You may have read past blog posts and news stories mentioning the fact that trucking is an integral part of the U.S. economy. All those posts and news articles make a very good point. Still, it would be interesting to survey consumers to find out just how much they know about the trucking industry, particularly flatbed trucking.
The average consumer has at least a basic understanding of the refrigerated and dry goods trailers that carry everything from paper products to electronics. We see trucks hauling these kinds of trailers on the roads in large numbers. We see far fewer flatbed trailers.
An interesting question to pose to consumers would be, “what if we didn’t have an army of flatbed truckers traversing our roads?” Proffered answers might be fascinating.
The Construction Industry
One industry that would suffer greatly is construction. For example, manufactured roof trusses came into their own in the mid-1980s as a way to speed up residential home construction. Trusses are manufactured in a factory and then shipped to the job site on flatbed trucks. Without flatbeds, it would be impossible to transport trusses.
Beyond roof trusses, think of all the other things the construction industry uses that are shipped on flatbeds. In addition to building materials like roofing tiles and lumber, the heavy equipment needed to prepare sites for construction is delivered by flatbeds. Even the equipment necessary to maintain the roads flatbeds travel on is transported to and from the job site by flatbeds.
Those Odds and Ends
If we stopped and thought about, we could probably all come up with a few things routinely transported on flatbeds. But there are those odds and ends we never think about. For example, consider a 53-foot boxcar that was recently delivered to the old depot in downtown Myrtle Beach, Florida. The boxcar will be laid on the track next to the depot and then modified to become a meeting space. Because the track is not connected, the boxcar could not be brought in by train. It had to come in on a flatbed.
There are many other things like this we take for granted. If you looked around your town, you could probably find dozens of things that got to where they are thanks to flatbed trucking. Flatbeds impact so many areas of life that we simply take them for granted.
The impact of flatbed trucking is felt not only in the cargo truckers deliver on their trailers. It is also felt in the tertiary industries that support the trucking industry. Take Ohio-based Mytee Products, for example. They are a distributor of cargo control equipment and supplies.
Without the army of flatbed truckers moving all sorts of cargo from coast-to-coast, Mytee would have no one to sell their products to. There would be very little need for lumber and steel tarps, smoke tarps, and heavy truck chains. No one would be buying their ratchet straps and winches. There would be no need for plastic and metal edge protectors, either.
Mytee Products is just one cog in the tertiary industry wheel. Think about all the companies that manufacture the cargo control supplies Mytee sells. A loss of flatbed trucking would mean a loss of business and revenue for them as well.
The reality is that our economy is intrinsically tied to the trucking industry. Flatbed trucks are just as important to that industry as their dry goods and reefer counterparts. Thank goodness for flatbed trucks and the dedicated drivers who so diligently drive them for our benefit.