The index of U.S. intermodal rates for the week ending Sept. 30 increased for a third straight week, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. The overall rate rose 1.6 percent or $33 for the week to $2,116, yielding a cumulative increase of $84 over the past three weeks. The overall rate is the highest since the week of Dec. 10, 2012, when it was $2,324.
“More of the same occurred this week. We continue to see the West Coast capacity tighten and the rates are reflecting the shortage of capacity on lanes moving west to east,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “The east to west continues to dip, but not as fast as the rates are increasing from the other direction. The good news is while rates are increasing they are still below last year’s peak. We expect to see prices continue to climb for the remainder of the month and are hopeful to start to see some relief afterward.”
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include those serving Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, also experienced increases in the week of Sept. 30. The top 18 index jumped $45 to reach $2,024, while the top 12 gained $32 to $2,196.
West-east spot rates climbed for a fourth straight week, inching up 0.5 percent, or $13, from the week of Sept. 23, to $2,670. This rate of increase was much decelerated from the previous two weeks, which both saw jumps of roughly 5.0 percent. The current rate is now 6.6 percent higher than at the beginning of the year. Rates were mixed in individual lanes. The Oakland to Chicago lane saw the most significant increase, rising 6.7 percent, or $175, to $2,780. The biggest decline in this direction came from Los Angeles-Miami, which saw rates tumble 7.9 percent, or $365, to $4,240.
The east-west index saw rates edge up 0.4 percent, or $6, to $1,741. This increase rebounded from three previous week-to-week declines in this lane. The current rate is 2.1 percent below the rate seen in the first week of 2013. The individual Chicago-Oakland lane brought up the westbound index with a 12.2 percent or $250 jump, to $2,295.
North-south rates increased 3.8 percent, or $71, to $1,919 in the week ending Sept. 30, reaching a 21-week high. The current index remains 3.7 percent below the rate at the beginning of 2013. A steep increase of rates in the Seattle-Atlanta lane brought the whole index up; rates in this individual lane soared 18.5 percent, or $465, to $2,980.
Rates for south-north lanes rose 2.0 percent, or $35, this week. The index stood at $1,821, up 4.0 percent from the first week of 2013. Los Angeles to Tacoma climbed 9.4 percent, or $240, to $2,780; rates in most other south-north lanes remained unchanged from the week before.