When it comes to shipping your loads or goods, there will be times when the standard trailers or trucks won’t work. Some freight either doesn’t need or can’t have the enclosure of a dry van trailer. Some can’t be loaded or unloaded from a dock. And still others won’t fit within the dimensions of standard truck trailers.
This is where flatbeds and step deck trailers come in to meet the needs of oversized and over-dimensional loads. But what’s the difference? And is one more beneficial than the other? Let’s break down these two heroes of the freight shipping world.
Advantages of Flatbed Freight Shipping
The style of a flatbed maximizes versatility for large freight because there aren’t any physical walls. A flat bed is exactly what it sounds like – it’s basically the flat bottom portion of a trailer. When thinking of a dry van trailer that’s fully enclosed on all sides with one open access door at the rear, a flatbed truck can be loaded from any angle.
Flatbeds being so versatile makes them very easy to work with. Depending on the freight being shipped, flatbeds can be loaded by forklifts, cranes, or other equipment. Just about any manner of large freight can be suitable for a flatbed and benefit from the vast options available for making the shipment work.
Flatbed shipping is a master at moving bulky equipment, machinery, pipes, steel, and rigs, making it a main feature of industrial shipping. In most cases, standard dimensions for freight that a flatbed trailer can handle are up to 160 feet long, 18 feet tall and wide, and about 200,000 pounds. As long as external weather factors aren’t a concern, flatbed shipping can make the over-dimensional shipments a breeze.
Advantages of Step Deck Freight Shipping
A step deck trailer is a form of a flatbed trailer in that it has no sides, roof, or doors. Where a step deck differs is that it has two deck levels. The higher, shorter one is positioned closer to the front of the trailer where the tractor hitch is located. The lower, longer one makes up the rest of the trailer length.
Step deck trailers are typically considered to have a few advantages over a traditional flatbed trailer. The first concerns height permits. This is often considered the biggest advantage because you can transport higher loads, in height, without having to apply for additional permits. Their specific design allows for large loads to be positioned lower down to avoid any height restrictions.
That specific design also comes in handy for the second big advantage: step decks are easier for forklifts to maneuver. Since the step deck trailer is lower to the ground, lifting heavy weight with a forklift is safer since the operator won’t have to lift their forks as high while moving the cargo.
Finally, step deck trailers are perfectly designed for transporting large machinery like construction and farm equipment. Large pieces of equipment can be loaded, positioned, and secured very easily.
Oversized and over-dimensional freight can be transported just as easily as more standard sized freight when you work with a shipper who’s confident in solving every puzzle presented by these shipments. Let our team of seasoned over-dimensional freight professionals make sure your needs are met with the best options for your freight moving safely and without surprises. Contact us today and experience the difference!