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Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on March 24th, 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 increased 0.8% from the prior week.  

For the week of March 24, 2020, domestic intermodal spot rate index:

  • Up 0.8% from prior week.
  • Down 2.7% from 90 days ago.
  • Down 9.2% from prior year.

Lane Stats: 31.9% increased, 47.4% decreased and 20.7% went unchanged. 

Intermodal Volume

North American intermodal volumes continue to be weak against prior year.

YTD 2020 volume is down 7.0% from prior YTD. 

Breaking the volume down by equipment, TOFC is down 23.3% and COFC is down 5.7%.

By region, volume is down 8.1% in the US, down 6.0% in Canada and up 7.0% in Mexico.

Volume increases in the near term seem more of a hope, as catalysts for potential increases are not in the foreseeable future.

Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate 

intermodal truckThe national truckload spot rate increased 5.4% 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 up 6.6% and domestic 53' intermodal down 9.9%.

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 $2.659 per gallon this week, which is down $0.074 per gallon from the prior week.

The diesel price per gallon is down $0.421 or 13.7% from the same period last year.

After oil prices dropping roughly $27.50 a barrel over the last three weeks, WTI and Brent crude oil pricing is trading down another $3.00 this week with WTI and Brent trading in the range of $23.75 and $27.45, respectively.    

The coronavirus has put the brakes on global growth causing production to outpace demand.  OPEC's attempt to cut production further was not supported by Russia, which laid the groundwork for even further reductions in oil pricing in the weeks ahead.

The EIA's March 2020 diesel price average price projection is $2.73 per gallon for calendar year.

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

  • WTI - $38.19
  • Brent - $43.30

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-25

Intemodal Spot Rate Index Baseline-26

Yr-Over-Yr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-27

Yr-Over-Yr Percentage Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-25

Qtr-Over-Qtr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-25

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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