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Forces That Impact Flatbed Trucking Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is the key metric that determines the volume of business interaction being conducting in most industries. There are always multiple factors that affect both: being aware of the economic and consumer forces that help business managers stay ahead of the curve is critical to success. That’s also true in the flatbed trucking industry, which is definitely in high demand coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparing drivers, organizing vehicle fleets, and adapting to changes in the supply chain are just a few of the forces that impact flatbed trucking.

What’S Driving Supply And Demand For Flatbed Trucking Companies?

Demands on flatbed shipping have spiralled in the past few years, and trucking companies in Ontario that want to compete have had to make adjustments. From driver shortages to vaccination mandates to high fuel costs, flatbed trucking companies are facing all kinds of challenges. Some things they can control; other things they can’t. Here are five key areas that are having an impact on flatbed trucking.

Basic Shifts In The Industry

Consumer trends during COVID-19 have had a huge impact on flatbed trucking. As online shopping demands increased dramatically, so too did the demands on manufacturers continue to rise. Companies that required steel, aluminum, lumber, and other commodities usually moved via flatbed helped limit the availability of flatbed trailers. Homebuilding and construction industries have also escalated the need for flatbeds as tradespeople and developers help meet the need for housing. The ecommerce economy has more people shopping online than ever before, and manufacturers have to increase the flow of flatbed loads to ensure they’re meeting demands. All this conspires to increase demands on the flatbed transportation industry.

Road Conditions And Extreme Weather

Seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand are nothing new in the flatbed trucking industry. As soon as winter weather starts to subside, demands on industries that rely on flatbed trucking continue to rise. Spring and summer see other industries requesting flatbed transportation to move their goods as well. One of the growing concerns facing trucking companies in Ontario and across North America is the impact of extreme weather. Cities in coastal areas impacted by hurricanes, northern cities impacted by more extreme storms and southern cities facing crippling heat waves all present challenges to trucking companies in Ontario.  Costs can be impacted; driver stress increases and flatbed shipments regularly get backed up due to delays on roadways caused by weather. Smart logistics companies are always considering ways to mitigate the impact of such challenges. 

Regulatory Changes Due To Governmental Change

Republicans and Democrats. Liberals and Conservatives. Governments coming and going as a result of election cycles in Canada and the United States can ultimately have an impact on the supply and demand of the flatbed trucking industry.  Remaining in compliance with all the new laws, rules, regulations, tariffs, and allowable product categories is critical to trucking companies whose drivers are criss-crossing borders. One country may have legalized cannabis, the other may have legalized guns; regardless of the product, flatbed shippers have to know the rules of each country to be sure their shipments make it to their destination without delay. No one know what change a new administration might bring or how it will directly impact the economic factors that drive up demand for flatbeds. One thing is for certain – nothing ever stays the same when there’s a change in government on either side of the border.

Technology And Digital Platforms

The integration of digital technology into both the manufacturing of vehicles and the trucking industry has a whole has created many efficiencies that make it easier for 3PL providers to coordinate flatbed shipment. Everything from electronic logging devices to adjustments in the hours of service compliance have created a positive shift in the trucking industry. Efficiencies have increased, reducing crashes and the chance of lost logs. Supply and demand may not be directly affected simply by the presence of improved technology in the industry; however, efficiencies mean trucks can complete their pickup and delivery responsibilities faster and be ready for the next load.

Need For New Blood In The Industry

Many industries saw a reduction in their available workforces upon emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Flatbed trucking was no different. With fewer young people willing to enter an industry where so much time is spent away from home and older drivers looking to retire. The entire industry is at risk with as many as one million drivers needed over the next decade to keep supply chains operational. That labour shortage could have a drastic impact on supply and demand in the coming years.

What The Future Holds

Flatbed trucking companies must stay on top of changes in the industry, government regulation, and technological advancement to stay competitive in the coming years. The challenges on the industry will continue to grow; fleets may need to be phased out as electric vehicles continue to reshape and redefine the industry.  The team at NATS Canada has been dealing with a huge network of carriers for years. We know how the industry is changing and what it takes to ensure our customers’ flatbed trucking needs are met. NATS Canada is a national 3PL and flatbed freight shipping company that facilitates flatbed trucking across Canada and the United States from our location in Ontario. As one of Canada’s leading flatbed trucking companies. We can coordinate all the logistics involved in FTL and LTL flatbed freight shipping for any industry requiring flatbed service.  Learn more about NATS Canada’s menu of services.

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