DAT Solutions: Flatbed Volume Rises 4 percent

Special to Land Line | Wednesday, March 16, 2016

There are two seasons in some parts of the country: winter and road construction season.

The transition to warmer days has brought an increase in flatbed freight on the spot market, according to DAT Solutions, which operates the OOIDA MembersEdge load board.

Flatbed freight volume rose 4 percent and available capacity declined 5 percent during the week ending March 12. This pushed the load-to-truck ratio up 9 percent to 16.1, which means there were 16.1 flatbed loads for every flatbed truck posted on DAT load boards. Let’s take a closer look:

The Good
Flatbed volume is surging in the Sun Belt and rates are up as well. Outbound freight from Reno jumped 19 cents to $2.26 a mile, and Phoenix gained 18 cents to $1.75.

The flatbed market is especially strong in the Southeast, but not in the markets you would expect. For instance, flatbed load-to-truck ratios are soaring in Alabama and Arkansas. And rates are skyrocketing in Raleigh: After a down month, four major lanes out of Raleigh had double-digit increases last week. Jacksonville, Fla., rose 18 cents to $2.45.

In the Northeast, outbound loads from Harrisburg, Pa., saw a 31-cent gain to $2.96 on average. Flatbed rates rose 8 cents per mile outbound from Pittsburgh to $1.89.

The Bad
Recent steel plant shutdowns have hurt prices on popular lanes in the Midwest. The average rate out of Rock Island, Ill., was down 26 cents to $2.13 a mile, and Cleveland outbound dropped 2 cents to $1.99.

The Takeaway
The flatbed market is still developing. While the national average flatbed rate fell 1 cent to $1.82 per mile, rates rose on 44 of the top 72 flatbed lanes. With rates and demand firming up lane-by-lane, look for the latest load availability and rate information at OOIDA’s MyMembersEdge.com. And tune in to LandLine Now, where Terry Scruton talks with DAT’s Mark Montague for more details on spot truckload rates.

(Editor’s note: The analysis above is provided to Land Line as a reader service from DAT Solutions. Rates and trends reported are reflected in the DAT Solutions network of load boards.)

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