Westbound U.S. intermodal rates dropped once again in the week of August 12, putting the average at its lowest since the week of June 17, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. Despite this drop, the composite index remained mostly flat, down only 69 cents to $2,017.
“Looks like peak is getting a bit closer,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “We’re still seeing little movement in the Los Angeles outbound lanes, but the inbound L.A. lanes are starting to move down in a noticeable way so the railroads are trying to push more boxes into the L.A. market in preparation for peak.”
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include the big-city lanes serving Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, experienced minimal yet relatively larger declines this week when compared to the index of all 36 lanes. The top 18 index fell to $1,927, down $9, while the top 12 dropped roughly $10, to $2,090.
East-west rates fell 1.2 percent or $22, down to $1,767 in the week of August 12. In the past three weeks, the average rate in this direction tumbled $85. The current rate is 0.7 percent below the rate seen in the first week of 2013. Dallas-Los Angeles experienced a jump of 27.7 percent or $255 this week to $1,175; substantial drops in the other Los Angeles-bound lanes out of New Jersey, Atlanta and Chicago were large enough to offset this increase and pull down the whole directional index. New Jersey-Los Angeles fell the most, by 10.4 percent or $220 to $1,890.
West-east spot rates inched up 0.2 percent or $5 from the week of Aug. 5, putting the rate at $2,391. The current rate is 4.6 percent lower than at the beginning of the year. Most eastbound lanes remained unchanged this week. Los Angeles-Atlanta had the largest increase: 2.4 percent, or $70, to $3,000.
North-south rates increased 0.9 percent or $18 to $1,911. This was the second straight week of increases in this direction and the highest average since May 6, but the current index remains 4.1 percent below the rate at the beginning of 2013. Most individual trade lanes were flat this week. New Jersey-Dallas saw the only increase, jumping 7.5 percent or $135 to $1,945.
Rates for south-north lanes edged down slightly, falling 0.1 percent or just over $1. The index sits at $1,765; it is currently 0.9 percent above the level seen in the first week of 2013. For a second straight week, the only lane to see a decrease in this direction was Atlanta-Chicago, which slipped 1.2 percent or $10 to $810. All other lanes remained flat.