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October 15 2018

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46 The Journal of Commerce | October 15 2018 Surface Transportation 6.2 percent between July and August 2017, according to data from PIERS, a sister product of The Journal of Commerce within IHS Markit. The early surge, along with car- riers trimming capacity to the US, has prompted shippers to stockpile goods. Inventories rose 0.6 percent in July after a 0.1 percent increase in June, according to the US Census Bureau. Retail inventories inched up 0.5 percent in July after slipping 0.1 percent in June. IN MOST YEARS, rail shippers frantically moved freight by late September. This isn't true this year, surprising those who thought the intermodal peak season would start earlier than normal. Data suggest shippers moved up their September cargo movements to stock up before tariffs were imposed on $50 million in goods on July 6 and Aug. 23, and on $200 billion of goods on Sept. 24. By shifting the calen- dar, the month of September was a quiet one for intermodal shipments, though Southern California started to heat up at the end of the month. US containerized import growth slowed considerably year over year in August from June, to 1.2 percent compared with July's 9.1 percent increase, and import volume fell 1.5 percent from July to August. By comparison, volume jumped Freight usually moved in Sep- tember was moved in July. Intermodal data also confirm typical seasonal patterns have been upended this year. On a year-over- year basis, international container traffic rose 4.9 percent in June, 6.9 percent in July, and 4.2 percent in August, according to the Intermod- al Association of North America (IANA). Last year, there was more typical ramp-up with volume grow- ing 5.6 percent in June, 8.3 percent in July, and 9.5 percent in August. International cargo represents about 56 percent of intermodal volume. Domestic volume follows suit But even domestic inter- modal, representing 44 percent of volume, follows the same trend with IANA's data. Domestic equipment volume grew 6 percent in June, 7.5 percent in July, and 5.3 percent in August. By comparison, volume grew 3 percent, 5 percent, and 6.7 percent in those three months, respectively, in 2017. This could explain why Load- Match and — an intermodal directory connecting shippers and intermodal marketing companies to trucking companies — recorded a spike in web clicks Peak spotting Tariffs could be blamed for delay in US intermodal peak season By Ari Ashe Three of the major intermodal trucking providers have declared Southern and Northern California constrained. The early surge, along with carriers trimming capacity to the United States, has caused shippers to stockpile goods. Trucking | Rail | Intermodal | Air & Expedited | Distribution

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