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

As intermodal peak season starts to take hold, spot rates across DrayNow markets are plateauing yet remain some of the highest we’ve seen this year. This trend reflects the 7.1% increase in intermodal volume year-over-year as shippers try to vie for capacity.

Just as we predicted in last month’s spot rate analysis, rates seem to be leveling off after major increases overall in the past few months from Chicago and Los Angeles. Based on 9 months of data now, Atlanta seems to have stayed at a relatively consistent level throughout the entire year.

Taking a look at spot rates during peak season last year, we’re definitely seeing a mostly positive change in this year. In 2020, spot rates in Chicago for September are up 21% from last year, up 28% in Los Angeles and down 15% in Atlanta. This could be attributed to volume increases across the industry from goods being restocked as people begin to venture out more. Just a few months ago, intermodal was seeing record lows in volume along with rates so it’s very interesting to see this rebound.

Looking at the trends for October to December of last year, spot rates steadily increased in all markets as peak season went through its full cycle. And with the exception of Atlanta, no monthly spot rate in 2019 was higher than what we’re seeing right now, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Spot rates are likely to go up during this season, but by how much?

Overall, it seems as if intermodal rates are recovering from major fluctuations over the past few months in tune with volumes steadily increasing. This is very important as it may signal a smooth peak season that is needed for the industry after so much uncertainty and record lows in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

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