Container volumes surge

by Array

CALVERTON, MD: Domestic and international intermodal volumes posted solid gains in the second quarter of 2011, according to a report released August 9 by the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA). The Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report notes domestic container volume grew 9 percent year-over-year, a stronger pace than the previous two individual quarters. The IANA said the increase is especially impressive given the highest gain recorded (16.4 percent) was posted in Q2 2010.

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

International intermodal volumes during the quarter increased 5.4 percent year-over-year. The report noted that while this is the slowest rate of international growth since late 2009, previous quar­ters benefited from weak comparisons. International shipments also would likely have been higher without the disasters in Japan that reduced the volume of Japanese imports.

While the rate of intermodal growth slowed from the first to second quarters, it was still in-line with many industry analyst estimates of 6-8 percent year-over-year expansion.