ATS Transportation Blog

Top 15 Flatbed Trucking Companies in 2022 (& How to Choose)

Companies, like yours, that have goods to move, customer commitments to meet and bottom lines to maintain, can sometimes experience difficulty achieving these ends in the transportation industry. 

With so many providers to choose from and so much to consider when doing so, it’s not uncommon for shippers to see their supply chains falter under the weight of shoddy transportation partnerships — selected hastily or without enough consideration. 

Avoiding issues on your shipments doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with the right grouping of providers in your corner. The added intricacies that accompany many flatbed, step-deck and open-deck shipments, however, warrant a steady-handed, seasoned provider. 

And, as you know, these kinds of providers can be hard to come by.

Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we’ve been building our expertise as a specialized flatbed transportation company for more than 67 years. Today, ATS’ open-deck fleet consistently ranks among the best in the business. 

Although we’re confident in our processes and ability to help shippers move flatbed freight, even in the most unique circumstances, we recognize that there are other options out there. 

At the end of the day, the things that matter most to us are your satisfaction and the smooth facilitation of your supply chain — even if we’re not the company you choose. 

The truth is, there are a lot of great flatbed trucking companies in the U.S. 

As we continue the march into 2022, a year that promises to hurl even more wrenches into the transportation landscape, your partnerships will matter more than ever. 

To give you the information necessary for making the absolute best transportation decisions for your needs, this article will serve two purposes:

  1. To list the top 15 flatbed trucking companies in 2022
  2. To give you some tactics for choosing the best flatbed companies for you this year

What makes a company a "top" flatbed company?

Based on feedback from our customers — people just like you that are looking for reliable open-deck shipping options — we know you're looking for several attributes in a flatbed shipping company.

You not only want the right amount of capacity to keep up with your demands, but you'll also need a company with the trailer variety to properly secure and deliver your freight in a timely manner.

Without further ado, here are the top flatbed trucking companies that meet this criteria:

Top 15 Flatbed Trucking Companies in 2022 

  1. Landstar System
  2. Daseke Inc.
  3. PS Logistics
  4. Bennett International Group
  5. TMC Transportation
  6. Maverick USA
  7. Mercer Transportation Co.
  8. Melton Truck Lines
  9. Prime Inc.
  10. System Transport
  11. Western Express
  12. CRST The Transportation Solution
  13. Roehl Transport
  14. Miller Transfer
  15. Combined Transport Inc.

Let’s continue by outlining some key facts about each of these top flatbed carriers. 

Landstar System

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, cross-border, expedited, project cargo, transportation management
  • Founded Date: 1968
  • Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 3,067**
  • Number of Tractors: 11,746**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks/lowboys, double-drops, extendable, multi-axle, removable goosenecks (RGNs), variety of heavy haul trailers*

*According to Landstar's website
**According to American Cranes & Transport

Daseke Inc.

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized
  • Founded Date: 2008
  • Headquarters: Addison, Texas
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: approx. 4,500*
  • Number of Tractors: approx. 11,000*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, flatbed curtain trailers, step-decks/lowboys, expandable flatbeds, Conestogas, RGNs*

*According to Daseke's website

PS Logistics

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, freight brokerage, temperature-controlled shipping, bulk hauling
  • Founded Date: 2018
  • Headquarters: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 8,500+*
  • Number of Tractors: 3,801*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: 48-foot flatbeds, stretch trailers (up to 90 feet), flatbed Conestogas*

*From PS Logistics' website

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Bennett International Group

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, oil and gas transport, warehousing, freight forwarding, freight brokerage, customs brokerage, supply chain consulting
  • Founded Date: 1974
  • Headquarters: McDonough, Georgia
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 1,062**
  • Number of Tractors: 1,283**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, extendable step-decks, extendable double-drop trailers, variety of heavy haul trailers*

*According to Bennett's website
**According to American Cranes & Transport

TMC Transportation

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized
  • Founded Date: 1972
  • Headquarters: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: unknown, contact TMC Transportation for details
  • Number of Tractors: approx. 2,000**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: 48-foot flatbeds, 48- and 53-foot step-decks, 53-foot RGNs*

*According to TMC Transportation's website
**According to FreightWaves

Flatbed-truck-empty-trailer

Maverick USA

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, dry van, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1980
  • Headquarters: Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 2,325***
  • Number of Tractors: 1,600+**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, RGNs (glass & marine)*
*According to Maverick's website

**According to Maverick's LinkedIn profile
***According to Heavy Duty Trucking

Mercer Transportation Co.

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, dry van, reefer, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1977
  • Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 1,300 flatbeds, 600 step-decks, 30 Conestogas*
  • Number of Tractors: 2,200+*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, flatbed Conestogas*

*According to Mercer's website

Melton Truck Lines

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1954
  • Headquarters: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 2,000+**
  • Number of Tractors: approx. 1,300**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: 53-foot flatbeds, 53-foot step-decks*

*According to Melton's website
**According to a Melton case study

53-foot-flatbed-trailer

Prime Inc.

