For flatbed carriers and even dry van carriers involved in hauling home furnishings, the housing market has been a star performer in the economic recovery, but the relentless COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the supply of labor at construction sites. The NAHB also reported that there has been “a dip in confidence among single-family homebuilders in January.” Builders complained about “supply-side constraints related to lumber and other material costs, a lack of affordable lots and labor shortages that delay delivery times and put upward pressure on home prices.”
Load posts for the top 10 flatbed markets decreased by 2% last week as shippers continued to take advantage of the above average temperatures, especially in the northeast, where the last snowfall was eight weeks ago.
Memphis was again the number one market for outbound load posts, increasing by just under 19% w/w, which drove up spot rates by $0.05/mile to $2.87/mile (excluding fuel). Little Rock, AR, recorded a 21% w/w decrease in volume, with available capacity loosening and rates dropping by $0.10/mile to $2.40/mile.
In the Rapid City, SD, market, volumes dropped by 15% w/w, with capacity easing and rates dropping to $1.99/mile on average. Prices were much higher on lanes to Omaha and Fort Worth, TX.
Omaha jumped into the top 10 last week following a 54% w/w increase in outbound load post volume, but there was plenty of capacity as rates dropped $0.29/mile on average to $1.95/mile. Rates on the Omaha-Detroit lane were paying $2.26/mile on average, with some loads as high as $2.66/mile. Capacity was much tighter for loads to the south to Fort Worth, with 3-day averages at $2.43/mile and as high as $3.23/mile for some loads.
Flatbed spot rates shifted down slightly last week, decreasing by just $0.01/mile ending the week at $2.19/mile excluding FSC. They continue to plateau around this level and have been trading in the $2.17/mile to $2.22/mile band since early October.
Compared to the same week in 2020, flatbed rates were $0.40/mile higher last week.