The news flow this week has been dominated by the fallout from the severe weather conditions across the country, and the railroad industry is no exception. With snow and blackouts hitting Chicago and Dallas, two of the most important intermodal hub cities, carriers started suspending accepting intermodal loads on Monday evening.
As a result, daily SONAR data show that domestic intermodal volume has fallen 20% w/w while international intermodal volume has fallen 12% w/w. The daily seven-day moving-average of Dallas outbound domestic loaded intermodal container volume dropped by about 55%. Note that those figures are seven-day moving averages of the past week and will likely show even steeper declines in the coming days. We attribute the shallower decline in international intermodal to the railroads still accepting on-dock volume at the ports of LA and Long Beach.
Domestic door-to-door intermodal spot rates were higher in nearly all of the 20 densest lanes with rates between Chicago and Dallas, and in lanes westbound from Chicago, each up around 30% from the prior week.
Intermodal tender rejections remain elevated. Lanes outbound from LA and Ontario, California, as well as Chicago and Joliet, Illinois, are problem areas, with intermodal tender rejections exceeding 7%.
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