Total intermodal volumes fell 7.1% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2023, according to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA), which cited tough economic conditions for the slowdown.
Broken into segments, domestic container originations actually grew 1.6%, but loadings of international containers contracted 13.2%, and trailers continued to fall, this time by a steep 23.3%.
“The picture improved for domestic containers, but slower demand for goods, still high inventories, and a competitive freight environment continued to check intermodal volumes in the third quarter,” Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA, said in a release. “We are starting to see signs though, for a turnaround next year.”
By geography, all but two of the seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled more than 60% of total volume, were down in the third quarter. Those two exceptions were the Intra-Southeast corridor up 5.6% and the Midwest-Northwest up 3.5%. But the slumping trend affected all the rest, including: the Trans-Canada down 16.6%, the Midwest-Southwest declined 9.4%, the South Central-Southwest down 9.0 %, the Southeast-Southwest down 7.0%, and the Northeast-Midwest losing 1.3%.