Signs of Spring in Flatbed Markets

Flatbed trends have been mostly neutral overall so far in February. There are signs of spring, with higher volumes in many markets over the course of the past three weeks. That’s been offset by a slump in volumes out of Houston, though. The price for oil has gone from above $65 to below $60 per barrel, which could account for the decline in demand in that market.

Altogether, flatbed volumes have held steady following the uptick we saw at the end of January.

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


Big rate increases out of Rock Island, IL, suggest that farm equipment is on the move. John Deere, Olympic Steel, and other manufacturers have a strong footprint in that market.

  • Rock Island to Grand Rapids, MI, surged 98¢ to an average of $3.80/mile
  • Rock Island to Minneapolis rose 54¢ to $2.76/mile
  • Rock Island to Kansas City also shot up 61¢ to $3.22/mile

A couple Southeast markets also trended up for flatbed rates and volumes last week. Birmingham, AL, rates rose 6%, while Savannah, GA, prices rose 5%.


Volumes were off in Memphis, which pushed rates down 4%. Other big declines were in Phoenix and Fort Worth, TX, but both markets had rising volumes that could reverse pricing trends.

On a lane-by-lane basis, it looks like flatbed carriers took lower rates in some instances in order to avoid bad weather and move into high-volume markets.

  • Memphis to Houston nose-dived 54¢ to $2.74/mile after a surge in the week before
  • Reno, NV, to Los Angeles was down 39¢ to $2.24/mile
  • Phoenix to Dallas slipped 46¢ to $1.89/mile, about where it was in mid-January

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