FreightWaves SONAR adds Intermodal Savings Versus Truckload (IMCS) tickers


The intermodal contract saving indices (IMCSI) show the percent savings of shipping via intermodal versus dry van truckload contract rates. To ensure comparability across modes, the calculation only compares truckload and intermodal rates in identical origin-destination pairs. The IMCSI tickers are an aggregation of individual lanes.

On “This week in SONAR,” Craig Fuller, FreightWaves CEO, and Zach Strickland, FW Market Expert & Market Analyst discuss the release of Intermodal Savings Versus Truckload (IMCS) tickers, which shows the fluctuating difference in cost between shipping intermodal and dry van freight.

The SONAR chart above shows the initial and final reported savings values. The intermodal savings indices and their subsequent length of haul tickers are divided into initial and final values. The initial reports values after 14 days, while the final value is reported after 56 days.

These indices exclude very short length rail hauls (moves of less than 400 miles) because those would typically be sent by truckload. The rates are all-inclusive for a clear comparison since fuel is traditionally cheaper on the rail.

Initial versus Final report

The initial reading shows the quickest view of the information to make faster tactical decisions while sacrificing some of the completeness of the data—representing approximately 50% of the total reports. 

The final reading gives the most complete view of the savings with a larger sample size (>70% of the total reports) to use for validation and historical reporting.  

Length of haul variations

The intermodal contract savings indices are also offered in various lengths of haul in order to isolate the various differences between shorter and longer haul lanes at a more granular level. Price differences between longer mileage moves tend to be greater than shorter mileage moves with large differences between each mileage band. Greater variety affects pricing.  At this time, these indices are only available at the national level. 

  • Short – 400 to 800 miles
  • Medium – 800 to 1200 miles
  • Long – 1200+
  • Intermodal savings, initial, all lengths of haul IMCSI1.USA
  • Intermodal savings, final, all lengths of haul IMCSF.USA
  • Intermodal savings, initial, long hauls LIMCSI1.USA
  • Intermodal savings, final, long hauls LIMCSIF.USA
  • Intermodal savings, initial, medium hauls MIMCSI1.USA
  • Intermodal savings, final, medium hauls MIMCSIF.USA
  • Intermodal savings, initial, short hauls SIMCSI1.USA
  • Intermodal savings, final, short hauls SIMCSIF.USA

The length of haul variations can be viewed within LIMCSIF.USA, MIMCSIF.USA and SIMCSIF.USA respectively. 

For example, the graphic below further demonstrates the savings relationship at 56 days within the time of the movement down to 30.85% in long intermodal hauls of 1,200 or more miles. 

These latest tickers again reflect FreightWaves’ commitment to provide the latest data insights in SONAR – across all logistics concerns relating to OTR transport and other modes of transportation.

FreightWaves SONAR is the fastest and most comprehensive freight market data and analytics platform in the world. These are just a few of the 150,000+ unique indices available to SONAR subscribers. Not a FreightWaves SONAR user yet? Sign up for a free test drive here.