An index of 36 major U.S. intermodal lanes edged up 0.1 percent from the week before to $2,080 in the week of March 10, the sixth straight weekly increase by roughly 1 percent or less, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. The current index is up 1.8 percent from the rate one year ago, when it stood at $2,044, and up 2.5 percent from the beginning of 2014.
“Chicago continues to work through its clean-up and catch-up efforts,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “As a result, the rate increases out of the Midwest are averaging 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent. Chicago continues to be the biggest issue, as it relates to capacity, but other markets east of the Mississippi are tight also.”
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include those serving Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, also inched up in the week of Mar. 10. The top 12 index rose $19 or 0.9 percent to $2,164, up 3.6 percent year-over-year. The top 18 climbed $28 or 1.4 percent this week to $2,019, up 4.5 percent from the same week in 2013.
West-east spot rates slipped 1.8 percent or $44 to $2,443. The current rate is down 1.4 percent from the same week in 2013 but up 1.2 percent from the beginning of 2014. A large decline of 13.8 percent, or $665, in the Los Angeles-Miami lane to $4,145 pulled down the whole index.
The east-west index rose 1.4 percent, or $27, to $1,878 in the week of March 10. The current rate is up 7.5 percent year-over-year and up 1.8 percent from January 1. Most east-west lanes remained flat. Increases in outbound Chicago lanes to Oakland, Denver, and Seattle pulled up the index, as rates in these lanes rose between $125 and $150 to $2,400, $2,740 and $3,255, respectively.
North-south rates increased 1.4 percent or $26 to $1,930 this week, the steepest increase in the index in seven weeks. The current index is 2.3 percent below the rate during the same week of 2013, but up 3.8 percent from January 1. All major southbound lanes rose or remained flat. The largest increase this week was in the Chicago-Dallas lane, up 6.9 percent or $150 to $2,315.
Rates for south-north lanes inched up 0.3 percent or $5 this week to $1,824. This index has been increasing weekly since late January and has risen a total of $69 during this time. The current rate is 5.6 percent above the level in the same week last year and 3.7 percent above the beginning of 2014. Individual lanes remained unchanged this week, with the exception of the Atlanta-New Jersey lane, which rose 2.1 percent or $35 to $1,700.