Demand for Hardwood Crane mats has increased substantially since February 2018. A few factors have recently made it more difficult than before to acquire crane mats as fast as many contractors need them for projects, such as timber or dragline mats used for temporary roads for building pipelines. Crane mats are usually 12” thick and are used for supporting cranes or other heavy equipment. They are also used in bridge construction and used as bridge mats. Swamp mats or access mats are usually a 3-ply constructed mat used as temporary movable roadways across soft ground.
With a wet spring, tree harvesters were unable to get into the forests to harvest timber. On top of that, demand for crane mats rose considerably with the onset of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, a 42-inch natural gas pipeline that will run 600 miles between West Virginia and eastern North Carolina. This project has eaten up a large portion of the market share. As demand increases, production lags behind. Currently most matting producers are behind on production 30-90 days.
Transportation shortage causes delays
In addition to low supply, transportation is also playing a role in slow delivery of mats. This is due to the current driver shortage of 50,000 drivers across the US. This means that even if a customer finds a supplier who has the mats on hand for sale, contractors may still end up waiting for delivery.
The combined conditions generated by low product inventory and transportation shortages have created the perfect storm for higher prices. According to a recent Fortune article, a driver shortage coupled with “surging demand and rough weather” have pushed spot rates for trucking up earlier this year 28 percent. The trucking industry has seen rates rise from $2.00 per mile to $4.50 – $6.00 per mile. Currently trucking is behind 1-2 weeks, and unless a consumer is willing to pay expedited pricing, waiting until the last minute to order mats can prove to add a big chunk of change to the overall cost. Add to that, mandatory electronic logging device (ELD) laws that recently went into effect, the shipping costs have added to the overall total increased of mats has increased by about 25 percent over last October.
Tundra Mat LLC understands the market and doesn’t want you to be left waiting for your mats and paying expedited trucking prices. Order your mats early and get ahead of the ball. We are also positioned with over 100 stocking locations and mills to reduce your shipping costs to your jobsite. We offer New and Used mats for your next project. If you don’t want the mats after your job, Tundra Mat will also offer you a buy back option and provide trucking in and out of your site. We are positioned to provide mats for any size project you have.