Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis
Weekly discussion and analysis on the trends in the intermodal spot rate market.
Week of January 14, 2020:
The InTek intermodal spot rate index remained relatively flat over the prior week.
For the week of January 14, 2020, domestic intermodal spot rate index:
- Down 0.2% from prior week.
- Down 3.8% from 90 days ago.
- Down 16.4% from prior year.
Lane Stats: 40.5% increased, 21.6% decreased and 37.9% went unchanged.
The intermodal spot rate comps will improve over the 1st quarter because of the dramatic decrease in rates that occurred over 2019 after coming off historic highs in the prior year.
North American intermodal volumes continue to be weak against prior year, but keep in mind this is only week two of the data this year, so plenty more to come before drawing a conclusion.
YTD 2020 volume is down 6.8% from prior YTD.
Breaking the volume down by equipment, TOFC is down 23.9% and COFC is down 5.4%.
By region, volume is down 8.4% in the US, down 0.5% in Canada and down 6.8% in Mexico.
Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate
The national truckload spot rate decreased 0.6% 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 7.1% and domestic 53' intermodal down 16.7%.
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:
The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.064 per gallon this week, which is flat from the prior week.
The diesel price per gallon is up $0.088 or 3.0% from the same period last year.
WTI and Brent crude oil pricing is down roughly $1.75 compared to last week with WTI and Brent trading in the range of $58.25 and $64.45, respectively.
The EIA's January 2020 diesel price average price projection is $3.11 per gallon for calendar year, which is up $0.02 from last month's forecast.EIA's most recent projection for oil took a big jump from December's projection:
- WTI - $ 59.25
- Brent - $64.83
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