basis.
Total intermodal volume for first 11 months of 2018 is up 5.4% to 17,397,082. Trailers, at 1,319,122, are up 12.4% annually, and domestic containers, at 7,316,040, are up 5.2%. All domestic equipment is up 5.5% to 8,635,162, and ISO containers, at 8,761,920, are up 5.4%.
These impressive numbers confirm the ongoing thesis that solid economic fundamentals, in tandem with steady demand, are driving strong volume-growth.
And it is especially impressive on the intermodal side, when one considers that U.S. intermodal unit volume continues to outpace U.S. rail carload data, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.
Other factors driving solid intermodal growth include still-tight truckload capacity, coupled with the ongoing driver shortage, with the trucking market also dealing with some crimped production, due to the December 2017 implementation of the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate for motor carriers.
Earlier this year, IANA President and CEO Joni Casey told LM that there were several reasons for the strong intermodal performance, including: overall strong economy; continued import growth; higher fuel prices; tight OTR capacity; and weak comparisons to lower 2017 volumes in some markets.
Addressing the ongoing trailer growth, Casey described it as a “byproduct of heavy e-commerce demand, but it is also a factor of tighter over-the-road capacity,” adding “it remains to be seen if this is ‘the new normal.’”
On the ISO side, IANA explained that rising container import volume is the main reason for segment growth, adding that barring any sort of change to trade policy, that growth should remain intact in the short-term, paced by solid economic fundamentals.
But should large tariffs be applied to Chinese imports, IANA said it could have a “significant impact on ISO container volume,” which would be a cause for concern, as 47% of U.S. container volume originates in China.
About the AuthorJeff 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
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