Intermodal Spot Rates Continue their Climb Blog Feature
Rick LaGore

By: Rick LaGore on August 29th, 2018

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Intermodal Spot Rates Continue their Climb

Intermodal | diesel fuel price | truckload | intermodal spot rates

The intermodal spot rate index increased 3.4% over prior week.  Of the 115 lanes tracked in the weighted average index, 64.8% increased, 14.1% decreased and 21.1% went unchanged.  The increase was primarily driven from significant increases coming from outbound NorCal and Atlanta lanes.  SoCal outbound lanes dropped an average of 10.0%

intermodal train pic

For the week of August 20, 2018, domestic intermodal spot rates were:

  • Up 3.4% from prior week.
  • Up 16.3% from 90 days ago.
  • Up 49.0% from prior year.

Year-over-year North American intermodal volumes are up 5.3% in total, with COFC up 4.5% and TOFC up 15.9%.  TOFC strength speaks to the following:

  • The underlying strength in the market cannot be fulfilled by containers alone.
  • Trucking companies are shifting freight they can on rail to help take some pressure off their driver pool.
  • An indicator the new trailer market continues to run strong in 2018, as many trailer manufacturers put their new trailers on the railroads to deliver them into the market their customers require.

The national dry van spot rate, reported by DAT, a national average of $2.15 a mile.  This is a 0.5% decrease from the prior week and 29% higher over prior year. 

While the DAT continues to report declining spot rates, keep in mind truckload rates remain at all-time highs and this is a seasonal trend that will turn as we head into September..  

Diesel Fuel Comments: 

The EIA reported average diesel fuel price of $3.226 per gallon this week, which is a $0.019 decrease.

The diesel price per gallon is up $0.621 or 23.8% higher from the same period last year.    

Oil prices are up roughly $2.00 from last week, with WTI and Brent trading today in the range of $69.60 and $77.20, respectively.  The stories driving the increase over the prior week include: the strong dollar, Iranian sanctions, Venezuelan currency crisis, China trade conflict, along with other supply& demand dynamics.  

The EIA for diesel and oil prices current projection is diesel will average $3.15 a gallon for calendar year 2018.

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

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-7

 Baseline Analysis - Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel-7

 Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Yr-over-Yr Comparison-7

 Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Yr-over-Yr Percentage-7

 Intermodal Spot Rate and Diesel Fuel Qtr-over-Qtr Comparison-7

For more on 53' domestic intermodaltruckload 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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