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For a look at last month’s data dive on intermodal spot rates, click the link here.

Right in the midst of the holiday season, it’s no surprise that the month of December saw spot rates increase in all our key markets. Average intermodal freight spot rates across the DrayNow platform ended the year strong, with the Chicago market even hitting a year high.

The Chicago market ended the year with a 10% increase month-over-month, bringing average rates to a year high. Chicago has been the least volatile market this year while showing an overall positive rise in spot rates. When comparing December 2020 with this month, intermodal spot rates in Chicago are up 56%.

Following many months of declining rates, Los Angeles has finally seen an increase in average spot rates. An 11% increase in rates is significant to the LA market since average rates decreased 16% in the months after hitting their peak in August. Compared to this same time in 2020, average freight rates are now 12% higher.

Atlanta continues to see consistent increases in average spot rates month-over-month, this time rising 7%. The market closed the year out at the second highest peak for rates, the highest recorded rate being the average for July. Atlanta also has the greatest growth trajectory over the past 12 months, with rates up an overall 69% compared to December 2020.

In the last spot rate update, we discussed how rates in our markets were closing the gap with one another. For December, the gap widened and there is now a 33% difference between the lowest and highest of average rates. Since all markets were up, this was not due to any decreases in spot rates, rather differences in positive trends.

Spot rates are reaching new heights every year across the industry and with the supply chain still in crisis combined with diesel prices at high levels, they will most likely continue rising. The big question going into the new year is: how high can they possibly go?

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