Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis - Dec 18 2018 Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on December 18th, 2018

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Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis - Dec 18 2018

Intermodal | diesel fuel price | truckload | intermodal spot rate index trendlines | intermodal spot rates

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

The InTek intermodal spot rate index decreased 1.7% over prior week. 

For the week of December 18, 2018, domestic intermodal spot rate index:

  • Down 1.7% from prior week
  • Down 3.7% from 90 days ago.
  • Up 23.8% from prior year.
blended truck and rail


Lane Stats: 14.0% increased, 70.2% decreased and 15.8% went unchanged.   

With 70.2% of the lanes tracked within the index decreasing would indicate, the underlying intermodal spot market continues to show more weakness in the details than the overall decrease of 1.7% indicates.  The reason for this is there are some highly volatile intermodal spot prices being generated week-to-week that is some key lanes that is holding the index rate up. 

With that in mind, we're expecting the weakness to show its true colors once volatility takes the backseat to "normalized" volumes typically seen between now and the end of January.  

Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate 

The national truckload spot rate, as reported by DAT, decreased $0.06 a mile this week.  DAT reported the national truckload spot rate was $2.08 a mile.   Truckload spot rates are up 0.5% from prior year.   

The percentage spread between the year-over-year truckload and intermodal cost per mile increased this week coming in at a 15.0-point spread.  Even though the spread increased this week, we expect to see it to tighten in the 1st quarter of 2019.

Diesel Fuel Comments: 

The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.121 per gallon this week, which is a $0.040 decrease over prior week.  This is the ninth consecutive week of a decrease.

The diesel price per gallon is up $0.220 or 7.6% higher from the same period last year.    

Oil prices per barrel has dropped over $5.00 from the prior week, with WTI and Brent closing at $45.79 and $55.94 today, respectively.  This decrease pushes oil to a 15-month low.

The story is not changing ... slowing world economies, building oil inventory, trade & tariff concerns and stronger dollar. 

The EIA's most current diesel price projection for diesel is $3.17 a gallon for calendar year 2018 and $2.95 a gallon for 2019.  The 2019 forecast was significantly decreased in its latest projection, which indicates the diesel price market will continue to soften. 

The EIA is projecting WTI and Brent oil prices per barrel for 2018 to settle in at the average of $65.18 and 71.40, respectively.  The price per barrel projections for 2019 for WTI and Brent are $54.19 and $61.00, respectively.

The full spreadsheet of the historical weekly price moves of diesel full can be found at

Graphs listed below include:

  • 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 and Diesel Fuel 12.18


Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Baseline 12.18

Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Yr-over-Yr Comparison 12.18

Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Yr-over-Yr Percentage 12.18

Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Qtr-over-Qtr Comparison 12.18




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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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