In last week’s Passport intermodal weekly, we discussed the very visible impact that the snowstorm in the central states was having on our intermodal data. This week, we discuss how we are seeing recovery in some of those intermodal datasets while others indicate that capacity and service levels remain challenged.
The intermodal volume data contained in SONAR show that daily volumes are midway through a recovery from last week’s snowstorm. Using a seven-day moving average, domestic loaded container volume is down 16.5% y/y, after having been down as much as 30.5% y/y last week. Meanwhile, loaded international intermodal volume, also using a daily seven-day moving average, is down 9.8% y/y after having been down as much as 14.7% y/y last week. Domestic intermodal volume was impacted more by the storm because Chicago and Dallas have far more intermodal outbound domestic loads than outbound international loads.
Domestic door-to-door intermodal spot rates were higher in the past week in 19 of the 20 densest lanes, mostly on top of rate increases the prior week. In many of the densest lanes, intermodal spot rates are up 60% in the past two weeks. Those rates, combined with still-challenged service levels, may push more domestic freight to the highway.
Intermodal tender rejections also remain elevated, which is indicative of constrained networks. Lanes outbound from Chicago and Joliet, Illinois, have intermodal tender rejection rates of 7.5% and 10.5%, respectively.
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