U.S. intermodal rates experienced a 1.2 percent or $24 overall increase in the week of April 22 to $2,052 despite lackluster results in three of the four regional indexes, according to data on all-inclusive 53-foot door-to-door spot pricing quoted by railroads and provided by the 3PL IDS.
East-west rates jumped to $1,918 this week, a 7 percent or $126 increase, thanks to a 73 percent or $1,300 spike in the rate on the New Jersey to Los Angeles lane from $1,785 last week to the current rate of $3,085. The increase can be attributed to “a capacity shortage on that lane that does not look like it will work itself out until the end of the week,” according to IDS Executive Vice President Rick LaGore. Other lanes showed relatively less significant changes; Denver-Los Angeles, for example, experienced a 4.2 percent or $50 decrease to $1,135. This week’s east-west rate is up 7.8 percent from the beginning of 2013.
West-east spot rates remained flat at $2,405 this week. Rates in this direction showed little movement over the past two weeks, as last week the index only inched down 0.1 percent from the week before. The rate stayed 4 percent lower than at the beginning of the year. Individual trade lanes showed small but varying shifts. The spot rate for Los Angeles-Atlanta edged up 0.5 percent or $15 to $2,815, and Los Angeles-Chicago fell 2.8 percent or $65 to $2,275.
North-south rates slipped 0.8 percent or $15 to $1,939. The current index for this trade lane is 2.6 percent lower than it was at the beginning of 2013. After an extreme volatile previous two weeks, which included a $475 jump and a $480 drop, the spot rate for Chicago-Dallas fell by just 1.4 percent or $30 this week to $2,040.
South-north rates fell 1.4 percent or $24 to $1,712 this week, which is down 2.2 percent from the beginning of the year. One key lane in this direction is Atlanta-Seattle, which slid 2.6 percent or $75 to $2,790.
“We continue to see the all-in rates drop. The only reason the overall index did not drop from last week is because of one lane, NJ to LA. Without that, we would have seen the index drop 0.5% from the prior week and at a 90 day low,” LaGore noted.
Diesel prices hit a nine-month low this week, extending their decline to eight weeks.