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, reefer, tank/bulk, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1970
  • Headquarters: Springfield, Missouri
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 900 flatbeds, 400 step-decks*
  • Number of Tractors: 850+*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks*

*According to Prime’s website

System Transport

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized
  • Founded Date: 1972
  • Headquarters: Cheney, Washington
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 1,200**
  • Number of Tractors: 800**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, double-drops, heavy haul flatbeds, flatbed Conestogas, commercial glass flatbeds*

*According to System Transport's website
**According to System Transport's Facebook page

Western Express

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, dry van, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1991
  • Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 7,500*
  • Number of Tractors: 3,000*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds*

*According to Western Express’ website (incudes both van and flatbed — contact Western Express for details)

CRST The Transportation Solution

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy specialized, dry van, reefer, LTL, warehousing, freight brokerage
  • Founded Date: 1955
  • Headquarters: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 7,300**
  • Number of Tractors: 4,500**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, side kits*

*According to CRST's website
**According to Dun & Bradstreet (incudes both van and flatbed — contact CRST for details)

Roehl Transport

  • Services: Flatbed, curtain side, Conestoga, dry van, refrigerated shipping, dedicated
  • Founded Date: 1962
  • Headquarters: Marshfield, Wisconsin
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 5,200*
  • Number of Tractors: 1,900*
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: 48- and 53-foot flatbeds, 48-foot step-decks, 53-foot expandable flatbeds, RGNs, expandable RGNs*

*According to Roehl’s website (incudes both van and flatbed — contact Roehl for details)

Miller Transfer

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy haul, project management, warehousing, packaging, cross-border service
  • Founded Date: 1968
  • Headquarters: Rootstown, Ohio
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 310**
  • Number of Tractors: 105**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: flatbeds, step-decks, double-drops, flatbed Conestoga, various multi-axle combinations*

*According to Miller Transfer's website
**According to American Cranes & Transport

Combined Transport Inc.

  • Services: Flatbed, heavy and specialized services
  • Founded Date: 1980
  • Headquarters: Central Point, Oregon
  • Number of Flatbed Trailers: 281**
  • Number of Tractors: 562**
  • Flatbed Trailer Variety: A-frame flatbeds, lowboys, step-decks, RGNs, various heavy haul trailers*

*According to Combined Transport's website
**According to American Cranes & Transport

Three Volvo semi trucks parked alongside each other

How to Choose a Great Flatbed Trucking Company (4 Simple Considerations)

Look, simply listing the top 15 flatbed trucking companies for you to consider in 2022 will do you no favors. Sure, now you know what these companies have to offer for asset quantity and variety, but so what?

Selecting the best trucking companies for your network is about more than picking the ones that have worked well for others. Your business is unique, your processes are sacred and your needs probably differ in many ways. Let’s make sure that you’re matching these needs to the capabilities of the flatbed providers you choose. 

To do so, make sure to prioritize the following things in your selection process:

  1. Company history
  2. Fleet size and areas of strength
  3. Safety practices 
  4. Technology usage

The Flatbed Provider’s History

When it’s time for the rubber to meet the road, for your shipment to pick up and your provider to take over, you’ll want to work with companies that have a long history doing so. 

Not only will this give you peace of mind in knowing that your freight is in good hands, but companies with strong histories moving specialized flatbed commodities are really good at doing so. 

With these companies you can rest assured that the trailer arriving to move your load will be in good condition, the driver on it will understand safe securement methods, the tractor hauling your freight will be well maintained and the route it travels — where applicable — will be adequately planned. 

When it comes to flatbed transportation, there are things that are only learned over time; through repeat trial and error, failure, adjustment and earned success. As such, make sure the provider you choose has a demonstrated history of growth through the good times and the bad.

Ask prospective companies questions like, “what is your company’s history moving my commodity?” and “do you have customers in my industry that you can provide as references?”

Even if these questions seem like silly things to ask now, the way a flatbed trucking company answers them will give you keen insight into how their history will benefit your supply chain long term. 

The Flatbed Provider’s Fleet Size and Areas of Strength

Not every trucking company is created equally. With more than a million companies out there, yet only 15 breaching this list, that much is plain to see. The best flatbed carriers understand their capabilities and stick to them. You’ll want to do the same. 

With fleet sizes ranging from a single truck and trailer (for owner/operators), to massive pools of assets — which can number in the thousands — working with a company that has the means to meet your demands is crucial. 

The sheer number of assets your flatbed carrier possesses isn’t the only thing you should look for, though. 

You see, if you choose a company that owns 1,200 trucks and 4,500 open-deck trailers, but operates solely out of and around the Southeast — a location that doesn’t match your Northeastern customer base — this partnership won’t work. 

