Showing the strain of coronavirus shutdowns and closures, U.S. intermodal freight volumes slumped sharply in the second quarter of 2020, but the sector is now poised for a recovery in future months, according to a report from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

Total intermodal volumes dropped 11.9% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020, statistics from Calverton, Maryland-based IANA’s Intermodal Quarterly report showed. That figure included a drop of 15.4% in international shipments, 7.0% in domestic containers, and 14.0% in domestic trailers, all compared to the same quarter last year.

“Second quarter results showed the full impact of the economic downturn attributed to Covid-19. Slowing imports and declining diesel prices affected both international and domestic volumes,” Joni Casey, IANA’s president and CEO, said in a release. “We anticipate that the Q2 drop-off should be a floor going forward.”

The results follow similar reports of pandemic-triggered drops in trucking rates and volumes, canceled container ship sailings at maritime ports, and plummeting air freight markets.


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