Flatbed Shipping Services
Flatbed shipping is when freight is transported on an open trailer and is commonly used when the material being shipped does not need to be protected from the elements, although tarps can be laid down to offer some protection. Additionally, flatbed shipping is used for over dimensional freight and overweight freight. Flatbed shipping is used heavily within the metal and construction industries.
Benefits of Shipping with a Flatbed
- Open trailer – There are many things that can be loaded on a flatbed trailer that cannot be loaded on anything else. When you have something that is very difficult to move, such as farming equipment, military equipment, or entire buildings, then flatbed is the mode of transport you are going to want to use.
- Easability – Flatbed trucks are very easy to load since they can be accessed from any angle. Unlike other trailers, with flatbed you have a variety of methods to get your shipment onto the trailer; overhead, from the side, or from above with a crane.
- Additional Weight – Because a flatbed trailer has no walls or ceiling the trailer itself is lighter which means the cargo being loaded can go up to 48,000 pounds (as opposed to the usual 42,000-45,000). These benefits also allow for over dimensional freight.
Factors That Impact Shipping Flatbed Freight
Flatbed freight quotes are impacted by a number of factors. First, flatbed shipping is used in a variety of industries. Therefore, it is important to know how each industry impacts the market so you can work around peak times. Doing so allows you to get the best pricing you can. Below are some additional factors related to flatbed that you should consider when working on your freight budget.
- Special Loading Provisions – Any additional requests such as tarps or blocking bracing come with an additional charge that will be included in the shipping price. It is important to communicate all relevant information early so that the driver knows if they have to do anything special.
- Seasonality – Seasonality plays a big role in the flatbed market. Once spring hits and the weather starts to clear up construction season starts. This results in a higher demand for flatbeds across the market which drives up the price.
Information Needed for a Flatbed Quote
When requesting a quote for your flatbed freight it is important to include a couple of key things so that there are no surprises along the way. As always, you want to include the origin, destination and total weight but you also want to make sure to include the dimensions of what is being shipped as well as any kind of special loading provisions, this is so that there are no surprises along the way and the delivery goes smoothly for everyone.
Specialty Flatbed Services
Flatbed has a lot of variations, there are many types of flatbed trailers and they all have their situations that they are used for. Listed below are some of the more common special flatbed variations:
- Step Deck – A step deck flatbed trailer is when the trailer drops down after 10 feet or so, this allows you to ship over dimensional freight that would otherwise be too tall to ship.
- Double Drop – A double drop trailer allows for taller shipments. A double drop trailer dips down below the axles in between the wheels which means it can get very low.
- Removable Gooseneck (RGN) – Removable gooseneck trailers or RGNs are trailers that can be shifted so that the cargo can be rolled off or so that a vehicle can drive up onto the trailer.
- Conestoga – A conestoga trailer is a flatbed/dry van hybrid. A conestoga is a flatbed trailer with an accordion like tarp on one of the ends, which allows you to load the trailer like a flatbed but then you can unscrunch the tarp which then completely protects the shipment from the elements.
Tips for Flatbed Shipping
Know how your cargo is going to loaded and unloaded, will a rigging crew be needed? Crane? These are all price important questions that you should keep in mind when looking around for a flatbed truck provider. Additionally, you should know if and how your shipment needs to be tarped and secured. Overall, you just want to be sure to communicate as much information as possible with the logistics company you are working with, this ensures that there will be no surprises along the way.
- Can freight shipped on flatbed be protected from the elements?
Absolutely, there are countless ways to ensure that the freight being shipped is properly protected. The cheapest and easiest solution is to cover it in tarps which then get secured to the trailer. There are additional options such as conestoga and curtain side.
- How much weight can be loaded onto a flatbed trailer?
The answer to this varies widely and changes according to the circumstances. The standard maximum amount that can be loaded on is 48,000 pounds but there are times where you can go over this it just requires additional permits and specialty equipment. The same goes for certain over dimensional freight that exceeds 8.5 feet wide.
- What type of equipment do you have access to?
Becker Logistics has a large and robust flatbed carrier network that we use to ensure that our customer’s needs are met and their shipment is delivered on time and in good condition.