Intermodal volume took a step back in the past week. AAR data shows that for the week ending last Saturday, U.S. intermodal container originations only increased 6.4% y/y, which is below the recent trend of double-digit increases, and was also a 7.2% sequential decline from the week earlier. We believe that it is too early to call that a trend given the severe weather in the Northeast and Midwest.
SONAR data shows that intermodal volume continued to decelerate past the date of the most recent AAR report. For the past seven days through Tuesday, international intermodal volume was up 5.2% y/y, while domestic intermodal volume was up 2.2% y/y.
Average door-to-door domestic intermodal spot rates, weighted by lane density, increased by just a penny to $1.86/mile from a week earlier, but there were significant changes by lane. In particular, the Class I railroads increased domestic intermodal spot rates in the eastbound lanes from Los Angeles and again seem to be pricing themselves out of the spot market from LA to Dallas.
Intermodal tender rejections remain elevated and exceed 12% in lanes outbound from LA, Ontario, California, and Joliet, Illinois.
In the past two weeks, SONAR added two data series for intermodal contract rates for the first time, both on national levels. See the descriptions on page 4.
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