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FreightWaves adds rail cost data, air cargo lane data and average length of haul by equipment type!

FreightWaves regularly enhances and improves SONAR to meet the needs of the ever-changing freight market and the needs of our customers. To help keep SONAR users informed, we deliver a brief recap of newly released data sets, market indices, and product feature improvements in our What’s New in SONAR series.

Rail maintenance and operating costs 

A series of 28 indices on rail maintenance and operating costs have been added to SONAR this week. These indices were indexed at 100 in 1977, and consist of data provided from all Class I railroads and some shortline railroads. They can be used as a compliance tool, since this data is sent to the Surface Transportation Board to minimize any potential rate-based lawsuits, as well as a way to break down the costs charged to shippers to move freight by rail. Shippers can use this data to hold freight railroads accountable for the costs to move freight. The full list of indices can be found here.

One of the more common discrepancies regards the fuel surcharge. Too much deviation from the cost of diesel from the rack could lead to a lawsuit. By lagging the diesel rack price (ULSDR.USA) by two months and creating a three-month moving average, seen by the red line in the SONAR chart below, shows the tight relationship between it and the quarterly indexed cost of fuel (QRCFU.USA). Should those lines move further apart, where the fuel cost is significantly higher than the moving average of diesel rack prices, it would be grounds for a lawsuit by a shipper.


New air cargo granularities

Two months ago, FreightWaves added scheduled cargo capacity information for passenger wide-body and freighter flights to SONAR (OACT/IACT). This allows subscribers to gain greater insights into airport volume potential, with weekly tonnage and ton-kilometer capacity trends in and out of U.S. airports. This included the ability to look specifically at freighter capacity versus passenger wide-body capacity. 

This week we are enhancing the entire set of capacity metrics further with airport-to-airport lane level detail. Subscribers will be able to look at the overall airport and the individual route capacity trends in and out of that airport and compare that with others. 

The SONAR tickers are the same ones used today, as shown below in the bulleted list. The granularity for each adds the airport codes for origin and destination after the ticker name.


OACT.orgdst, org=airport origin, dst=airport destination

OACT.JFKFRA (outbound air cargo tons for New York JFK to Frankfurt)

OACTF.ATLAMS (outbound air cargo tons by freighter for Atlanta to Amsterdam)

  • OACT – Outbound Air Cargo Tons
  • IACT – Inbound Air Cargo Tons
  • OACTK – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers
  • IACTK – Inbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers
  • OACTP – Outbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • IACTP – Inbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • OACTF – Outbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Freighter Flight
  • IACTF – Inbound Air Cargo Tonnage – By Freighter Flight
  • OACTKP – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • IACTKP – Inbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Passenger Wide-Body Flight
  • OACTKF – Outbound Air Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Freighter Flight
  • IACTKF – InboundAir Cargo Ton – Kilometers by Freighter Flight

Average length of haul by equipment type

Source: SONAR 

The average length of haul index (ALOHA) has been expanded to include the various equipment types. The outbound and inbound ALOHA indices, which have been available in national and market level granularities can now be viewed for reefer and dry van loads. ALOHA is the average miles per load per given granularity. In the example above, reefer loads over the last seven days are averaging 1,194 miles, while dry van loads have been averaging 876 miles.

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

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