Companies that ship big items typically use flatbed trucks, especially if their item has to be towed or has an unusual shape. However, for companies that are shipping items for the first time, or who are looking into flatbeds or have just chosen to go the flatbed way, it’s important to consider two things:
- Flatbed trucks come in different shapes and dimensions. Some have just one flatbed, while others have two decks. You can take a look at the specs of each truck to see which one serves your purposes better.
- Individual flatbed trucks can vary slightly in their dimensions. So, use the dimensions here for rough calculations, but when it comes to accuracy or precision, talk to your shipper to avoid surprises.
Fortunately, due to our large fleet, we will be happy to help you choose one or more trucks that will meet your needs.
Types of Flatbed
There are several types of flatbed trucks, but for this article, we’ll focus on just two: the flatbed and a step deck. The first one, like it names implies, involves just a flat surface. The second one has a deck at the front that is smaller in size but higher in elevation than the rest of the platform.
A flatbed truck is usually 48 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and with an 8.5 foot load height. It’s maximum freight weight is 48,000 pounds.
A “single-drop” or step deck has two decks, an elevated one at the front and a much longer one at the back. The front deck is usually 11 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and with an 8.5 foot load height. The main deck is usually 37 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and with a 10 foot load height.
If you aren’t familiar with shipping trucks, then you might wonder if there is a difference in how each type is used. Actually, each is better suited to certain situations, although in some cases, it makes little difference.
In general, flatbed trucks are used for construction equipment, machinery, tubing, lumber and logs, and steel products. In general, they are more versatile, carry heavier loads (despite their technical specifications for weight being the same as single-drop decks). Their versatility also means that they get loads more frequently than single-drop trucks.
On the other hand, single-drops are used for tractors, large machinery, and heavy freight that’s 8 or 9 feet tall or even more. While not as versatile, they can carry taller freight due to their deck being closer to the ground. That lower height also makes it easier for forklifts to load the cargo onto the platform.
While you can use these specs as a guideline for estimates, you should work with your shipping agent at Nationwide to obtain accurate information about dimensions, load heights and weights, etc.
And finally, these two types of flatbeds are not the only types of shipping trucks, just the two most common. If you have questions about the type of load you want to ship and assistance selecting the best truck for your load, please call and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs.