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How to Meet Your Flatbed Capacity Needs in a Tight Market

Flatbed truck on highway

Typically, there’s an off-season when it comes to flatbed needs.

In most years, during the winter, major construction projects and home improvement projects scale back. The less construction, the less need for the flatbed trucking necessary to carry all the lumber, steel and other heavy haul and equipment it requires.

But “typical” doesn’t describe much of the last year.

In some ways, the flatbed truck market never saw a true off-season. In 2020, influxes of stimulus check cash into the pockets of homeowners ready to spend on home improvement, as well as more people working from home, were just a couple of factors that prevented the normal November dip in flatbed demand.

Through spring and early summer of 2021, demand for flatbed increased even more. Although it has tapered some in more recent months, in August flatbed bed rates were still higher than the year before.

Coming Down the Pipeline: What is Causing Flatbed Shipping Demand?

J.B. Hunt flatbed experts believe that public infrastructure projects, both actual and potential, should help keep flatbed demand elevated in the foreseeable future.

Here are a few examples of developments that would increase demand for flatbed carriers:

  • Large-project heavy haul and materials due to increased emphasis on infrastructure improvement in the current administration’s American Jobs Plan
  • More construction and transportation of solar panels, wind turbines and other large equipment as a result of the American Job Plan’s emphasis on green energy development
  • Heavy haul and materials due to increased home buying and lack of existing inventory
  • An uptick in the manufacture and sales of large farming equipment like tractors

More than ever, reliable flatbed capacity and expertise is needed.  J.B. Hunt’s flatbed service provides access to both.

Through Shipper 360°®, J.B. Hunt’s digital freight matching platform, every customer gets access to more than 29,000 qualified and independent flatbed carriers across North America. The platform also provides shipment tracking functions and in-depth analytics to help make sure shipments arrive when and where they are needed.

Sometimes, exceptions happen when transporting outsized, specialized equipment that is often hard to accommodate.

We get that.

Flatbed Know-How

That’s why J.B. Hunt’s team of flatbed experts are just a call away to help solve issues as they pop up. We have access to assets and knowledge to address many difficult situations:

  • 300,000+ pieces of open deck equipment (part of a $1.25 billion capital investment in trailers and containers)
  • All open deck equipment types, including multi-axle, RGN and double drop (lowboy)
  • Experts in pop-up, surge, over dimensional, dedicated services and jobsite delivery
  • Experience with diverse industries ranging from agriculture and glass to building materials and machinery


Flatbed trucking isn’t simple. Seemingly small nuances can have a big effect on important KPIs. Help prevent expensive mistakes, while getting the flatbed capacity you need, by leaning on trusted advisors.

See how J.B. Hunt’s industry-leading expertise and technology can serve your flatbed freight needs today.

Contact our flatbed experts today at flatbed@jbhunt.com.
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