Ecommerce Growth: How It Affects Flatbed Shipping

03/25/2024 by Andy Rogers

Ecommerce Growth: How It Affects Flatbed Shipping

Most of us over the age of 25 can remember when the World Wide Web made its debut. We remember the “beep-boop” sound of dial-up and the big chunky computers that were as wide as a television set in the 1990’s. It’s been almost 30 years since the dawn of the Internet. It’s mystifying to look at the impact it still has on our everyday lives. Because of the Internet, e-commerce was born, and the need for flatbed shipping has increased. 

The Beginning of ECommerce

Over time, ecommerce has taken the baton from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, leaving many big-box store retailers high and dry. Since Amazon Prime’s arrival in 2005, online shopping has exploded in the marketplace. The ease and convenience of it have forced many retailers to develop a strong online presence or risk closing their doors for good.

COVID-19 Creates Rapid Growth

Due to health concerns and social distancing practices, COVID-19 rapidly escalated the use of ecommerce. Total online spending in May 2020 was up 77 percent year-over-year (YOY), according to a report on online spending released in June by Adobe. In that report, Vivek Pandya, Adobe’s Digital Insights Manager, states that it would have typically taken 4-6 years to see the level of growth in online shopping that was seen then. Contactless online ordering helped individuals attempt to limit their exposure to the virus by shopping from home, so it’s easy to see why those reported numbers were so high. 

Since the pandemic, the changes in the ways consumers shop have remained. While in-person shopping has increased compared to then, it still lacks in the amount of foot traffic that was received previously. Consumers continue to like the ease of online shopping, and with fewer in-person shoppers, companies are investing less in their brick-and-mortar locations, which has only made people less likely to want to shop in person. In fact, it’s estimated that 40,000 to 50,000 retail stores will close in the next five years, according to the UBS investment bank.

Ecommerce continues to experience growth, with 22 percent of retail sales being online in 2023, the largest U.S. ecommerce sales percentage to date, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. As e-commerce growth carries on, it’s created a growing need for companies to expand their inventory and improve their ability to distribute their products. What used to be a problem of “too much” storage space for companies before the pandemic has quickly turned into a necessity in today’s time. 

The Need for Storage Space

As online distributors continue to see growth, their need for storage space has grown as well. Prior to Covid-19, one or two warehouses could keep a medium-sized company running efficiently. Now, more space is needed to keep up with the increasing demand of companies. Having more than one distribution center can be a huge benefit to a company’s ability to stay successful these days.

This all trickles down to the construction industry. As demand grows for new or renovated warehousing, the need for building materials to meet that demand has also increased.

How ECommerce Growth Affects Flatbed Shipping

Flatbed shipping has always been a leading mode of transportation for industrial freight. Lumber, stone, racking, and other building materials travel best on an open trailer due to their odd dimensions and additional weight requirements.

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Usually, flatbed shipping sees an increase in volume in the summer months. Construction companies take advantage of the warmer weather, which is most suitable for outdoor construction work. During this peak shipping flatbed season, it’s not unusual to see tightened capacity and higher freight rates, but any added demand for warehousing can add to that, making securing a flatbed carrier more difficult.

Strong Relationships Help

Having a relationship with a third-party logistics company (3PL can be a benefit to those who coordinate freight to be delivered to a job site. Typically, job site freight is very hands-on and has a perpetual knack for being time-sensitive. Installation crews are on-site to receive and install the material scheduled to be delivered. Even the slightest delay can cause significant ramifications to the completion of the construction project. Having a strong relationship with a 3PL can help companies mitigate risk, reduce costs, and provide peace of mind to those who are coordinating the freight.

Learn how Trinity helped TAJ Flooring

Be Ready for Anything

It appears online shopping is here for the long-haul and whether it’s causing you to expand your warehousing or not a 3PL like Trinity Logistics can help you be prepared for any changes that may come your way. With Trinity, you’ll gain a Team of experts that can help you optimize your supply chain and arrange shipping for various of transportation modes, including flatbed, while offering end-to-end visibility of your shipments. No matter what changes the future brings, you can stay one step ahead when you choose to have Trinity Logistics by your side.

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