Tag Archives: flatbed shipping

How Flatbed Shippers Can Benefit From a 3PL

Flatbed shipments are essential for industrial businesses. Large and overweight freight requires advanced management due to its complex nature. With increased safety requirements, the need for better visibility into the supply chain and proper shipment analysis are all essential for successful flatbed shipping. To eliminate all the challenges and optimize flatbed shipping processes, companies can turn to 3PL’s.

Third-party logistics providers can be extremely beneficial to flatbed shippers, since they can take care of planning, procurement, monitoring, documentation, providing skilled carriers and top equipment, and more.

Flatbed shipping benefits from working with a 3PL

Technology

First and foremost, flatbed shipments require precise and often customized tracking. 3PL’s leverage resources and technology to provide customized monitoring of your freight, and keep all data organized in a transportation management system (TMS). Integrated processes lead to better efficiency and eliminate the probability of disruptions. 3PL technology allows conducting narrowly specific cost analysis on any chosen mode or part of the supply chain. This way, shippers can improve their decision making when it comes to optimizing costs and processes in flatbed shipping. Apart from that, third party logistics provider takes care of tracking and tracing, and with their technology, you can get the latest updates in real-time.

Expertise

When it comes to large shipments and volumes, freight and transportation management become complex and multi-angled. 3PL’s have resources to boost any required process within the supply chain, whether it is transportation, tracking and tracing, data analysis and optimization, route management, procurement, etc. With a 3PL, you can have a dedicated team of professionals and a tailored suite of offered services for your particular business needs.

Risk management

Safety and risk management are a primary concern for flatbed shippers. Oversize loads require various permits, and shippers need to stay up to date on the regulations on oversize freight. 3PL’s can ensure to provide you with the most recent information and help with all the necessary documentation.

Ultimately, 3PL’s can bring efficiency, convenience and reliability into your flatbed shipments with their industry expertise, technology, and resources.

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The 3 Main Types of Trailers: Flatbed, Stepdeck & Double Drop

Knowing the main types of trailers and their specifications will help shippers choose the right one to transport their freight. Although there are more than 14 types of trailers, specially designed to meet different custom shipping demands, we’ll focus on the 3 most common types of truckloads: Flatbed trailer, Step Deck trailer, and Double Drop Deck trailer.

types of trailersFLATBED TRAILER

The flatbed trailer is a type of open deck equipment with no sides and no roof, mainly used for transporting industrial commodities. The flatbed trailer is very versatile, making them a common asset for carriers. It is a basic form trailer, with no sides or roof, providing quick and easy loading and unloading.  Common uses include heavy loads that are not perishable, delicate or vulnerable to precipitation – since there is no cover to protect the freight.

Examples of Typical Cargo for Flatbed Trailer:

  • Construction equipment
  • Machinery
  • Tubing
  • Lumber
  • Scaffolding
  • Steel products

Flatbed Trailer Dimensions:

  • Capacity:   Max. Freight Weight 48,000 lbs
  • Length of 48 feet
  • Width 8.5 feet (102″)
  • Height 8.5 feet (102″)

STEP DECK TRAILER

Step Deck trailer, or Drop Deck trailer, is an open type of trailer with two deck levels: upper deck and lower deck that drops down after clearing the tractor unit. Generally, step deck trailers can haul taller loads than Flatbed trailers and often have ramps for unloading. They also tend to be safer for forklift pickup, due to the fact that they are closer to the ground.

Examples of Typical Cargo for Step Deck Trailer:

  • Tractors
  • Machinery
  • Heavy freight that is over 9 feet tall

Step Deck Trailer Dimensions:

Capacity:   Max. Freight Weight 48.000 lbs.

Lower Deck  Max. Dims. Upper Deck    Max. Dims.
Length 37 feet Length  11 feet
 Width 8.5 feet (102″)  Width 8.5 feet (102″)
Height 10 feet (120″) Height 8.5 feet (102″)

DOUBLE DROP DECK TRAILER

Double Drop Deck is a longer piece of a trailer, called a “well”, in the middle that dips below trailer axles. The well ranges from 25 to 29 feet, making it ideal for taller, shorter freight. Double Drop Deck trailers usually have 2 or more axles, and a “Flip axle”, which can flip up and lay on the deck or flip-down and create extra axle for balancing weight. Double Drop trailers are used for oversized freight that is taller than 10 feet.

Examples of typical cargo for Double Drop Trailer:

  • Construction equipment
  • Forklifts
  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Tanks

Double Drop Deck Trailer Dimensions:

Capacity:   Max. Freight Weight 45.000 lbs.

