U.S. east-west, north-south and south-north intermodal rates fell in the week ending March 18, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. Spot rates rose modestly in the west-east trade lane.
IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore cited decreasing fuel prices as one of the reasons for the drop in the three lanes and noted that this was the third week of overall index decreases. U.S. diesel prices have also been in a three-week decline, dropping 2.7 percent or 11 cents in the past three weeks.
East-west spot rates fell 0.8 percent or $14.44 to $1,732 per all-in 53-foot move, putting them down 2.7 percent from the beginning of 2013, when they were at $1,779. North-south rates dropped 1.4 percent or $28.57 to $1,948, down 2.2 percent from $1,991 at the beginning of the year; south-north rates dropped 0.1 percent or $2.14 to $1,725 which is 1.4 percent lower than when it was at $1,750 in the beginning of the year.
East-west rates varied lane-to-lane. Atlanta-Los Angeles inched up 0.6 percent or $10 to $1,790, while Chicago-Los Angeles rose 1.4 percent or $20 to $1,500. Atlanta-Dallas slid 0.6 percent or $10 to $1,670. The outbound Chicago lanes were down about 1 percent each this week. Chicago-Denver fell by 1.1 percent or $30 to $2,625, Chicago-Oakland by 1.1 percent or $25 to $2,180, and Chicago-Seattle by 1 percent or $30 to $3,100.
North- and southbound lanes showed an overall decrease this week. Chicago-Dallas dropped 1.4 percent or $30 this week to $2,065. New Jersey-Atlanta remained at $995 for the third straight week. Dallas-New Jersey was up 2.7 percent or $60 to $2,260 this week after dropping $70 last week. The Atlanta-Seattle rate dropped 0.2 percent or $5 to $2,845.
West-east spot rates inched up, however, by 0.1 percent or $2.67 to $2,481 this week. Although this is only a slight increase, it is the fourth consecutive week with rates rising in this lane. Cumulatively, rates have risen 1.1 percent or $26.67 over the past four weeks. This is the first time the intermodal rates in the west-east lane have risen more than two weeks in a row since late October 2012. Aside from this current four-week span, the rate has increased only one other week in 2013 so far. Despite the recent upturn, this week’s rate is still down 1 percent from the beginning of 2013 when it was $2,505.
All-in 53-Foot Door-to-Door Spot Intermodal Rates
East to West Rates
Although west-east spot rates were up overall, Chicago-New Jersey, which showed the largest increase last week, showed a significant drop by 3.2 percent or $50 this week to $1,535. Los Angeles-Chicago had the largest rate increase this week by 5.4 percent or $125 to $2,455. The other west-east lanes had mixed shifts. Los Angeles-Atlanta showed a 1.7 percent or $50 increase for the third consecutive week, raising the rate to $3,050. Los Angeles-Dallas edged up 0.8 percent or $20 to $2,490. Los Angeles-New Jersey was $3,500, down 0.7 percent or $25. Seattle-Chicago slid down 0.3 percent or $5 to $1,940 for the second week.
“The West to East rates have been steadily increasing over the last 30 days, while the three other areas of the index are now at their lowest point over the last 90 days,” LaGore said. “The outbound Chicago lanes are having the most impact, as a percentage decrease.”