Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis
Weekly discussion and analysis on the trends in the intermodal spot rate market.
Week of November 18, 2019:
The InTek intermodal spot rate index decreased 6.5% over the prior week.
For the week of November 11, 2019, domestic intermodal spot rate index:
- Flat 0.0% from prior week.
- Down 6.1% from 90 days ago.
- Down 30.9% from prior year.
Lane Stats: 16.4% increased, 16.4% decreased and 67.2% went unchanged.
Union Pacific lifted its peak season box charge last week, while JB Hunt continues with the accessorial billing for peak and running allocation programs with its shippers to limit the boxes that are allocated each week.
The change in direction by Union Pacific is a benefit for shippers looking to introduce the UNP service into their supply chain at a reduced price.
North American intermodal volume remains weak, as compared to prior YTD, with volume down 3.5% from prior YTD.
Each week continues to show weakness against the comparable week of the prior year, which is driving the YTD comparisons to tumble on each report.
Breaking the volume down by equipment, TOFC is down 14.9% and COFC is down 2.6%.
By region, volume is down 4.6% in the US, up 0.9% in Canada and down 2.6% in Mexico.
Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate
The national truckload spot rate increased 2.2% last week, as reported by the DAT Trendline Report.
The spread in the year-over-year national truckload average rate per mile and intermodal spot rates remain in favor of intermodal, with truckload spot rates down 13.5% and domestic 53' intermodal down 27.5%.
For a more detailed review of competitiveness of truckload versus intermodal, we direct people to The Journal of Commerce. This group publishes research every quarter entitled "US Intermodal Savings Index" that does a nice job comparing lane-to-lane spot rates that is worth the read for those interested in the intermodal and truckload freight market.
Diesel Fuel Comments:
The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.074 per gallon this week, which is up $0.001 from the prior week.
The diesel price per gallon is down $0.208 or 6.3% from the same period last year.
WTI and Brent crude oil pricing continues to hold steady, with WTI and Brent trading in the range of $57.25 and $62.75, respectively.
The backdrop of slowing consumption brought on by a weaken global economy that is the result of the USA and China trade tensions have put a lid to oil prices and kept pricing in a very tight range.
The EIA's November 2019 diesel price average price projection is $3.06 per gallon for calendar year. This is a $0.01 increase from August's forecast.
In the same report, the EIA's decreased its average price per barrel oil projections for 2019 from what it had in September's report. The latest projections are below:
- WTI $56.45
- Brent $63.59
The full spreadsheet of the historical weekly price moves of diesel full can be found at https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/.
Intermodal Spot Rate Trend Graphs
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