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

With the exception of the Chicago market, spot rates in our key markets on the DrayNow marketplace saw relative stability for the month of July. The Atlanta market saw yet another record set, LA rates decreased slightly from last month’s record and Chicago went through its sharpest drop in rates within the past year.

For the sixth consecutive month, Atlanta has broken its own record and reached a new level for spot rates, this time rising 3% month-over-month. In comparison to the same time last year, July 2021 spot rates in Atlanta are 76% higher. After last July, rates in Atlanta dropped and took a few months to get back up, so it will be very interesting to see what this August will bring.

After hitting a record high last month, rates in the LA market dropped just 1% in July. Because of the heights that LA spot rates have reached, this is still the second highest point recorded in the past year. Compared to July 2020, rates are up 40%.

The biggest surprise of the month comes from Chicago, where rates fell 12% month-over-month. In the last several months, while markets like Atlanta and Chicago see a positive trajectory, Chicago has had a lot of volatility, with no clear expectation on what the next the month may bring. However, compared to July of last year, rates in Chicago are still up 21%.

Taking a closer look at the differences between July 2020 and July 2021, it’s clear that some of the trends have changed. While in the previous period Los Angeles had the highest rates, followed by Chicago and then Atlanta trailing behind, the Atlanta market has now completely eclipsed Chicago. On top of this, the gap between LA and Chicago is also widening, with July seeing a 44% difference between the recorded spot rates of these two markets.

Q2 intermodal numbers are in, and the volumes during this period were up 20.4% year-over-year. As more intermodal freight needs capacity, spot rates will increase, as shown in the overall rise in spot rates during this same period on the DrayNow platform. Volumes are also predicted to grow throughout the rest of the year, so we expect spot rates to do the same.

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