Lagging Imports Bad News for Intermodal Traffic

Indications are that imports to U.S. Ports on both coasts are going to continue lagging through at least the end of June.

That’s not good news for railroads that haul containers from those ports.

The e-newsletter FreightWaves reports that canceled sailings combined with a loose truck market will continue to depress intermodal volumes.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said volumes through April were down 15.5 percent compared to 2019.

Traffic did tick up in April over March but through the end of June the port will experience cancellation of 28 sailings.

Seroka said that “ . . . is a tremendous number, yielding softness in the market through the months of May and June.”

He indicated that the canceled sailings are due to retailers delaying or canceling orders for goods.

Fast fashion has seen its business drop by 50 percent and auto and related parts are well down.

The port of Savannah, Georgia, reported it expects 37 canceled sailing in May, which would be nearly 22 percent of vessel calls.

Thus far about 15 percent of June sailing have been canceled.

FreightWaves said its data shows an expected decline in intermodal shipments in the coming weeks.

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