Intermodal Turns A Corner In Third Quarter

November 02, 2020

Intermodal Turns A Corner In Third Quarter

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CALVERTON, MD, November 2, 2020 – Total intermodal volumes rose 1.2 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2020, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Quarterly report. Domestic containers and trailers both gained 9.8 percent compared to Q3 2019, while international shipments dropped 6.5 percent.

“Inventory replenishment and increasing e-commerce activity, along with some capacity constraints on the trucking side, have helped intermodal to turn the corner this quarter,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “This trend is expected to continue, but dependent on the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.”

The seven highest-density trade corridors, which handled more than 60 percent of total volume, were collectively up 1.9 percent in the third quarter. Three recorded gains: the Midwest-Southwest and the Northeast-Midwest, both at 6.6 percent, and the South Central-Southwest at 4.9 percent. The remaining four corridors showed losses. For the Trans-Canada, this was a slight 0.7 percent. The Intra-Southeast came in at 1.5 percent; the Southeast-Southwest, 5.4 percent; and the Midwest-Northwest at 13.6 percent.

Combined IMC volumes improved over the third quarter as well, with a total 8.6 percent increase. Highway and intermodal loads were up 7.7 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Members of the press may request the 2020 Third Quarter Intermodal Quarterly report from Art Cleaver at IANA has developed a new resource, the Intermodal Volume Analyzer available by subscription. It is the only tool of its kind with the ability to filter data by equipment type, size and ownership. A Historical Volume Analyzer as well as the aggregate rail volume data are also available by subscription and for one-time purchase. For additional information, visit the IANA website or contact Tara Mullen at

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.