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The construction industry drives demand for flatbed freight, and this sector shows signs of strength. According to a report released on May 23, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that new single-family homes are selling at a clip that outpaces rate. In March 2016, there were approximately 566,000 sales on a seasonally adjusted basis, while in March of this year, there were 642,000 sales, an increase of 11.4 percent.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the automotive industry sold 17.55 million automobiles and pickup trucks in 2016. Sales have now increased every year for seven years in a row. This sector of the economy drives flatbed demand for transportation of raw materials and components as well as the finished product.
U.S. production of both renewable and non-renewable energy is driving flatbed demand. Oil capture through fracking drives demand for the flatbed transportation of pipes and fracking equipment. As natural gas prices rise, more of the fuel is converted to LNG which drives flatbed demand. Construction related to petrochemicals is also driving flatbed demand.
Flatbeds are required to transport the major components of wind turbines, including the towers and the blades. According to the American Wind Energy Association, there are more than 52,000 wind turbines operated by U.S. utilities. Many manufacturing facilities are found states where wind farms are more common, like Texas, California, Iowa and Colorado.
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