Flatbed Shipping

Shipping Freight on a Flatbed

What is a Flatbed Trailer?

Flatbed trailers are an essential part of the shipping industry, a common sight on roads today. Offered in various configurations, flatbeds can be tailored to the commodity, making freight that would otherwise be unmovable, movable. This blog will provide further education on the types of flatbeds and the benefits they offer. 

Benefits of Shipping on a Flatbed

Flatbeds are an important aspect of the shipping industry and are used to move freight globally. The following are some of the important benefits that flatbeds offer:  

  • ACCESSIBILITY: The ease of access allows for freight to be loaded without trouble. Freight can be loaded from the back, side and tap. This makes loading freight of unconventional dimensions and weight more feasible. 
  • USABILITY: Flatbeds allow for a wider range of usage. Large LTL loads that cannot fit in a dry van can be accommodated easier on a flatbed. Freight is secured using tarps and straps. Drivers are trained on proper loading and unloading techniques, ensuring a safe and reliable transportation process. 
  • WIDESPREAD OPTIONS: Flatbeds come in several different types. Some of these include drop deck, step-deck or removable gooseneck. Freight can be matched up with a trailer that offers the proper characteristics for the commodity. Weight and dimensions play a significant factor in the trailer type and it is important to provide the exact numbers to ensure a smooth process. 
  • Durability: Flatbeds are built to last. Due to the types of equipment and materials that are placed on flatbeds, it is important that the trailers are build to take the weight and impact of what they are carrying. 

Common Uses of Flatbeds

Construction

The pandemic has brought a lot of change and has uplifted certain aspects of the economy. The construction industry has grown and with that, high quantities of materials have shipped to job sites. This was a perfect storm for the flatbed industry, which has always put focus on construction-related commodities. The following are some examples of what is shipped on these flatbeds:

  • Lumber
  • Rebar
  • Piping
  • Steel

Automotive 

Flatbed trucks are frequently used to move vehicles. The easy access of a flatbed allows vehicles to be driven onto the trailers. Non-operational vehicles can be lifted onto a flatbed using a wheel loader and car forks. Flatbeds also have the weight capacity to handle any non-commercial vehicle. 

Heavy Machinery

Flatbeds are a key component in the moving of equipment and heavy machinery. Due to the size and weight of heavy machinery, enclosed trailers are not a viable option. With the help of straps and other loading equipment, machinery can be safely loaded and unloaded.

Oversize Loads

Oversize loads are where flatbed trailers are very important. Some freight is unable to fit into the constraints of the regulations but still needs to be moved. With special approval, flatbed trailers are used to move freight that would usually be too large to move over the road. The most common reason that that freight is considered oversized is due to the width. Anything that passes the 8.5feet wide is considered oversized and shipments that exceed 12 feet wide may require one to two pilot vehicles in front or behind the vehicle. With the various flatbed configurations available, freight that seems unmovable becomes movable, a major benefit of flatbeds.

Superloads

Superloads are similar to and are in the same category as oversize loads but are much larger and come with various approvals and permits in order to occur. A superload passes an oversize load in one or more of height, width, length or weight. They are usually loads of very large equipment or parts that are found on some of the largest vehicles or structures. It is rare to see a superload on the roads but when you do, they are hard to miss. 

Types of Flatbed Trailers

Standard Flatbed

Standard flatbeds are the most identifiable type. They are a simple flat deck with no special characteristics. They are used to move freight that doesn’t need much protection from the elements.

Standard Dimensions

  • Length: 48-53ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Extendable Flatbed

Extendable flatbeds offer the same height and width capabilities of a standard flatbed but can be extended up to 80ft. They are designed for freight that is too long to fit on a standard flatbed.

Standard Dimensions

  • Length: 48-80ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Single Drop Flatbed

Single drop deck, also known as drop deck trailers are flatbeds that have a lowered deck. The reason for this is that they can hold taller freight and still stay within the regulations.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 11ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Lowered Deck:

  • Length: 37ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 10ft

Extendable Single Drop Flatbed

Extendable single-drop trailers are designed for freight that is too long for a standard length step deck. The main deck of a single drop extended flatbed can be stretched to 63ft.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 10ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Main Deck

  • Length: 35-63ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 10ft

Double Drop Flatbed

The double drop trailer is very similar to a single drop trailer but as the name suggests, has two drop points. The first drop is after the gooseneck, the second before the back wheels. Sometimes referred to as lowboy trailers, due to how low they can be to the ground, allowing for maximum height capabilities.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 10ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Main Deck:

  • Length: 25-29ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 11.5ft

Rear Deck:

  • Length: 9ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 10ft

 

Extendable Double Drop Flatbed

Extendable double drop trailers are designed for freight that needs a higher clearance but is too long to haul on a standard double drop trailer. The main deck of a single drop extended flatbed can be stretched to 50ft.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 10ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Main Deck

  • Length: 29-50ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 11.5ft

Rear Deck

  • Length: 9ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 10ft

Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)

Removable gooseneck trailers are a key component of the heavy hauling industry. The front of the trailer detaches, creating a ramp for loads to be driven onto the trailer. RGN trailers can be configured with 20x axles, meaning they can carry freight up to 150,000 pounds.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 10ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 8.5ft

Main Deck:

  • Length: 29ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 11.5ft

Rear Deck:

  • Length: 9ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 10ft

Stretch Removable Gooseneck Trailers

The stretch removable gooseneck trailer is designed to carry loads that are too long for a standard length RGN. Stretch RGN’s are used to haul some of the heaviest loads on the road today, with some carrying over 150,000 pounds. Axles on a stretch RGN range from 3 to 20+ with the number being dependent on the weight of the freight.

Standard Dimensions

Front Deck:

  • Length: 29-65ft
  • Width: 8.5ft
  • Height: 11.5ft

Conclusion

The important of flatbeds in the transportation industry is almost immeasurable. They provide solutions to many issues and are at the heart of various industries globally. The equipment and materials that are transported on flatbeds are used for the continuous development of our cities today.

We thank you for your time and we are always open to answer any questions. Reach out to us today through operations@wood-hall.com or give us a call at 519-213-1000!

-The Team at Wood-Hall Logistics

About Us

Wood-Hall Logistics is a full-service logistics and freight management company, offering a range of transportation solutions, based on the customer's specific needs. Built on our reputation within the transportation industry and our network of quality carriers, Wood-Hall Logistics ensures that all shipments are handled with utmost care. Ship with us today!

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