Flatbed carriers didn't hear a lot of good news in the second half of 2018. After the spikes we saw early in the year, prices started a slow and steady decline that lasted for months. That changed in December, as prices reversed course at a time when business is usually slow for flatbed carriers. And the price increase took hold even as lower diesel prices chip away at fuel surcharges.
Meantime, it also looks like slowness in the oil fields may have bottomed out. The oil and gas industry contributes to flatbed demand in a big way, so the slump there was keeping flatbed rates in check.
DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital freight marketplace in the trucking industry, with more than 279 million loads and trucks posted annually, plus insights into current spot market and contract rates based on $57 billion in real transactions.
Savannah, GA, had a strong December, with flatbed rates up 11%. Raleigh and Las Vegas made gains in the past week, while volumes have been above par for the month in Memphis and Houston.
All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.
- Birmingham to Chicago surged to $2.36/mile on average last week, but that increase might be short-lived because there were not a lot of loads moving on that lane
- Tampa also enjoyed strong numbers in December, and the lane to Atlanta was up to $2.03/mile
Seasonally, we expect cold weather to lead to lower flatbed rates and volumes, and that was true for Baltimore last week. Same for Harrisburg, PA, where volumes are down sharply compared to the summer months.
- Memphis to St. Louis fell to $3.48/mile – that is still a solid rate, but it represents a 75¢ drop
- Roanoke, VA, to Cleveland lost 54¢ over the past month and averaged $2.11/mile last week