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Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis Blog Feature {% if subscribeProperty|lower == "yes" %} {% else %} {% endif %}
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on February 18th, 2020

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Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis

Truckload | Intermodal Transportation

Weekly discussion and analysis on the trends in the intermodal spot rate market.

intermodal transportationThe InTek intermodal spot rate index decreased 0.4% from the prior week.  

For the week of February 18, 2020, domestic intermodal spot rate index:

  • Down 0.4% from prior week.
  • Down 1.8% from 90 days ago.
  • Down 16.1% from prior year.

Lane Stats: 6.0% increased, 69.8% decreased and 24.2% went unchanged. 

The intermodal spot rate index continues to reflect the bottoming in prices has yet to be achieved. 

The reasoning in the above statement is a bottom will show itself when rates are rising on a week-over-week basis, while at the same time the year-over-year pricing holds in a positive status for an extended period of time.  The combination of the two have yet to hit the charts.

Intermodal Volume

North American intermodal volumes continue to be weak against prior year, but last week's improvement certainly help make up ground lost in earlier weeks. 

YTD 2020 volume is down 4.3% from prior YTD. 

Breaking the volume down by equipment, TOFC is down 21.8% and COFC is down 2.8%.

By region, volume is down 6.3% in the US, down 1.0% in Canada and up 16.9% in Mexico.

Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate 

intermodal truckThe national truckload spot rate increased 0.4% 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 4.4% and domestic 53' intermodal down 16.6%.

Falling intermodal spot rates will eventually bring modal conversion conversations back to the market, but with trucking capacity relatively loose shippers continue to favor their truckload strategy.

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: 

diesel fule priceThe EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $2.890 per gallon this week, which is down $0.020 per gallon from the prior week.

The diesel price per gallon is down $0.116 or 3.9% from the same period last year.

WTI and Brent crude oil pricing is up roughly $1.50 compared to last week with WTI and Brent trading in the range of $53.75 and $59.50, respectively.  

Production continues to outpace demand.  OPEC decided further production cuts were prudent to put an artificial constraint on supply to steady prices.  

The EIA's February 2020 diesel price average price projection is $2.94 per gallon for calendar year, which is down $0.17 from last month's forecast.

EIA's most recent projection for oil took a big dip from January's projection:

  • WTI - $ 55.71
  • Brent - $61.25

The full spreadsheet of the historical weekly price moves of diesel full can be found at https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

complete guide to intermodal transportation service

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  

Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-21

Intemodal Spot Rate Index Baseline-22

Yr-Over-Yr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-23

Yr-Over-Yr Percentage Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-21

Qtr-Over-Qtr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-21

For more on 53' domestic intermodaltruckload , cross-border 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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