Flatbed rates are staying strong
October 5, 2011
Volumes are growing but still remain significantly below pre-recession levels. Despite this the capacity situation is significantly tighter than most markets. As such, flatbed rates continue to stay very strong.
A large reduction in capacity during the downturn combined with a strong industrial recovery to make for a strong rate environment. This led to a very strong Flatbed rates surge during 2010, with Q4 nearly hitting the double-digit mark for year-over-year growth. Rate growth eased to start 2011as we finally started overlapping the recovery time frame. Rate growth looks to have been fairly steady during the second quarter (~5%) but we anticipate a small resurgence as we hit late summer/fall.
Flatbed rates dropped over 6% in 2009 after remaining nearly flat for 2008. Pricing quickly came back with almost a 6% gain in 2010. We anticipate seeing flatbed rates rising 6.4% in 2011, 5.0% in 2012, and 7.1% in 2013. If construction of infrastructure or residential housing were to take off stronger than our currently anemic forecast then that would say that there is additional upside to the rates outlook.
Our truckload rates data is based on publically-available data from security analysts and trade organizations. We then forecast the cost and margin elements, factoring in inflation and industry conditions. The figures are for rate-per-loaded-mile, seasonally adjusted and are indexed to 2003Q1.
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