Ecommerce growth: What that means for flatbed shipping

09/21/2020

Ecommerce growth: What that means for 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 90’s television set. It’s been almost 30 years since the dawn of the internet. It’s mystifying to look on 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 e-commerce

Over the past 15 years, e-commerce has taken the baton from traditional brick and mortar stores and has left many big-box store retailers high and dry. Amazon Prime arrived in 2005, causing online shopping to explode in the marketplace. The ease and convenience of it has forced many retailers to develop a strong online presence or risk closing their doors for good.

COVID-19 pushes rapid growth

Due to health concerns and new social distancing practices, COVID-19 rapidly escalated the use of e-commerce. Total online spending in May was up 77% 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 in May. Contactless online ordering helped individuals attempt to limit their exposure to the virus by shopping from home, and so it’s easy to see why those reported numbers are so high. 

This huge push for online shopping has created an immediate 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 has quickly turned into a necessity in today’s time. 

The need for storage space

Because online distributors continue to see multiplied growth, the need for storage space has become ever more demanding. Prior to Covid-19, one or two warehouses could keep a medium sized company running efficiently. Now, more is needed to keep up with rapidly increasing demand while companies are searching for innovative ways to keep their employees safe and healthy. Having more than one distribution center is now a huge benefit to a companys’ ability to stay afloat and move forward during these uncertain times.

With new or renovated warehousing required, the need for building materials has also increased. 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. 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. Even as we transition from summer to fall, flatbed shipping volumes are continuing to stay strong, despite the seasonal change. According to DAT, flatbed shipping is up 9.6% from July to August and up 165.1% year over year.

Strong relationships help

A relationship with a third-party logistics company (3PL) can be a benefit to those who coordinate freight to be delivered to a jobsite. Typically, jobsite 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 deliver. Even the slightest delay can cause significant ramifications. Having a strong relationship with a freight broker can help mitigate risk, reduce costs, and provide peace of mind to that that are coordinating the freight.

Be ready for anything

Online shopping appears to be here for the long haul and whether it is causing you to expand your warehousing or not, a 3PL can be there to help. We’re experienced in handling quick changes and finding your best logistics solution-even in the midst of a pandemic. Be ready for anything when you choose to have Trinity Logistics by your side.

Find your flatbed shipping solution

Author: Andy Rogers, Sales Manager Team Lead