Westbound U.S. intermodal rates jumped more than 2 percent this week, rebounding from last week’s 1 percent decline, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. The overall index was brought up 1 percent or $21 to $2,016 due to increases in three of the four directional indices in the week of June 24.
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 similar increases. The top 18 jumped $22 to $1,940, while the top 12 saw a larger increase of $36 to $2,109. The top 12 lanes all experienced increases this week.
“While diesel fuel decreased for the fifth straight week, the average intermodal spot rate has increased the last 5 weeks on the most traveled lanes (12 lane index),” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “Since the last five weeks have had continued increases on the key lanes with no offsetting rates countering the backhaul side of the lanes, we are viewing this as a more general upward push on price and not a function of peak … yet.” This week diesel prices fell slightly, inching down by only 0.1 percent or 0.3 cent.
East-west rates rose 2.4 percent or $43 to $1,807 in the week of June 24, the fastest pace of increase since early April. This put the current price 1.6 percent above the rate from the first week of 2013. All of the indexed east-west lanes increased this week. Atlanta-Los Angeles, which saw a steep decline of $95 last week, had the biggest increase this week: 10 percent, or $195, to $2,160. The other lanes saw moderate increases of between $20 and $30.
West-east spot rates inched up for a third straight week, rising 0.6 percent or $15 from last week, putting the rate at $2,368. The current rate is 5.5 percent lower than at the beginning of the year. Almost all individual trade lanes saw minor increases of less than 2 percent. Denver-Chicago saw the highest increase of 1.6 percent or $20 to reach $1,275. Dallas-Atlanta saw the only decline, sliding 0.3 percent or $5 to $1,460.
South-north lanes increased for a second consecutive week. Rates climbed 1.6 percent or $29 to $1,790. The rate remained 2.3 percent above that of the first week of 2013. The performance of individual northbound trade lanes varied. Rates increased marginally or were flat, with the exception of the Los Angeles-Tacoma lane, which dropped 8.4 percent or $220 to $2,400, after increasing $440 last week. Dallas-New Jersey jumped 16 percent or $345 to $2,485.
North-south was the only directional index to drop this week, edging down 0.4 percent or $7 week-to-week to $1,873. The current index is 6 percent below the rate at the beginning of 2013. Most north-south lanes remained the same or increased slightly. Two lanes, however, saw steep drops that pulled down the overall southbound average. Chicago-Dallas fell 5.2 percent or $110 this week, after gaining $120 last week, to reach $2,020. New Jersey-Dallas declined 4 percent or $75 to $1,800.