Total intermodal volumes increased 6.3% year-over-year in the third quarter for the strongest growth rate in more than three years, according to the Intermodal Association of North America.
International intermodal volume soared by 8.2%; the domestic container market grew by 3.8%; and trailer loads had the strongest growth number at 8.4%.
“This quarter’s results show a continued recovery for all three intermodal segments, marking three consecutive quarters of growth, a first in six years,” said Joni Casey, president of IANA.
The seven highest-density trade corridors accounted for 62.9% of total volume and were up collectively 5.2% for the third quarter.
The Eastern-Western Canada corridor, up 12.0%, showed the largest gain. Three other lanes that exceeded 5.0% growth after incurring losses in Q3 2016 were the South Central-Southwest at 9.2%; Southeast-Southwest up 7.7%; and the Northeast-Midwest at 5.9%.
Two lanes registered a drop in traffic – the Intra-Southeast corridor fell 0.2%, while the Midwest-Northwest corridor dropped 6.1%.
Traffic for intermodal marketing companies grew 4.1%, compared to a 0.6% increase in the second quarter.
For the first time in 2017, IMCs recorded gains in both highway and intermodal loadings, IANA reported. Total IMC revenue jumped 11.2% over last year, almost twice the 6.6% gain in the second quarter.
The Association of American Railroads claims that October was the best month for intermodal rail traffic in history.
U.S. railroads originated 1,144,157 containers and trailers in October 2017, up 6.4%, or 68,328 units, from the same month last year. They also originated 1,065,777 carloads in October 2017, down 0.1%, or 1,220 carloads, from October 2016.