Shipping and transporting materials and equipment is essential for many industries to be successful. Automotive, construction, industrial, military, and many more sectors rely on the use of freight transportation to get their equipment and supplies to their destination. Some of these supplies are oversized for standard truck trailer. Some are oddly shaped and won't fit the size of a regular truck. Some cannot be loaded and unloaded from a dock. For oversized and oddly shaped materials, flatbed freight transportation is the solution.
What Is Flatbed Shipping?
Flatbed shipping is a freight shipping method. Cargo that is commonly shipped by flatbed truckload is any freight that may not need to be sent in a dry van, does not fit the dimensions of standard truck trailers, or cannot be loaded and unloaded from a dock.
There are many different types of flatbed trucks; because they are so versatile, many carriers use them.
Why Is Flatbed Shipping Useful?
The design of a flatbed truck allows cranes and forklifts to load the cargo from either side, from the top, or from the back. There are no walls, so a truckload of large freight will still be able to fit. Flatbed freight shipping works well for oversized loads or cargo of unusual shape.
Which Industries Use Flatbed Shipping To Ship Their Freight?
Building materials for housing projects are moved via flatbed freight transportation. Lumber, scaffolding, concrete, steel beams and rods, bricks, and prefabricated materials of unusual shapes can be transported by flatbed trucks. Construction companies also use flatbed trucks for hauling away scrap metal.
The agricultural industry uses flatbed freight shipping to move tractors and other farm equipment. Large industrial machines, military equipment, and pieces of airplanes are often transported by flatbed truckload. For large machines, sometimes it is much easier to load them onto flatbed trucks rather than driving them on the road to their destination. Mining and drilling equipment, solar panels, and cranes can also be transported by flatbed.
Seasonality, Rates, And Dependency On The Market
Freight shipping, and flatbed trucking demand, are often project-based with seasonal demand, and very closely connected to construction and industrial production. These markets typically slow down in winter months, so seasonal softening of the demand for flatbed trucking is normal at the end of the year. Often there is a big rush for companies to complete their orders and finish shipping materials for projects before the end of the year, and before holiday closures and snow-covered routes slow down shipping. Into the new year, with demand down and some routes closed, it is typically considered a quiet period for flatbed shipping.
Housing starts and residential construction typically slows down when smaller companies gear down for winter. Even medium-sized businesses may choose to wait until warmer weather to resume shipping and business activity. Large companies are affected less by seasonality, and will continue to move their commodities into the market regardless of the time of year. Increased oil prices is driving industrial activity upward, and increasing the demand for flatbed freight shipping.
Shipping rates fluctuate through the year, and will rise as the demand for freight rises. As older drivers retire with less new drivers to take their place, a driver shortage is occurring while the overall demand for flatbed freight transportation is increasing. Although small and medium companies are slowing down for winter, industries that rely on flatbed freight shipping are on the rise. Agriculture, oil and gas, and large construction projects still need their cargo transported. Prices for fuel continue to rise, which can add up to a large expense for a fleet of flatbed trucks. With more truckloads required, but less drivers and higher costs for fuel, the rates will likely increase.
Demand and rates for flatbed trucks fluctuate seasonally, as there is typically less demand in winter months from smaller- to medium-sized companies, and demand is closely tied to changes in other industries such as an increase in construction projects or oil prices.
If you're looking for a reliable flatbed carrier, then look no further - Opus9 has specialized flatbed carriers that can securely move your shipments. Contact us today to find out more about our services.