Truck drivers either love or hate Flatbed freight, mostly because of all the tarping that comes with it. A lot of drivers are drawn to Flatbeds for their higher rates compared to Dry Van and sometimes even Reefer loads.
Usually, Flatbed freight requires a few months of training if you’ve never done it before because the loads on Flatbed can be a serious danger on the road if not handled correctly.
Even though Dry Van loads can be of a much higher value, flatbed rates are always higher due to the higher skill needed to deliver them.
Flatbed freight volume across the US
When compared to the same month last year, Flatbed freight volume went down by 43%, while rates went down for all three types of trailers by around 12%.
The biggest volumes currently are in:
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The lowest volumes are in:
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
Advantages of Flatbed freight
While the clear advantage of Flatbed is better rates when compared to Dry Van freight, it also has an advantage over Reefer freight as well.
Usually, Reefer freight and Flatbed freight rates are quite similar, but with flatbed loads, you don’t have to worry about the temperature and settings of the Reefer unit.
Flatbed freight is usually comprised of crude and heavy material, and other non-sensitive freight.
Once the load is tarped and strapped, the driver doesn’t have to worry about it too much.
One more important advantage is loads of building materials that usually need to be delivered across a lot of miles.
So at the same time, you score a lot of miles with a single load and get a better rate on average when compared to Dry Van freight.
The best lanes and rates for Flatbed freight
The best lanes for Flatbed freight this year were in and out of Midwest constantly.
Even now, at the years’ end, Midwest is still the best place for Flatbed loads.
As for the rates, the highest rates recorded for 2019 were $2.36, and the lowest $2.11 as the national averages.
Market researches and trucking industry experts say that all rates should go up in 2020, as soon as mid-January.
Giving the recent news that we should finally end the trade war with China and that we are close to a mutual deal agreement, rates have already got a small jump.
If the agreement happens by the end of the year, or at the beginning of 2020, we can expect a bigger jump in rates, as the inbound freight volume goes up from China.
Across the entire year, volumes and rates had small ups and downs, and even if they were lower on average when compared to last year, they kept a steady pace.
Hopefully, 2020 will be a year of much better rates and volumes, and all data and analysis show that they, in fact, will be.