Flatbed booms as rates stay strong in April

| May 06, 2014

Flatbed rates soared again in April, likely due to a rebounding construction market that saw an increase in activity as weather warmed in the month and leading the way in April rate activity. 

The per-mile spot market rate for flatbed rose another 5 cents in the month to $2.25, according to data released this week by Internet Truckstop, setting an all-time high for the second straight month. Flatbed rates in April were 19 cents higher than the same month in 2013 and 14 cents higher than February 2012. 


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Rates in all three segments surged in both February and March, leading to record rates in both flatbed and dry van.

In April, however, reefer rates fell a penny and dry van rates fell more than a dime, but both still are strong, especially compared to recent years. 

Reefer rates in  April were $2.40, down a penny from March, but still up 28 cents from April 2013. Rates in the segment also are still in record territory, as March’s rates were the highest since last June — the month when reefer saw its all-time high.

Dry van rates in April fell 11 cents from March to $2.08. Despite the drop, dry van rates still posted their third-best all-time number. This is also the fifth consecutive month rates in the segment were above the $2 mark — a threshold it only bested for the first time in June 2012 and only topped three months in 2013, with one of them being December.

Rate increases are expected this year due to an uptick in freight and tightened capacity caused by the regulatory environment. 

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  • Michelle

    Someone needs to let my tightwad boss know so maybe I will see an uptick in my paychecks…

  • nick

    Dunno ’bout “all time high”maybe rates are doing a much needed catch up: re cost s of doing business

  • jim stewart

    Yes, I’m seeing an improvement in our flatbed operation. First of all the work is picking up. How long will this latest spike last? Who knows? I’ve give up trying to predict that one.. Maybe after the next round of political BS is over with the economy will level out but for the next couple of years I’ll take what we can make out of this gain. I wouldn’t run down and buy anything new but one can scratch out a pretty decent living under the right circumstances with older well maintained equipment .. This is still not what I would call steady but if your willing and able you can easily find something that pays decent to move most every week now. That’s a lot better than in recent years. Most customers we deal with today are more worried about having their product delivered than arguing over pricing. That’s a switch! I work for those customers who want service, not the ones strictly looking for discounts or wanting to haggle over pricing on every stinking load.. I do however see more trucking companies purchasing equipment and a lot of advertising for flatbed drivers on many different sites which I visit or around the port area where we live… What scares me is many of these low-ball intermodal (container) companies have now gotten into flatbed work too. Their flatbed rates are about as cheap as the stinking container work they do. The bright side of that scenario is their selection of drivers and equipment to do this type work leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a tremendous difference between drop-n-hook container work or backing up to a dock to load rather than dealing with tarps, chains, binders, straps, the exposure of properly tying down loads, and where to place items to balance out your weight. Most the truckers they hire or lease to do this extra trucking activity they’ve acquired don’t last long. These container companies continue to feel they should only pay minimum wages or offer substandard leasing arrangements no matter what business they may enter into.. Most the truckers they attract soon find this isn’t their cup of tea and return back to the steel cans. Sadly in the meantime these sweatshop companies manage to screw up a decent run or two until the customer realizes that if they pay the extra they’ll receive the added benefit of finding their loads will consistently be there when they need them on time, undamaged..

  • mike

    I have the internet truck stop I see some movement but according to my board Reefer reight is still higher then flats and, Reefer is running about $2.37 a mile about a dime more. Theres a lot of trucks again so rates will be dropping soon.

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  • g

    Flatbed rates should continue to RISE as Journeymen flatbedders LEAVE trucking in Disgust…..You have to be intelligent and Dedicated to be a Flatbedder….a dock bumper will NOT go into Flatbed Operations. This segment of trucking should be one of the first to show signs of a shortage of Journeymen level truckers available to be treated like SLAVES.

  • g

    This is the Beginning of Produce Season….rates are Huge in summer for fruits to New York and surrounding from Calif…..calculated INTO the overall rate for refer…Flat bed should be in DEMAND as Old Timers leave trucking for obvious reasons.

  • Rilly

    What is the going rate for flatbed hook-up?

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