Historically, reefer trailer hauling has been the most revenue-generating form of freight, and it is not hard to see why. Running a reefer requires additional diesel to keep cargo at adequate temperatures, an expense that factors into the price per mile for the freight. We live in unusual times, however, and for at least a short period of time, flatbed was king.
April 2021 Rates
According to DAT, the rates for flatbed hauling increased more than dry van and reefer hauling decreased combined.
Dry van rates in April averaged at $2.60 per mile, a 5 cent per mile decrease from March. Averages were still more than a dollar per mile higher than the same time last year, due to the worst of the coronavirus pandemic rearing its ugly head.
Flatbed rates soared 28 cents to $2.94 per mile, the highest rate for the category since June 2018, if not ever.
Finally, reefer hauling dropped a penny, going from $2.94 to $2.93 and yielding the lead to flatbed hauling.
Our hypothesis for flatbed overtaking reefer is that demand for vaccine shipments have been dwindling as younger people who wanted to take the vaccine have mostly done so, while demand for construction continues to grow.
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