Domestic Containers Continue to Lead Intermodal Growth in 2015

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Q4 Results Hold Year-Over-Year to 2.8 Percent Growth, According to IANA Report

“All things considered, intermodal performed well for the year,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “Even as fuel prices were dropping, domestic container volumes were picking up."

Despite network congestion and macro-economic headwinds, intermodal achieved solid growth in 2015, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s fourth quarter and year-end Intermodal Market Trends and Statistics report. Domestic container gains more than offset declines in trailer volumes and marginal international increases to achieve overall 2.8 percent growth in total intermodal volumes.

“All things considered, intermodal performed well for the year,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “Even as fuel prices were dropping, domestic container volumes were picking up. This smoothed variations across segments, especially in the fourth quarter.”

The domestic container segment grew 5.2 percent in Q4. International shipments, which had been impacted by port congestion at the beginning of the year, fell 0.6 percent on high inventories and softer import growth. Fourth quarter trailer volumes dropped 15.0 percent. All told, intermodal eked out a 0.3 percent gain for the quarter.

The seven highest-density trade corridors, accounting for 66 percent of total intermodal volume, fell 0.2 percent in Q4 against the small industry gain. Growth rates for each individual corridor varied widely. The intra-Southeast corridor led with 9.7 percent, reflecting the strength of both international and domestic containers in that lane. Meanwhile, the South Central-Southwest corridor volumes decreased by an equal amount.

Intermodal Marketing Companies demonstrated clear growth in the highway sector during Q4, up by 11.4 percent, while intermodal loads remained flat. The net result was a volume increase of 4.8 percent. On an annual basis, highway loads increased 9.5 percent vs. 2.3 percent for the intermodal sector, with overall growth of 5.3 percent.

Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics is published quarterly by IANA and is available on a subscription and individual copy basis. Members of the press may request a sample copy of the 2015 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics from Tara Mullen at tara(at)intermodal(dot)org. The report features detailed analyses and reproducible graphical representations of Q4 2015 results.

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About IANA
IANA is North America's only industry trade association that represents the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry. The association’s mission is to promote the growth of efficient intermodal freight transportation through innovation, education and dialogue. The association offers valuable information and services specific to the intermodal industry encompassing consensus business solutions that facilitate: operations, regulatory compliance, and policy issue management. IANA's membership roster of over 1,000 members represents the diverse companies critical to moving freight efficiently and safely. IANA provides a discussion forum for the many types of stakeholders along the supply chain, resulting in a strong unified voice advocating the needs of intermodal freight transportation.

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