Both December and calendar year 2019 intermodal volumes saw annual declines, according to data provided to LM by the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).
Total December volume—at 1,409,128—dropped 8.2% annually. Domestic containers—at 595,597—were off 2.7%, and trailers–at 103,897—were off 17.2%. All domestic equipment—at 699,494—was off 5.2%. ISO, or international, containers—at 709,634—saw a 10.9% decline.
For calendar year 2019, IANA reported the following annual tallies:
total volume fell 4.1% to 18,146,095
trailers were down 15% to 1,227,511;
domestic containers dropped 4.5% to 7,570,940
all domestic equipment was off 6.1% to 8,798,451; and
ISO containers slipped 2.2% to 9,347,644
As previously reported, these numbers are in line with how current intermodal market conditions have played out for several months, with myriad factors that influenced intermodal throughout 2019 remaining intact, including loosening truck capacity putting pressure on domestic intermodal, and changes in trade policy eating away at container volumes and subsequently international traffic.
In its third quarter Market Trends” report, IANA stated that total third quarter volume––at 4,662,488––was off 3.7% annually, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of annual declines after a lengthy stretch of gains going back to the third quarter of 2016. The first quarter of 2019 was down 1.5% annually, following 4.7% and 4.2% annual gains from the third and fourth quarters of 2018, respectively. And second quarter volumes were off 3.8% annually.
IANA officials told LM in late 2019 that said the things, or factors, that stand out the most when looking at volumes are increasing volatility in international shipments, accelerated declines in intermodal trailer volumes, and higher than expected capacity in the trucking segment.
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