Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis - Sept 24, 2019 Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on September 25th, 2019

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Intermodal Spot Rate Pricing Trendline Analysis - Sept 24, 2019

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

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

Intermodal pricingThe InTek intermodal spot rate index decreased 0.1% over the prior week.  

For the week of September 24, 2019, domestic intermodal spot rate index:

  • Down 0.1% from prior week.
  • Down 5.2% from 90 days ago.
  • Down 31.5% from prior year.

Lane Stats: 40.5% increased, 17.2% decreased and 42.3% went unchanged. 

There are no particular themes in the data, although it is interesting spot rate decreases continue to come from the outbound SoCal market at a time of the year when SoCal is in "peak season". 

JB Hunt has put a "peak surcharge" on for its customers, while the Class I Railroad based IMC's are in a "wait and see mode", illustrating a difference in bi-modals and non-asset IMC's.  

So, for those intermodal shippers utilizing JBH now would be a good time to see what other IMC's could offer your logistics team, in terms of price and capacity.

Intermodal Volume

North American intermodal volume remains weak, as compared to prior YTD, with volume down 2.9% from prior YTD.

Breaking the volume down by equipment, TOFC is down 13.0% and COFC is down 2.0%.

By region, volume is down 4.0% in the US, up 1.7% in Canada and down 3.3% in Mexico.

Comparison of Truckload to Intermodal Spot Rate 

intermodal truckThe national truckload spot rate increased 1.4% 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 15.2% and domestic 53' intermodal down 26.0%.

Keep in mind that the truckload spot rate last year had backed off its surge well in advance of intermodal, so it is only natural that intermodal year-over-year percentage decrease is greater than truckload.

Diesel Fuel Comments: 

diesel fule priceThe EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.081 per gallon this week, which is up $0.094 from the prior week.

This is the second consecutive week of an increase following nine consecutive weeks of decline.

The diesel price per gallon is down $0.190 or 5.8% from the same period last year.

WTI and Brent crude oil pricing is pulling back from last week's highs, with WTI and Brent closing $55.75 and $61.40, respectively.  

As was expected, oil prices have backed off from last week, as the impact of the Saudi fields are less impactful than originally expected and the Saudi's gradually bring their production back online. 

The backdrop of slowing consumption brought on by a slowing global economy that is the result of the USA and China trade tensions certainly has helped bring the oil prices back down again.

The EIA's September 2019 diesel price average price projection is $3.05 per gallon for calendar year.  This is a $0.02 decrease 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 August's report.  The latest projections are below:

  • WTI $56.31
  • Brent $63.39

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

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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-3

Intemodal Spot Rate Index Baseline-3

Yr-Over-Yr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-5

Yr-Over-Yr Percentage Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-3

Qtr-Over-Qtr Comparison Intermodal Spot Rate vs Diesel Prices-3

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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