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.

By ·

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 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

IANA · intermodal · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Making the Case for Comprehensive Aftermarket Lift Truck Services
Service After the Sale: Looking Beyond Acquisition Costs
Download Today!
From the January 2019 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Seaports on West, East, and Gulf coasts are all poised to compete on one major imperative: investment in transformational technologies.
2019 Rate Outlook: Pressure Builds
Lift Trucks join the connected enterprise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2019 Rate Outlook: Will this be the year rates skyrocket?
Join Logistics Management's Patrick Burnson as he hosts a panel of fuel, trade and logistics experts who share their insights on rate patterns across all major transport modes to help shippers prepare their freight transportation budget for the coming year.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2019 Rate Outlook: Pressure Builds
In 2019, the world economy will enter a third straight year of broad-based growth, but many...
2019 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Market Update: Keeping pace with the times
The transportation management systems market is growing right along with the number of challenges...

The Logistics News that Shaped 2018
Every year at this time, group news editor Jeff Berman combs through the mountain of news that was...
Land O’Lakes lock in Texas-based capacity
Faced with the challenge of securing capacity in specific lanes, the iconic company broke with...