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Breakbulk July 2018

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Cover Story Breakbulk & Project Cargo July 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 7 www.joc.com materials to be transported on trucks. Further, Florida and southeastern Texas are rebuilding from devastating hurricanes in August and September 2017. In the Midwest, winter weather eliminated more than a month off the usual construction calendar and compressed shipping schedules. As a result, trucking companies are urging shippers to be patient and flexible on delivery requirements. Flatbed spot market rates moved in concert with contract rates between January and April, rising from $2 to $2.20 per mile, excluding fuel surcharges, based on data from Morgan Stanley Research and DAT WHETHER YOU ARE a company fracking in the Permian Basin or a construction company in the Mid- west, overwhelming flatbed demand is forcing shippers to manage longer lead times to find trucks. There are a host of reasons behind the imbalance between freight levels and trucks. West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTIC) ended the second quarter slightly above $74 per barrel, much higher than the low in February 2016 when it was $30 per barrel. With those bullish prices, oil companies are fracking to capitalize on the stronger market, which has substantially increased their margins — requiring Solutions. Since then, the spot market has continued to rise above $2.40 per mile, excluding fuel surcharges, while contract rates have settled between $2.20 and $2.30 per mile. Fleet execu- tives told The Journal of Commerce that contract prices are about 5 percent higher than last year. Spot market rates, including fuel surcharges, averaged $2.81 per mile nationally at the end of June and remain higher than contract rates for the first time in a decade, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker. Flatbed spot rates have risen nearly 31 percent over the last 52 weeks, according to DAT. 5% higher contract prices than last year.

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