Major railroads are seeing intermodal volume in July trail June peak levels by thousands of container and trailer hauls each week, amid a slowdown in boxed imports from Asia.
The continent’s Class I and large regional railroads originated 291,447 intermodal shipments in the week ending July 23, which is 1.5 percent below their peak in the June 11 week, according to the Association of American Railroads.
The numbers were worse for the U.S.-owned major railroad that carry most intermodal traffic. The large U.S. carriers picked up 232,181 containers and trailers in the latest week, the most so far in July but still down 2.3 percent from their high in the week ending June 18.
By the Numbers: 2009-2010 U.S. Intermodal Container Traffic
Rail executives say the weakness is in trans-Pacific volume while domestic boxed shipments remain solid as intermodal takes share from long-haul trucks. Mario O. Moreno, chief economist for The Journal of Commerce, said intermodal imports fell 1.7 percent in June from a year earlier.
The railroad figures, however, also show that domestic trailer loadings remain lower in July than in June, so this month’s weakness is not limited to imports.
Compared with average volume in the four non-holiday weeks of June, new intermodal loadings by large North American railroads in the week ending July 23 are down 1 percent or 3,000 units. For U.S. carriers only, the latest week’s intermodal volume is down 1.9 percent or 4,536 loads from the average pace in June.
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