The U.S. economy emerged from its recession during the first quarter of 2010 as increased consumer demand and inventory acquisition prompted a significant rise in total inter’modal volume. Domestic container volume posted the strongest growth, rising 15.7% year-over-year. Compared to 0.1% growth during Q1 09, this new growth indicates the up-tick is not just a rebound from last year’s depressed volume levels. Domestic con’tainer increases expanded monthly during the quarter, ranging from 10% in Janu’ary to more than 20% during March. All U.S. regions recorded increases in domestic container volume greater than 10% year-over-year while Cana’dian domestic container shipments were down 1.0%, hindering the overall growth rate.
|All Domestic Equipment||1,300,712||1,417,400||+9.0%|
Strong port volumes supported a 7.8% gain in international containers during the quarter. Like domestic container growth, interna’tional growth accelerated throughout the quarter. While international containers grew by only 1.0% in January and 3.0% in Febru’ary, they strongly advanced 18.0% in March. Gains in inter’national container shipments were broad-based across all regions except the Southwest, which dropped 2.8% during the quarter.
The rise in domestic and interna’tional intermodal shipments translated into an 8.4% intermodal volume gain year-over-year. Although total intermodal vol’ume was flat in January compared to 2009, by March total intermodal volume was 16.7% higher than during last year. All regions recorded total intermodal volume growth greater than 6.0% during the quarter, except the Southwest region, which experienced only a 2.8% uptick. With the first quarter off to a strong start, and the emerging economic recovery, contin’ued strong service levels, growing domestic container fleets, and rising fuel prices, intermodal appears poised for a strong rebound in 2010.