Intermodal Downturn Continues in Third Quarter

November 01, 2019

Intermodal Downturn Continues in Third Quarter

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CALVERTON, MD, November 1, 2019 – Total intermodal volumes dropped 3.7 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report. International shipments nudged down 0.8 percent from 2018, while domestic containers and trailers fell 4.9 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively.

“Looser trucking capacity, continuing uncertainty about Chinese tariffs, and tough comparisons to 2018 volumes are the primary factors driving intermodal traffic,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “The rest of the year is projected to be flat, but a turnaround is anticipated by Q2 of next year.”

The seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled 62.8 percent of total volume, were down 3.1 percent. The Southeast-Southwest corridor topped Q3 growth at 3.3 percent followed by the Intra-Southeast and Trans-Canada, which came in at 1.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. Four corridors recorded decreases: the Midwest-Northwest at 2.1 percent; the Southwest-Midwest, 4.1 percent; the South Central-Southwest, 6.6 percent; and the Northeast-Midwest, 7.3 percent.

Total IMC volume fell 7.6 percent year-over-year in Q3. Both intermodal and highway loads were down for only the third time since the Great Recession.

Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics is published quarterly by IANA for its members and is available on a subscription and individual copy basis for non-members. Members of the press may request a sample copy of the third quarter Intermodal Modal Market Trends & Statistics report from Art Cleaver at The report features detailed analyses and reproducible graphical representations of Q3 2019 results.

IANA’s roster of more than 1,000 corporate members includes railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry. This roster gives IANA a unique position within the intermodal community, one which is authoritative, holistic and able to affect change that benefits everyone. IANA consistently supports the shared needs, interests, and goals of its diverse members – regardless of mode or function – with business solutions, education, and networking opportunities.