Intermodal volume drives best gains since '96

Powered by surging domestic trailer volume, the growth streak of intermodal volume now stands at eight continuous quarters, according to Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics, a quarterly publication of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

As the United States economy has improved, and concerns over new hours-of-service rules have potentially moved trailers from roads to rails, domestic intermodal volume has set the pace for intermodal growth with an 8.7% increase in first-quarter 2004. This joint strength of trailer and domestic container growth has provided the best total domestic gains since IANA began reporting these statistics in 1996.

While trailer volume increased 11% during Q1 — the strongest growth ever reported by IANA for trailers — gains in domestic container volume were down only in comparison with trailers. Their 7% escalation was their second-best growth figure in a year, and only slightly below Q4's 7.6% gain. Transloaded international freight did not drive gains, and the greatest expansion came from the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest regions.

Though international volume also grew in Q1, it improved more slowly than in recent years. Volume increased in all key corridors that IANA monitors, with the three corridors showing the most significant bi-directional activity being Northeast — Midwest (+16.7%); Southeast — Southwest (+11%); and Midwest — Southwest (+9.4%).

Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics is a quarterly available by subscription and in individual copies. For more details, phone 703-619-0136 or e-mail [email protected].

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