What data is available to track intermodal freight shipping rates

Adam RobinsonFreight Market Blog

intermodal freight shipping

Today’s shipping and transportation industry has changed in several ways, even over just the last few years. One of the most popular tools that drives the supply chain to new heights is the process of intermodal freight shipping. This is seen exceptionally well when looking at rail capacity and transportation rates for the modern supply chain. Data access and analysis continue to be essential to competitive operations within the process of monitoring rates and expenses in intermodal shipping lanes. Freight management parties need to know the vital data points that can help keep intermodal lanes moving smoothly and efficiently while also keeping shipping rates and costs under control.

Data access to see savings compared to truckload and other shipping methods

Data accuracy can and does impact freight transportation in a significant way. That’s why managers need access to real-time data and statistics. Knowing where current intermodal freight shipping rates stand and where the trends are heading gives a substantial competitive advantage over those only using truckload services. Predicting expenses accurately makes it easier to price loads and offer competitive yet profitable quotes properly. In addition, there’s a natural implication for improved ESG standing in your brand as well.

Identifying current inbound and outbound rail volume rates in the current market

Intermodal freight shipping and data access help managers get a clearer picture of current capacity and volume limits. Because availability and demand can impact freight rates and expenses, knowing the current volume trends can help shippers better plan for rates and fees. Adjusting rate quotes and budgeting guidelines to accommodate for volume changes represents a critical step for shippers. That also includes tracking weekly rail carload volume by commodity and North American country.

Tender rejection rates and statistics for rail and intermodal freight shipping

Other aspects of shipping and transportation that need careful monitoring are rejection rates and disruption regularity. It remains crucial to choose lanes within intermodal freight shipping as a fast and reliable mode of transportation, so tender rejection rates must be considered carefully to ensure total landed costs, including inbound and outbound summed tariff rates and fuel surcharges. Rail lane rejections and current rates must be considered when addressing intermodal routing guide adherence too.

Dwell time averages and disruption response time rates for shipping and tracking

Speed and accuracy remain critical for intermodal freight shipping and signify something consumers expect from shipping companies. By staying informed about dwell times, disruptions and delays, data-driven transportation lines can keep customers satisfied while also keeping expenses low. Even when things go wrong, fast and professional responses help speed reactions to freight market trends. In the context of rail transportation, that means knowing where carloads originated, terminated and the overall train speed, affecting dwell time rates for areas within a set distance to or from a given rail ramp.

Predicted inbound and outbound fuel and maintenance budgeting needs

More than just lane choice and disruption planning get easier with predictive planning. Budgeting for essential costs such as fuel and vehicle maintenance becomes much easier with real-time data on hand. Fuel and maintenance costs affect rail too, so any plan for intermodal freight shipping lanes to stay profitable and to maintain a competitive edge over other suppliers and shippers must consider those as well. And as noted by World Finance, the major railroads know that fuel efficiency rates are so competitive within intermodal shipping that they can effectively lower fuel costs up to 90% for long-hauls. 

However, that comes with the caveat that companies need to realize not all locations are accessible by rail. And if the ramp is too far, it may be a better move to account for and plan a long-haul trucking route. Regardless, it’s all up to the needs of each shipper, the available time for shipping and their overall budget.

Networking and collaborative power for ideal intermodal freight shipping

Data and analysis within the modern supply chain are strengthened by third-party networking and partnerships. Intermodal freight shipping providers can benefit greatly from this sort of collaboration and networking agreement. Finding the right vendor or third party to partner with is a critical step in the difference between success and failure. A partnership that utilizes technology and automation represents the best option available and pays dividends in the long run. Request a FreightWaves SONAR demo by clicking the button below to see all the above data and more in action.