as published on LinkedIn
Flatbed trucking rates might surprise shippers in 2017. According to transportation economist Noel Perry, trucking rates look set to climb between 5-7% through the year. This might seem odd since freight rates have been down since 2015, but several factors will lead to increases.
Lower rates forced a contraction of the market. Carriers stopped ordering new trucks. Production dropped at truck manufacturers. Where the demand for more lanes and vehicles had been big in the past, the low volume of shipping in recent years required carriers to cut back.
Now, as the supply of vehicles matches demand with what looks like an increase in shipping on the horizon, rates will naturally rise. As Mr. Perry mentioned in his forecast, “Now’s the time to begin thinking about managing in an environment that’s 180 degrees from the environment we’re in right now.”
Higher trucking rates, including flatbed trucking rates, appear almost certain for next year. With this in mind, what can you do? Maybe the simplest approach would be to increase your anticipated shipping spend by 7%. But really, who wants to do that? And frankly, that’s not what we recommend.
Here’s what we do recommend…
#1. Coordinate a fleet of flatbed trucking services.
Start now and line-up flatbed carriers for all the lanes you know you’ll need. This will ensure you don’t waste time looking for a carrier and services when the need arises and urgency is high.
#2. Review and reorganize your shipping plan.
What you did in 2016 or even 2015 may not be the most efficient distribution channels for you in 2017. Review last year and look ahead to this next year to find new efficiencies in your shipping program.
#3. Plan to partner.
Perhaps the best way to offset or possibly even negate trucking rate increases involves finding a great flatbed logistics partner. For less than the cost of bringing on new staff, you can work with a team of trucking professionals who can help with steps #1 and #2, plus eliminate the extra work of handling claims.
And a partner gives you all these resources with a single phone call. That means you don’t have to spend time looking for answers. The experts are on the other end of the phone (or email, if you prefer!).
Whether you handle the work with your own internal team, or decide to reach out to a freight broker, take Mr. Perry’s advice and plan for a change. If you’d like to some help with this, call one of Longshot’s Logistics experts for a brief, no obligation conversation. Or click to contact us.