Flatbed Markets Adjust to Holidays, Regulations, and Weather

Flatbed rates saw a spike in the week before Christmas, but otherwise they’ve stayed pretty close to where they were before Thanksgiving. Not that flatbed rates have been low – they just haven’t continued to climb like van and reefer rates have over the past month. And like the reefer and dry van segments, flatbed capacity has tightened after the ELD mandate went into effect.

Flatbed freight out of Baltimore usually heads to the Northeast and Midwest, and the weather in those regions made those shipments more difficult. That pushed Baltimore rates up 10% higher last week as a result. Houston had the next-biggest increase at 3%. Southwest markets like Los Angeles and Phoenix were also strong in December.

All rates below include fuel surcharges and are based on real transactions between brokers and carriers.


A handful of lanes spiked last week, but many settled down post-Christmas:

  • The lane from Los Angeles to El Paso, TX, climbed 48¢ to $2.42/mile.
  • Las Vegas to Salt Lake City was up 28¢ to $2.71/mile
  • Over on the East Coast, the lane from Baltimore to Springfield, MA, surged 79¢ to $4.35/mile


Dallas and Memphis had the biggest drops for flatbed rates last week, and both were negative for the month of December. Rates were also weaker out of Atlanta and Tampa.

Tampa to Atlanta is one of the weakest flatbed lanes, and the rate was down another 7¢ to just $1.39/mile. That’s low, but it’s actually four cents higher than a year ago, mostly due to higher fuel prices.

A few other lanes had big drops, but each were still above the $3 mark:

  • Cleveland to Harrisburg, PA plunged 79¢ but still averaged $3.48/mile
  • Memphis to St. Louis tumbled 74¢ to $3.20/mile
  • Reno, NV, to Watsonville, CA, dropped 48¢, but the average rate was still at $3.20/mile

Find loads, trucks and lane-by-lane rate information in DAT load boards, including rates from DAT RateView.