Total intermodal volumes gained 3.1 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Intermodal Association of North America. While trailers dropped 21.6 percent, domestic container and international container originations grew 6.0 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. It was the first of the past nine quarters showing year-over-year growth.
"The fourth quarter may have been an inflection point for intermodal. Both trade flows and inventories started to swing in its favor,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “Monetary actions by the Federal Reserve to bring down interest rates in 2024 could further set the industry up for more sustainable growth."
All but one of the seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled more than 60 percent of total volume, were up in the fourth quarter. The South Central-Southwest corridor was up 9.6 percent, while the Southeast-Southwest climbed 8.7 percent, and the intra-Southeast added 6.3 percent. The Midwest-Southwest and Midwest-Northwest both gained 4.8 percent, and the Northeast-Midwest put on 4.6 percent. The Trans-Canada was the only loss at 2.3 percent.
Total IMC volume fell 11.8 percent year-over-year in Q4, with intermodal down 6.6 percent and highway traffic down 14.9 percent.