Intermodal is still less expensive than on-road trucking, but the savings have been less over the last five years.
The Journal of Commerce’s (JOC) US Domestic Intermodal Savings Index shows an average shipper cut costs only 3 percent on a spot intermodal transaction between July 2018 and June 2019. Intermodal spot rates spiked last fall, causing the index to fall below 100. The 100 score is the base level, meaning truckload rates are the same as rail. The index spot rating hit 95 last September, indicating that trucking was 5 percent cheaper than intermodal. Over the last 12 months the spot rating is 103, representing a 3 percent savings in rail’s favor.
The Spot Market Intermodal Savings Index averaged 106.7 (6.7 percent savings) from January to June 2019. A year ago it was 109.8. The annual spot rating has decreased since 2015, when it was 120.1, to 104.6 in 2018.
JOC research shows trucks have become very competitive when dealing with shipments between 800-1,200 miles. Back in January 2016, the rate was 109.6, but now the number stands at 92.7.
The access JOC’s complete US Domestic Intermodal Savings Index report, click here.
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