Only good news from quarter marked by sharp international declineDomestic container volumes provided a glimmer of hope during a quarter weighed-down by plunging international numbers. Given the challenging economic climate, even the small 0.1% growth of domestic containers during Q1 2009 is considered impressive. Although overall domestic container volume barely stayed in positive territory, 53-foot containers continued to show strong gains, posting a 4.6% increase during the quarter; a shift to transloading of international business may be responsible for some of that strength. But unlike domestic container volume, trailer volume dropped sharply.
|First Quarter 2009 Intermodal Volume Comparisons|
|All Domestic Equipment||1,405,012||1,300,712||-7.4%|
During the period, international volume did not come close to positive territory due to some of the worst economic conditions seen in recent memory. Burdened by sinking consumer spending and overstocked inventories, international volume plunged 22.7% overall during the first quarter – with declines reported in every IANA region. The Western Canada region saw the smallest international decline of 11.2%, while the Northwest region saw a substantial 32.9% drop in volume – the largest during the quarter.
Lackluster intermodal performance was widespread across all regions and lanes during Q1 and lanes that did experience gains generally carried low volumes; the total volume carried on these lanes represented less than 1% of the quarter’s total volume. While the small increase in domestic container volume during the quarter was encouraging, it could not compensate for plummeting international and trailer volume. The end-result being a quarterly total intermodal volume decline of 16.3%, the largest quarterly drop recorded by IANA. (IANA)