Intermodal traffic volume fell 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.
The Intermodal Association of North America reported that although intermodal trailer volumes dropped 26.9 percent and international shipments fell 6.7 percent, domestic container business rose 3.3 percent.
“The Q3 results were in line with the previous quarter, reflecting sluggish market conditions,” said IANA President and Chief Executive Officer Joni Casey in a statement. “Projections for 2017 are more optimistic, based on continued increases in consumer spending and expectations that the international side of the equation will stabilize.”
The seven highest-density trade corridors — which account for 63.6 percent of total intermodal volume — collectively declined 3.9 percent year over year.
The Midwest-Northwest corridor’s traffic rose 3 percent, dominated by containers. However, all other corridors posted declines, ranging from 0.8 percent in the Northeast-Midwest and Trans-Canada lanes, to 11.2 percent in the South Central-Southwest corridor. Midwest-Southwest volumes, which are the highest, dropped 5.3 percent.
Regional losses were widespread, based primarily on international traffic. The Mountain Central and Mexico regions posted an 11.5 percent decline; Western and Eastern Canada logged 0.2 percent and 2.9 percent decreases, respectively; and Southwest, Midwest and Southeast regions clustered around the 4.6 percent industry average.