Intermodal Volume Fell in 1st Quarter

The Intermodal Association of North America reported last week that intermodal volume in the first quarter of 2022 fell 6.6 percent to 4,312,905 units compared with 4,616,262 units in the same period of 2021.

Domestic container shipments rose 5.2 percent to 2,046,210 units, but international container volume dropped 15.5 percent to 1,997,046 units and trailer counts fell 12.8 percent to 269,649.

It was the third-smallest quarterly volume in the past four years and followed a 9.8 percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2021 and a 2.9 percent drop in the third quarter of 2021, IANA officials said in the report.

IANA said COVID-19 Omicron surge was evident as January intermodal loadings, which fell 13.3 percent. Loadings in the seven highest-density trade corridors all fell during the first quarter.

“Supply-chain issues continued to impact volumes in the first quarter, especially on the international side,” said IANA President and CEO Joni Casey. “On the other hand, domestic containers stood out for a respectable year-over-year gain. Higher levels of transloading are primarily responsible for this trend.”

North American intermodal volume for 2022 is expected to rise 0.9 percent despite losses during the first half of the year.

Volume should rise in the the second half of 2022 although international container volume is expected to decline 2.8 percent this year with a greater share of imports landing on the East and Gulf Coasts in addition to a larger number of transloads moving in domestic containers off the West Coast.

Increasing transloads and tight trucking conditions should boost domestic container volume by 6.4 percent in 2022, IANA officials said.

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