Flatbed Report: Positive demand for large tractors – DAT Freight & Analytics


The agricultural business depends closely on the flatbed business for the motion of tractors. In accordance with the Affiliation of Gear Producers (AEM), U.S. whole farm tractor gross sales decreased 11.7% y/y in August and are down 14.8% YTD. The self-propelled mix harvester class grew 25.8% y/y and is up 2.7% YTD, and this phase has seen progress for the final three months. The 100+ horsepower 2WD tractor phase continues to develop and is up 11.5% y/y and 12% YTD. Mid-range tractors between 40 and 100 horsepower had been down -7.2% y/y and -12.6% YTD; nevertheless, this phase had a excessive progress of 24% in 2021, with present volumes showing to be normalizing. The sub-40hp tractor phase had probably the most appreciable losses and was down -16% y/y and -17.6% YTD. In Canada, unit gross sales in tractors had been up 7.2% with progress in all segments, the primary constructive month in unit gross sales since January 2022. 

“Demand for the whole lot apart from the smallest models stays constructive, however provide chain difficulties stay in the way in which of the provision facet of the market,” stated Curt Blades, senior vice chairman, business sectors and product management on the Affiliation of Gear Producers. “Regardless of issues round enter prices for farmers, we’re nonetheless seeing the bigger models, harvesters and heavy-duty tractors, lead gross sales tendencies, indicating constructive outlooks, particularly amongst row crop farmers.”

In accordance with PIERS, the Tractor TEUs are up 27% y/y by means of August. This improve might point out that a number of the previous demand is being fulfilled. The import tractor tonnage had vital progress in January, June, and July, with a rise of 40% y/y and higher. Most tractor imports arrive by means of Savannah, Los Angeles, Houston, Baltimore, and Norfolk ports. The Los Angeles port has seen a 58% y/y improve in tractor tonnage.  Houston is up 41% y/y in tonnage, and Savannah is up 26% y/y.  

All charges cited beneath exclude gas surcharges except in any other case famous. 

Market circumstances are anticipated to tighten within the coming weeks within the Southeast Area, the place round 56% of latest single-family houses had been began in July, in line with the U.S. Census Bureau. Regardless that the variety of housing begins was 23.5% decrease in July than the earlier 12 months, the variety of homes began however not accomplished has elevated by 23.5% over the identical timeframe. One other indicator of demand for housing within the Southeast is that single-family houses had been accepted however not began, which is 16.3% increased than final 12 months, suggesting there may be nonetheless loads of exercise within the housing marketplace for flatbed carriers to contemplate main into hurricane season. Regional flatbed spot charges have been comparatively flat within the final month, averaging round $3.05/mile.

In accordance with Fannie Mae, client sentiment is, nevertheless, not so optimistic. The Fannie Mae Residence Buy Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.8 factors in August to 62.0, its sixth consecutive month-to-month decline, as excessive residence costs and elevated mortgage charges proceed to weigh on client sentiment, notably home-selling sentiment. Customers reported that homebuying circumstances have improved, however 73% say it’s a “unhealthy time to purchase.” Customers are impartial concerning the future path of residence costs for the primary time because the pandemic, with an growing share this month reporting that costs will decline. 

Flatbed load posts are round 60% decrease in comparison with the earlier 12 months and a couple of% decrease than 2018 ranges, which was a superb 12 months for flatbed carriers. Load posts additionally elevated 8% w/w from the quick work week. Gear posts are up 18% w/w and 45% y/y highlighting the softening flatbed market largely as a result of housing market slowdown.  Because of this, the flatbed load-to-truck (LTR) ratio decreased by 8% w/w from 14.3 to 13.1.

Flatbed linehaul charges continued to fall final week to $2.13/mile, down $0.05/mile w/w. Once more, highlighting the diminished demand within the flatbed market, spot charges at the moment are $0.50/mile decrease than the earlier 12 months and fell $0.01 beneath the 2018 price.


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