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

Coming off of February’s stability across the marketplace, March is showing a different picture. All markets on the DrayNow platform saw double digit percent changes, with both Chicago and Atlanta seeing jumps while Los Angeles dipping to levels seen last summer.

For the first time since May 2020, the Chicago market is seeing higher intermodal spot rates on the DrayNow platform than Los Angeles. From February to March, spot rates increased 25%, making this the largest jump in rates and percent change month-over-month that we’ve seen. Continued equipment shortages combined with a competitive market brought average rates in Chicago to its highest level in the past 12 months.

Another record was achieved in Atlanta, with spot rates increasing 17% to the highest point in a year. As the data above reflects, the Atlanta market typically does not see major fluctuations in rate changes, making the increase in March the greatest in months.

While Chicago and Atlanta saw record highs, the Los Angeles market saw an out of the ordinary decrease in rates, down 12%. It’s not unusual to see a decrease of this magnitude, but this one in particular brought rates down to levels not seen since the summer of 2020.

What’s important to note is that average spot rates across our key markets are much higher than they were last year, when the pandemic began to really take hold of the industry. This is an indicator that while the pandemic did have an effect on intermodal freight, nothing looks like it did last year as the recovery continues.

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