Intermodal Spot Rate Index Slides, but Don't be Fooled
Domestic intermodal spot rates are:
- Down 1.7% from prior week.
- Up 0.7% from 90 days ago.
- Up 38.8% from prior year.
The intermodal spot rate index has continued to slide since the week before Memorial Day, but do not be fooled. The market is a coiled spring waiting to take a big bounce higher. The reasoning we are of this opinion is market-by-market the railroads are shutting down their ramps for new contractual business because of concerns on the ability to handle additional volume. This action is telegraphing scarcity of capacity to a level that has not been communicated at any other point in recent history.
DAT reported a 0.4% increase per mile this week with the current national dry van spot rate of $2.30 a mile. The dry van average spot rate is 28% higher than last year.
Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported North American weekly intermodal volume was up 4.9% compared to the same week in 2017, while cumulative year-over-year volume is 5.4%
TOFC growth continues to outpace container growth with 16.1% year-over-year growth versus 4.6% COFC growth, which is another indicator that there is not enough containers to meet demand.
Diesel Fuel Comments:
The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.244 per gallon this week, which is a $0.022 decrease.
The diesel price per gallon is up $0.755 or 30.3% higher from the same period last year.
Oil prices are holding relatively steady from last week with WTI and Brent trading today in the range of $65.75 and $73.10, respectively. Important OPEC meetings have been taking place this week, with the expectation that both OPEC and non-OPEC will announce production increases that will drive oil prices lower and shrink the spread between WTI and Brent prices.
The EIA for diesel and oil prices increased its projection of the diesel fuel average for the year to be $3.12 in calendar year 2018.
The full spreadsheet of the historical weekly price moves of diesel full can be found at https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/.
Graphs listed below include:
- 53' Domestic Intermodal Price Index & Diesel Fuel Prices
- Variance to January 1, 2013 Baseline
- Rolling 52 Year-over-Year Comparison - 53' Domestic Intermodal and Diesel Fuel Prices
- Rolling 52 Year-over-Year % Change - 53' Domestic Intermodal and Diesel Fuel Prices
- 53' Domestic Intermodal and Diesel Prices Quarter-Over-Quarter Comparison
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