Well Max. Dims. Front Deck Max. Dims. Rear Deck Max. Dims.
Length 29 feet Length 10 feet Length 9 feet
Width 8.5 feet (102″) Width  8.5 feet (102″) Width 8.5 feet (102″)
Height 11.5 feet (138″) Height 8.5 feet (102″) Height 10 feet (120″)

 

Since there are variations in terms of capacity and dimensions within each trailer type, the numbers provided above should be used only as a guideline.  For more information on these and other trailer equipment requirements and specifications, download our Trailer Equipment Guide today.

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Flatbed Shipping: 6 Facts

What is a Flatbed?

Flatbed is a piece of transportation equipment in the form of open trailer with sides and no roo. Flatbed shipping is a mode of trucking that suggests moving freight in an open, no-roof trailer. Flatbed trailers are typically used for industrial freight that is oversized and overweight. Flatbed shipping can be a great resource for many companies to use for their shipments.

Here are 6 flatbed shipping facts you should know

  1. Flatbed shipping is highly dependent on the weather. It is a cyclical and seasonal business, dependent upon construction and capital expenditures. This makes fleet optimization very difficult for flatbed carriers as it is hard to keep all drivers busy during off seasons, while still maintaining enough drivers to handle large volumes of freight during the peak season.
  1. There are more than 14 types of flatbed trucks, but flatbed, step deck, and double drop deck are the three most common types of flatbed trailers. Flatbed trailers are versatile, making them a common asset for carriers. Step-deck trailers can haul taller loads than flatbed trailers, usually, have a ramp for loading/unloading, and tend to be safer for forklift pickup. Double drop deck trailers have extra axles for better balance, have a 25-29 foot well to hold freight, and are used to haul flatbed freight that’s over 10 feet tall.
  1. Typical flatbed freight includes auto parts, construction equipment, excavators, generators, lumber, mining/drilling equipment, solar panels, tubing, and steel.flatbed shipping facts
  1. Flatbed shipping gets tricky with over-dimensional freight, such as a crane. Certain over dimensional flatbed shipments need pilot vehicles, lights, and signs designating oversize freight, and/or proper cargo securement procedures.
  1. Cargo securement is a big issue in flatbed shipping. FMCSA has a lengthy section of rules for securement, even taking the time to write commodity-specific requirements on working load limits and blocking and bracing. The rules go through just about every type of cargo and method of cargo securement to demonstrate their appropriate uses. Obviously, insecure cargo is a serious safety hazard, especially while decelerating or accelerating in reverse.
  2. The intersection of I-20/59 and I-65 in Alabama is known as “Malfunction Junction”. It is an odd intersection as the two roads cross over each other twice. Since 1987, there have been approximately 30 accidents at this site caused by dropped cargo from flatbed trucks (and several more from tankers). Often it’s steel coils that fell off during a rollover, jackknife or from a securement failure. The accidents have caused serious damage to the highway, costing up to $300,000 per incident, and a lot of flatbed freight is purposely routed around the area.

What to Read Next:

A Helpful Guide to Over Dimensional Flatbed Shipments

When flatbed shipping dimensions are more than the standard legal size, then the shipment is considered over-dimensional. Shippers have to pay attention to their freight’s weight and dimensions, especially if it will be shipped on an over-dimensional flatbed trailer.

What are flatbed shipping dimensions?

A legal flatbed trailer’s load cannot exceed 8’6 high, 8’6 wide, 48’ long with an average weight around 45,000 pounds, but not more than 80,000 pounds. With traditional flatbed trailers, the driver’s view is not obstructed.

What are over-dimensional flatbed shipments?

Over dimensional flatbed trailers can handle freight as long as 160’ long, 18’ high, 18’ wide and about 200,000 pounds. Over dimensional flatbeds have between 18 and 40 wheels. More often than not, over-dimensional freight obstructs a driver’s view in several ways. In this scenario, certified pilots would be needed to cover the front and rear of the trailer. They would stay in constant communication with the driver to ensure the shipment goes smoothly.flatbed shipping dimensions

Information shippers must know before obtaining over-dimensional trailer capacity:

  • Exact dimensions
  • Total weight
  • Address of origin and destination
  • Type of cargo
  • Time in transit

If dimensions are off, it could cost the shipper thousands of dollars in transportation fees, especially if the shipment is passing through several state lines. Listing the wrong dimensions or weight could even lead to the use of improper equipment, which can be dangerous and/or lead to even bigger fines.

Rules change for over-dimensional freight as the freight gets bigger or the carrier crosses state lines. The more specific information the shipper can offer to the carrier, the better. Over dimensional flatbed, permits are typically inexpensive but you need to ensure you have the correct ones.

What to Read Next:

To guarantee your over dimensional load is delivered on-time, every time, request a free freight assessment. We have pre-qualified, specialized carriers who have the right equipment for your oversized load. Want help shipping your freight? Contact us now!