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

Continuing on with last month’s trend, spot rates in our key markets in October stayed stable month-over-month. This now marks three months in a row where spot rates remain relatively consistent without major fluctuations, signaling some overall stability in intermodal after some volume, capacity & equipment issues industrywide earlier in the year.

Just how stable are average rates these days? Since August, percent changes in rates month-over-month have not left the single digits. Comparatively, we were seeing monthly rate changes surpass 20% in July in some markets.

After hitting year highs just last month, spot rates in Chicago and Los Angeles decreased slightly, but are still far above what they were a few months ago. Compared to the lowest numbers we saw in April, spot rates are up 26% in Chicago and 48% in Los Angeles. In Atlanta, rates are on a slow climb back toward matching the year high we saw in July, but are still 30% higher than the lowest point in June.

Even though there were some slight decreases in average spot rates, overall rates are at some of the highest levels of 2020. As we get further into peak season, capacity is expected to tighten, meaning that these averages will most likely all rise even higher. This was also the trend in 2019 for freight moving on the DrayNow platform, so the expectation is there. Besides Atlanta, rates are already higher in our key markets compared to 2019.

As we continue seeing less fluctuation in rates and increases in volume (October 2020 was the best ever month for intermodal volume), the focus is less on a rebound for intermodal, and more on stability. When it comes to volatility, are we completely out of the woods? Time will tell, but signs are pointing to a somewhat typical holiday season.

To see our full analysis of the Intermodal industry ahead of the holiday season, click here!

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