Unexpected Peak in Intermodal Transport Trends

Surprising patterns of North America's intermodal transport in 2023. Is this the new normal? Experts weigh in.

Unexpected Peak in Intermodal Transport Trends

According to recent data, North America's intermodal transport is experiencing quite the season. The patterns we're seeing now diverge from those of past years. An interesting picture emerges when we combine the graph's insights with Lawrence Gross's observations.

A Late but Welcome Surge

  • Historical Context: Normally, intermodal volume peaks around Week 39. However, this year's data highlights a delayed surge, extending to Week 42.
  • Joint Effort: Notably, it isn't just the U.S. leading the charge. Canadian and Mexican carriers have joined in, contributing to the recent boost.

Key Takeaways from the Data

  • A notable dip in originations occurred early in the year. But a steady recovery trend is evident.
  • The year-over-year percentage change shows the decline is less severe, indicating improvement.
  • Consistent growth is reflected in the 4-week moving average.

Gross's Perspective
Lawrence Gross, a seasoned Intermodal and Freight Transportation Analyst, emphasizes this late peak season. According to the AAR, recent weeks saw a significant increase in North American originations, nearly matching the prior year's volume. All reporting railroads, except Union Pacific, reported week-over-week gains.

So, is this the new normal for intermodal transport? Gross suggests caution, stating, "Way too soon to say...give it a few years."

What Lies Ahead?
Only time will tell if these trends solidify into a "new normal." But for now, the intermodal transport sector can appreciate the unexpected peak.

Source: Lawrence Gross / LinkedIn

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