Flatbed Shipping: Its Definition, Benefits, and Why Is It on the Rise?

Many industries, including construction, industrial, automotive, and military, rely on freight transportation to transport their equipment and supplies to their destination. Because most of these supplies are oversized and are oddly shaped, they don’t fit the size of a regular truck. Flatbed freight transportation is the solution to this problem.

What is Flatbed Shipping?

Flatbed shipping is a method to transport cargo, using flatbed trucks carrying heavy and oversized equipment, such as cranes and forklifts. Since these trucks don’t have walls, large freight fits. Unknown to many, flatbeds come in different forms across the four major shipping methods: ground, ocean, rail, and air. 

Flatbed truck dimensions are different depending on the specific truck and trucking type. However, tractor-trailer-sized flatbeds are typically between 48 feet and 53 feet long, and the standard width is 8 feet and 6 inches, though this can extend to 11 feet. Flatbed trucks carrying loads wider than 11 feet may need an escort vehicle. They can carry loads weighing up to 48 pounds.

The flatbed freight is usually project-based with seasonal demand. Because industries using it typically slow down in winter months, the demand for flatbed freight becomes normal at the end of the year. It’s because companies often need to finish shipping materials for projects before the holiday closures and before snow covers routes that slow down shipping.

What Items Can Be Shipped with a Flatbed Truck?

Flatbed trucks can ship almost anything, with the exception of items that elements can easily damage because they’re uncovered.

The most common things that are shipped suing flatbed shipping include:

  • Freight exceeding 100 inches in height or 100 inches in width
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Formed lumber, concrete items, construction materials, trusses, and large beams
  • Large machinery and equipment: backhoes, tractors, dozers, excavators, forklifts, and other construction, agricultural, manufacturing, and warehousing equipment
  • Any freight, which needs to be loaded by wench, crane, roll off-platform, forklift, etc.

Benefits of Flatbed Freight

Besides higher import demands, construction activities on the rise, booming oil and drilling, and other reasons, flatbed freight has benefits that’s why more industries are using it.

1. Easy Loading and Unloading of Cargo

Since flatbed trucks are uncovered or have no boxy wall, you don’t need to worry about obstacles. You can easily fit your items and use a forklift to load them up. It gives you complete freedom on what to put, even the most oversized goods.

2. Unloading without the Need of a Loading Dock

Flatbed trucking services don’t have any restrictions when it comes to a loading dock. Your goods can be delivered anywhere by the transportation company, including residential neighborhoods, large construction sites, etc. 

3. Secure and Safe Transport

Moving cargo through flatbed trucks is safer and more secure because the items are exposed. To prevent shifting during transportation, experts use chains, coil racks, traps, and others so that your freight will arrive at its destination unscathed.

4. Flatbed Trucking Services Allow Different Materials and Size

A flatbed truck enables you to transport a high volume of different materials in one trip. This is useful for moving oddly-shaped cargo, especially for those in the construction industry. Because of this, you can save from shipping costs and speed up completion time. Also, flatbed shipping allows you to transport not a full truck cargo that is very bulky.

Is Flatbed Shipping Expensive?

Well, it depends on the country you’re living in and where you are shipping to. The cost is affected by several factors such as:

  • How far is the loading and unloading points
  • The need for loading and unloading equipment like a loading platform or a crane
  • The need for additional services like chains and tarps
  • Any fees and permits that your cargo requires from local and national government offices
  • The type of flatbed truck you need
  • The weight and size of your load

To maximize the benefits of flatbed truck services, it’s always best to work with professionals who ensure your cargo’s timely delivery and safety. Also, you must know the type of flatbed trailers. Finally, before booking, ensure to know the dimensions, weight, commodity, and value of your shipment.