Domestic declines while international remains flat

CALVERTON, MD - Total intermodal volumes declined 3.8 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2019, according to the Intermodal Association of North America's Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report. International intermodal showed no change from the same period in 2018, while domestic containers and trailers dropped 6.3 percent and 15.4 percent respectively.

"We had hoped that domestic intermodal volumes would have recovered more at this point," said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. "Most of the issues that impacted these volumes were one-of-a-kind occurrences – weather, flooding, network adjustments and inventory pull downs. Volumes for the rest of the year are dependent on economic factors, highway capacity and ongoing trade policy decisions."

The seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled 63.0 percent of total volume, were down 6.0 percent in Q2. The intra-Southeast corridor showed the greatest strength at 3.2 percent, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Midwest-Southwest corridor was down 7.9 percent. Between the two, the trans-Canada lane grew 1.5 percent, and the Midwest-Northwest corridor was up 0.3 percent. The South Central-Southwest corridor fell 5.1 percent, Northeast-Midwest was down 5.9 percent, and the Southwest-Southeast corridor declined 6.0 percent.

Intermodal Marketing Companies' total volume dropped 8.1 percent year-over-year. For the first two quarters of 2019, intermodal and highway loads both were down for the first time since the Great Recession.