An index of 36 major U.S. intermodal lanes climbed 1.9 percent or $40 from the week before to $2,166 in the week of March 31, the eleventh weekly increase in the fourteen weeks of 2014 so far, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS. Rates have climbed 6.7 percent since the beginning of 2014 and are up 7.3 percent from the rate one year ago, when it stood at $2,019.
“Rates went up again this week. New Jersey and Atlanta are struggling a bit with outbound capacity, which has caused the respected outbound rates to be increased,” IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore said. “The Midwest is still working on the recovery of Chicago. While rates remained fairly consistent last week, outbound capacity is still tight.”
The top 12 and top 18 combined lanes, which include those serving Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle, also increased in the week of Mar. 31, but by slightly less than the 36 lane index. The top 12 index rose 1.4 percent or $33 to $2,273, up 10.5 percent year-over-year. The top 18 climbed 1.4 percent or $29 this week to $2,129, up 11.5 percent from the same week in 2013.
West-east spot rates, the only directional index to decrease this week, slipped 1.5 percent or $35 to $2,396. The current rate is down 1.1 percent from the same week in 2013 and down just 0.7 percent from the beginning of 2014. This is the third weekly decline of the past four weeks. Large declines in Los Angeles-New Jersey and Seattle-Chicago, of 8.3 percent and 6.9 percent respectively, pulled down the whole index.
The east-west index rose 5.7 percent, or $114, to $2,121 in the week of March 31. This was the fifth straight weekly increase, with the rate rising a total of $273 during this period. The current rate is up 22.5 percent year-over-year and up 15.0 percent from January 1. Most east-west lanes saw increases this week. Los Angeles-bound lanes originating in Atlanta and New Jersey saw the largest jumps, as rates in these lanes rose 16.5 percent to $2,365 and 17.7 percent to $2,295, respectively.
North-south rates increased 3.5 percent or $68 to $2,034 this week, the ninth straight week without a decline. The current index is 3.8 percent above the rate during the same week of 2013, and up 9.4 percent from January 1. All major southbound lanes rose or remained flat. The largest increase this week was in the New Jersey-Dallas lane, up 18.7 percent or $350 to $2,225.
Rates for south-north lanes increased 2.1 percent or $39 this week to $1,888. Last week saw the first weekly drop, albeit by less than $5, since the week of Jan. 20. The current rate is 8.3 percent above the level in the same week last year and 7.3 percent above the beginning of 2014. Most individual lanes were unchanged this week. Atlanta-Seattle saw the largest jump, up 10.1 percent or $295 to $3,220.