U.S. intermodal rates for east-to-west shipments fell this week, the only of the directional indices to see a decline, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS.
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include the big-city lanes of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, saw increases of differing magnitudes. The top 18 experienced a jump of $22 to $1,918.33, close to the $17 increase in the overall index. However, the top 12 only increased by $1.25 to $2,072.92. The difference was a $295 climb in the Chicago-Dallas lane, not included in the top 12, which elevated the top 18 and the overall index.
“There is no clear movement toward peak pricing yet, although the talk is starting,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “Not much changed in the index, as a whole. The Pacific Northwest and Northern California are still flush with containers and is the more obvious situation that impacted the index.”
East-west rates dropped 1.1 percent or $19 to $1,764 in the week of June 17, the first decline following four weeks of increases, totaling $47, in this direction. This put the current price 0.8 percent below the rate from the first week of 2013. Individual east-west lanes saw significant swings this week. Chicago-Oakland had the biggest increase: 6 percent, or $125, to $2,240. Atlanta-Los Angeles saw the steepest decline: 4.6 percent or $95 to $1,965.
West-east spot rates inched up 0.8 percent or $19 from last week, putting the rate at $2,353. The current rate is 6 percent lower than at the beginning of the year. The majority of individual trade lanes saw minor ups and downs, but jumps in two lanes pulled the overall west-east index up. The largest increase occurred in the Oakland-Chicago lane, which was up 6 percent or $135 to $2,350, and a 3.2 percent or $60 hike brought the rate for Seattle-Chicago up to $1,925.
North-south rates remained mostly flat for a second week, edging up 71 cents week-to-week, the same amount that it had fallen the week prior, back to $1880. The current index remains 5.6 percent below the rate at the beginning of 2013. Most north-south lanes remained flat or experienced changes of less than 2 percent. Two lanes saw significant changes: Chicago-Dallas climbed 6 percent or $120 to reach $2,130, while New Jersey-Atlanta slipped 7.5 percent or $75 to $930.
South-north lanes experienced the largest increase in 26 weeks after falling 1.2 percent last week. Rates jumped 3.6 percent or $61 to $1,761. This boosted the rate above that of the first week of 2013 for the first time since February. The current rate is up 0.7 percent from the beginning of the year. Individual northbound trade lanes saw mostly modest week-to-week changes, with the exception of the Los Angeles-Tacoma lane, which pulled up the overall south-north average when it increased 20 percent or $440 to $2,620.
“We are still at the lower end of the pricing spectrum since beginning to look at the rates back in September of 2012, with fuel also helping the story,” said LaGore. This week diesel prices fell to their lowest since July 2012, dropping 1 cent during a fourth week of declines.