Intermodal Spot Rates at Record Levels - March 12, 2018 Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on March 15th, 2018

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Intermodal Spot Rates at Record Levels - March 12, 2018

Intermodal | diesel fuel price | truckload

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Domestic intermodal spot rates are:

  • Up 0.6% from last week.
  • Up 6.6% from 90 days ago.
  • Up 41.1% from prior year.

Domestic intermodal spot rates hit record levels.  At the same time, truckload spot rates have remained steady at $2.14 a mile for the third consecutive week.  It is our opinion, the 53' spot market is establishing a bottom where rates will bounce to higher levels with quarter end, spring shipping season and full ELD implementation coming together over the months of March and April.

With the expected capacity tightening further, shippers should be communicating and making plans with their carrier base on expected demand from their facilities.  While this will not guarantee capacity, it will open up communications on possible solutions to improve capacity needs to assist in reducing the need to lean on the spot market.

While we frequently pump modal conversion into our blogs, our recommendation for shippers at this time is to keep feet in both 53' markets, truckload and intermodal, to diversify capacity and risk to the business. If you are shipper that utilizes 100% truckload, then quickly engage in conversations with companies that have the ability to tap directly into the Class I railroad intermodal capacity. If you are 100% intermodal, then find some truckload solutions to help back fill expected shortfalls in capacity.

Diesel Fuel Comments: 

The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $2.976 per gallon this week, which is a $0.016 decrease from the prior week and fifth consecutive week the diesel price has experienced a decrease. 

The price per gallon is up $0.412 or 16.1% higher from the same period last year.    

Oil remains above $60 a barrel with WTI and Brent trading in the range of $61.30 and $65.17, respectively.  

The most recent projection by the EIA for diesel and oil prices reported prices will average $2.90 in calendar year 2018.  The expectation is supply will outpace demand, particularly in the back half of 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
  • Price Changes in 53' Domestic Intermodal Pricing & Diesel - 1/1/2013 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
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Intermodal & Diesel Yr-over-Yr Comparison-43.png

Intermodal & Diesel Price Yr-over-Yr  Change-32.png

Intermodal & Diesel Qtr-over-Qtr Comparison-40.png

For more on 53' domestic intermodaltruckload and managed transportation services, please sign-up for our weekly blogs and visit the InTek Freight and Logistics website.

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About Rick LaGore

Rick is the co-founder and CEO of InTek Freight & Logistics, a company focused on being the place where companies come when faced with a logistics problem.

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