Intermodal Volume

  • Intermodal Volume

    Why are we not experiencing a shortage of TL capacity?

    - by Tom Sanderson

    BB&T produced an excellent chart which goes a long way to explaining why we are not seeing a shortage of TL van capacity even with housing starts and auto assemblies rising. Using ATA data for truck loads, the chart shows that domestic intermodal load volumes have increased for 11 straight years, including 2009, and this year will clearly make it 12 straight. In contrast, TL van loads have contracted in 8 of the 11 years and it looks like there will be further contraction this year. Van loads are approximately 19% below their level of 2006. Since longer haul freight is more likely to have been converted to intermodal, the impact on truck capacity availability is even greater. Since 2007, domestic intermodal volume has grown at a 9.1% annual rate versus GDP growth of about 1.5% per year.

    Shippers have done a good job of recognizing that there is a lack of new TL capacity entering the industry and have responded by managing the demand side, not only through intermodal conversion but also through packaging design, supply chain network design, and utilization of private and dedicated fleets.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    International loads in domestic equipment near October’s record volume

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported nominal year-over-year intermodal growth in domestic equipment and a decline in international equipment loads in March. In comparison to February, domestic equipment volume showed strong growth while international equipment loads declined. While the domestic equipment loads were not much above March 2012, it is interesting to note how close March volumes were to the peak volumes recorded in October of last year.  We expect strong intermodal growth in 2013 regardless of overall economic growth, as more truck freight is converted to intermodal east of the Rockies.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Intermodal volume drops in February, but still shows growth over 2012

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported much softer year-over-year intermodal growth in domestic and international equipment in February than was the case in January. This could just be a function of fewer work days in 2013. Volume for both equipment types was down from very strong January load counts.  We expect strong intermodal growth in 2013 regardless of overall economic growth, as more truck freight is converted to intermodal east of the Rockies.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    January intermodal volume is very strong

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported very strong year-over-year intermodal growth in domestic and international equipment in January. January domestic equipment volume not only far exceeded January of 2012 volume, but was higher than volume in all but four months of 2012. For international equipment loads, only two months in 2012 exceeded the load volume of January 2013. We expect strong intermodal growth in 2013 regardless of overall economic growth, as more truck freight is converted to intermodal east of the Rockies.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Intermodal volume falls in December

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported flat year-over-year growth in domestic intermodal equipment loads in December, the only month of 2012 that did not show a growth over prior-year volumes. December volume was lower than all but the first two months of 2012. Shipments moving in international containers also fell in December and finished the year lower than in each of the previous two years, and also at a low point for 2012. The port strike at LA and Long Beach hurt early December numbers. Cass reported relatively high retail inventories leading into Q4 and nominal retail sales growth was less than 5% in each of the last three months. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011 or 2012. We do expect intermodal growth in 2013 regardless of overall economic growth as more truck freight is converted to intermodal east of the Rockies.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Domestic intermodal year-over-year growth remains strong

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported strong year-over-year growth in domestic intermodal equipment loads in November. Volume was down slightly from the all-time record load count in October.  Shipments moving in international containers also fell in November and are in line with the previous two years. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011 or 2012. Growth through 2012 was driven more by truck-to-rail conversion than by inventory buildup in advance of holiday sales.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Intermodal traffic surges in October

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported strong year-over-year growth in domestic intermodal equipment loads in October, and this represents an all-time record load count.  Shipments moving in international containers also increased in October following a big drop in September. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011 or 2012. Growth through 2012 was driven more by truck-to-rail conversion than by inventory buildup in advance of holiday sales.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Significant decline in September intermodal shipments

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reported modest year-over-year growth in domestic intermodal equipment loads in September, but domestic loads were down from August, when volume surged to the highest level of the three-year period.  Shipments moving in international containers fell sharply in September falling below prior year volumes for the first time this year. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011, and the same appears likely for 2012. Growth through the remainder of 2012 will be driven more by truck-to-rail conversion than by inventory buildup in advance of holiday sales.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    August domestic intermodal shipments surge

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reports strong growth in domestic intermodal in 2012 compared to the prior two years. August domestic volume surged to the highest level of the three-year period.  Shipments moving in international containers also rose in August and remain at or above 2011 volumes. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011. Growth through the fall in 2012 will be driven more by truck-to-rail conversion than by inventory buildup in advance of holiday sales.

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  • Intermodal Volume

    Intermodal volume falls in July but remains above prior year levels

    - by Tom Sanderson

    IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, reports strong growth in domestic intermodal in 2012, compared to the prior two years. July domestic volume was down from June but still remains well above prior-year volumes.  Shipments moving in international containers were flat in July but remain at or above 2011 volumes. There was no significant fall peak shipping season in 2011. Growth through the summer and early fall in 2012 will be driven more by truck-to-rail conversion than by inventory buildup in advance of holiday sales.

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