Every trucking company, regardless of how large they are, has specific areas of strength. These are the areas of the U.S. (and the world) where the vast majority of their truckers and customers reside. 

Working outside of their regions of strength doesn’t make financial sense for flatbed trucking companies. Maximizing the use of their assets is important and extending their reach beyond what their infrastructure allows is too expensive to warrant. 

As such, in the interest of long-term partnership, make sure you firmly understand each carrier’s fleet size, strength areas and capabilities before handing over that first load. 

The Flatbed Trucking Company’s Safety Practices

Specialized flatbed transportation, although vital to our nation’s success and the fulfillment of your supply chain, can be some of the most dangerous shipments to move. 

Jagged edges, over-dimensional sizes and high weights are three of the factors making open-deck shipping particularly precarious. For this reason, flatbed trucking companies need to prioritize safety at every turn. 

The safest carriers approach safety from the top-down, cementing it in every area of their business, plainly displaying this commitment in their company values and hiring safety professionals to oversee and facilitate safety across their company.

Highly-trained drivers, industry-leading securement tools (straps, chains, tarps, etc.) and well-maintained asset equipment (trailers, trucks) are three staples of carrier safety, but your carrier’s approach to safety shouldn’t stop there. 

Reach out to prospective trucking companies and ask them questions about their own safety procedures:

  • How do CSA ratings factor into your driver hiring processes?
  • What is the average age of your equipment? 
  • How often are drivers offered in-house training on securement and operation?

The safest companies don’t shy away from questions like these. Choose a company that answers these queries in a way that makes you feel comfortable. 

The Flatbed Provider’s Technology Usage

As we creep further into the digital age, the technology available for trucking companies to utilize continues to expand. When used correctly, technologies like GPS trailer tracking, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and customer experience software help carriers manage every shipment at the highest level. 

Although incorporating these technologies into their own practices is a significant investment for trucking companies, you’ll want to work with the carriers that have made it. 

A commitment to being on the cutting edge of the transportation world is a commitment to putting customer needs first. Unworthy carriers don’t take these investment opportunities as they arise, opting instead to stay a well-worn course — even if their customers suffer. 

Make sure your next flatbed carrier prioritizes and utilizes technologies. Ask them questions about these practices, including but not limited to:

  • What load-tracking technologies do you utilize and what are their features?
  • What technologies do you use to gain up-to-date freight market insights?
  • Do you offer a customer portal? What are its features?

The better you understand what you’re getting by working with each carrier, before offering them your business, the better off you’ll be. You don’t want to find yourself in need of load-tracking visibility that your provider simply can’t offer. Avoid these, and many more mishaps, by vetting your flatbed carrier for technology usage. 


Related: The 5 Keys to Choosing a Flatbed Trucking Company For Your Business


How to Select Your Best-Fit Flatbed Company

Now that you have this list of the 15 flatbed trucking companies that deserve a look in 2022, and have some things to consider when vetting them, let’s take this conversation a step further. 

Putting your trust and leaving your freight in the hands of a bad company can be detrimental to your budget and customer relationships. 

As such, the more steps you take to avoid this in the consideration stage of your selection journey, the better off you’ll be. 

To help you avoid choosing a company that simply won’t fit your needs, we've developed a 36-question Flatbed Carrier Selection Checklist. 

Download this comprehensive checklist today. It has helped many shippers navigate this decision in the past and will do the same for you in the future.

Here at ATS, our flatbed division consistently ranks among the best in the nation — an accolade we're proud to carry. That said, we're not the right fit for every company.  In the interest of transparency, here's what you should think about when considering ATS for your next load. . . 

You should consider ATS as long as you're looking for a flatbed carrier that:

  • Offers customers access to nearly 2,000 specialized trailers in a variety of forms, including 48- and 53-foot flatbeds, 2- and 3-axle step-decks, step-deck lowboys, 2-axle expandable RGNs, 3-axle RGNs, flatbed Conestogas, step-deck Conestogas and RGN Conestogas
  • Offers nearly 1,000 tractors dedicated to flatbed and heavy haul trucking
  • Prioritizes service quality and reliability — but not always the lowest price
  • Strives to be an industry leader in technology utilization and customer experience
  • Can offer drop-trailer programs when it makes both network and financial sense for all parties

If these things intrigue you and leave you wondering whether a carrier like ATS would fit your supply chain, please don't hesitate to reach out. We’d love to show you how a great provider can make a difference for its customers.

Tags: Flatbed Shipping, Specialized Flatbed Shipping, Specialized

Gary Stang

Written by Gary Stang

Gary serves as the senior vice president and general manager of ATS Specialized, where he oversees everything having to do with open deck freight. He also manages the Corporate Flight Department, sits on the 401k Committee and acts as the CEO of ATS-subsidiary, Warren Transport. Gary has been with ATS since 1993 in various roles, beginning as a customer service representative for K&W Transportation in Alaska.

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