The index for the week ending Oct. 7 of U.S. intermodal rates climbed for a fourth straight week, with eastbound rate increases continuing to pull the average up, 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 1.1 percent or $23 in the week to $2,139, yielding a cumulative increase of $107 over the past four weeks. Despite the increases, when comparing 18 of the 36 lanes of this index that have been consistently recorded for the past year, the average is down 6.3 percent year-over-year.
“Again, we are experiencing high spot rates due to the peak demand, but again rates are still below where they were at last year at the same time for the same key lanes,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “This same time last year is when rates hit their highest rates on the key lanes we track in the index. With capacity still fairly tight in a number of markets, we feel this year’s rates are still on the upward trend, although may still stay below the rates of last year. The cost of diesel fuel is helping the cause.” U.S. diesel prices fell for a fourth straight week in the week ending Oct. 7, with prices down in all U.S. regions.
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include those serving Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, saw similar, slightly smaller, increases in the week of Oct. 7. The top 18 index rose $16 to reach $2,041, while the top 12 rose $20 to $2,216.
West-east spot rates climbed for a fifth straight week, up 2.4 percent, or $63, from the week of Sept. 30, to $2,733. During the past five weeks, the average eastbound rate has jumped $341. The current rate is now 9.1 percent higher than at the beginning of the year. The majority of individual lanes saw increases this week. Los Angeles to Atlanta saw the largest increase, rising 6.1 percent, or $200, to $3,475.
The east-west index gave up last week’s small gain and edged down 0.4 percent, or $7, this week, to $1,734. The current rate is 2.5 percent below the rate seen in the first week of 2013. The rate on the Chicago-Los Angeles lane fell 5.0 percent, or $80, to $1,535.
North-south rates slipped 0.7 percent, or $14, to $1,905 in the week ending Oct. 7. The current index remains 4.3 percent below the rate at the beginning of 2013. Rates in all southbound lanes were down or flat this week; New Jersey-Atlanta saw the steepest decline: 6.3 percent, or $60, to $900.
Rates for south-north lanes rose 1.8 percent, or $32, this week. The index stood at $1,853, up 5.9 percent from the first week of 2013. Atlanta to New Jersey climbed 13.2 percent, or $215, to $1,845, pulling up the overall northbound index.