Domestic U.S. Rail Traffic Growth Is Beating International

Container Train

U.S. domestic rail traffic is rebounding even faster than other forms, according to the Intermodal Association of North America.

Intermodal shipments that start and end within the U.S. grew 9% in Q1, faster than the 7.8% gain for total traffic.

Many shippers are opting for truck/rail combos over straight truck-delivered methods, perhaps due to the relatively high fuel prices the U.S. continues to experience.


That continues a trend over the past year of domestic intermodal faring better than rail hauls of ship-delivered boxes, narrowing the historic gap that favours international volume.

Industry consultant FTR Associates said the latest IANA data also shows intermodal reaching new market share highs in both all-domestic traffic and total volume in the U.S. long-haul segment of containers or trailers moving 550 miles or more.

“This marks the fourth consecutive share increase for intermodal,” said Lawrence Gross, FTR senior consultant. “The sector was hitting on all cylinders during the first quarter.”

Even if some gains are due to a change in transport behaviour caused by fuel prices, there’s likely still substantial growth in U.S. domestic economic activity underway.

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