Driven by an improved economy and issues surrounding hours of service rules that have had some negative impact for truckload carriers, rail intermodal volumes continued to rise in the first quarter of 2004, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA). The 8.7% rise in volume reported during that quarter is the best total domestic gain since IANA began reporting the statistics in 1996. Trailer volumes increased by 11% during the quarter, which IANA says is the highest growth it has ever recorded for trailers.
Examining container volumes for the last year, the 7% growth rate in the first quarter was second only to the 7.6% gain reported in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Volume increased in all domestic trade corridors IANA monitors, with bi-directional activity in the Northeast-Midwest corridor showing the greatest increase (16.7%). Southeast-Southwest grew at a slightly lower rate of 11%, followed by the Midwest-Southwest corridor which grew 9.4%.