Storms and Rising Fuel Costs Put Pressure on Flatbed Rates

Posted: 13 Sep, 2017 by Matt Sullivan

Categories: Rate Trend of the Week

Tags: BrokerCarrierOwner-Operator

Flatbed rates haven’t moved much in the past month, but that could change in the coming weeks. Emergency supplies are usually delivered in dry vans or reefers at first, but once rebuilding efforts are underway, construction materials will start moving on flatbeds.

Spot market capacity had already tightened in the weeks between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. As you can tell in the Hot States Map below, demand for flatbeds was high across the Southeast. Rates rose across the region, with shippers moving freight out of the way of the coming storm. Rising diesel costs added extra pressure and pushed prices higher.


DAT employees are donating to American Red Cross to help support those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and DAT Solutions is matching those contributions. To learn more about how you can help, visit the Red Cross website. Transportation and logistics professionals are urged to contact the American Logistics Aid Network, if you can help provide trucks, trailers, or warehouse space.


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


While rates may not have changed drastically in the past month, one thing that’s stood out is the use of Baltimore as an alternative port for the Southeast:

  • The lane from Roanoke to Baltimore averaged of $3.41 per mile last week, which could be tied to materials moving for export
  • Baltimore to Charlotte added 36¢ at $1.89 per mile

Some other flatbed lanes that have trended up: 

  • Pittsburgh to Grand Rapids averaged $3.07 per mile
  • Harrisburg to Buffalo hit $3.44 per mile
  • The Rock Island, IL, flatbed market has had rising rates and volumes, and the lane to Grand Rapids averaged $3.35 per mile
  • Atlanta to Nashville also crossed the $3 mark, at $3.03 per mile 


Some lanes in Texas moved back to more normal prices after rates spiked from Hurricane Harvey. 

  • Houston to New Orleans tumbled, but still averaged $2.49 per mile
  • Volumes have bounced back in Fort Worth, but the lane to Houston dropped to $2.27 per mile – still 12-15% higher than normal 

Hurricane Harvey might have also disrupted the flow of building supplies into the West. Construction materials often move out of Las Vegas and Reno, and it’s a little early in the season for those markets to weaken as much as they have. Nevada is still dark in the Hot States Map above, though, and rates could rebound once as volumes rise along the Gulf Coast.

  • The lane from Las Vegas to Phoenix lost 57¢ at $2.57 per mile
  • Las Vegas to Salt Lake City also tumbled 62¢ at $1.73 per mile
  • Reno to Seattle was down 40¢ for an average of $2.27 per mile


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

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DAT operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. Transportation brokers, carriers, news organizations and industry analysts rely on DAT for market trends and data insights derived from 179 million freight matches in 2017, and a database of $45 billion of market transactions.

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