Flatbed report: Overdimensional farm machinery sales continue to improve

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Sales of farm tractors and combine harvesters continue to track closely with the 5-year average, even though last month’s volume was almost 6% lower than in September 2022. In contrast, heavy-duty four-wheel drive (4WD) crop tractor sales continued to improve, recording a 12.6% y/y and 36% year-to-date (YTD) increase. 

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In Canada, tractor sales finished in positive territory in October, up 4.6%, with additional growth in the mid-range and high horsepower 2WD segments. Combines were down for the month, however, falling 16.1%.

Market watch

All rates cited below exclude fuel surcharges unless otherwise noted.

After dropping for the last three weeks, outbound flatbed spot rates in Houston increased by $0.01/mile last week to an average of $1.90/mile. Texas state average rates are $0.06/mile lower than in 2018. Houston to Lubbock loads paid carriers an average of $2.18/mile, the lowest in 12 months and almost $0.60/mile lower than last year. Houston to Laredo loads are 8% lower than last year, with spot rates at $1.69/mile – also the lowest in a year. 

In Oregon, flatbed linehaul rates increased by $0.22/mile to $2.95/mile last week, with gains reported in the Portland market where outbound rates averaged $2.67/mile. Portland to Denver loads were the highest in 12 months, averaging $2.58/mile last week. 

Load-to-Truck Ratio (LTR)

The volume of flatbed load posts (LP) more than doubled last week but remained 35% lower than last year and around half the weekly volume reported in 2019. Carrier equipment posts (EP) increased by 26% w/w, resulting in last week’s flatbed load-to-truck ratio (LTR) increasing to 7.73. 

Spot Rates

At $1.91/mile, flatbed linehaul rates are the highest in two months following last week’s $0.04/mile increase. Flatbed linehaul rates are $0.14/mile lower than last year and $0.06/mile higher than in 2019. Compared to the pre-pandemic average for Week 45, last week’s national average was $0.06/mile lower and $0.29/mile lower than in 2018.

Weekly reports

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