Getting to Know Flatbed Shipping

LTX Inbound Freight Management

Flatbed shipping is a form of transportation for transporting freight that either cannot easily fit within a truck or freight that may prove to be difficult to load or unload from one dock to the next. Flatbeds are designed not only for providing an unconfined space for freight, but is also makes loading and unloading of goods much simpler.

But did you know that not everyone fully comprehends or even makes use of flatbed shipping options as often as they should? That’s right, most people view it as an unviable shipping option, but if the truth be told, it is just one of the diamonds in the rough of the shipping industry.

So today, we are going to be talking a little bit about what flatbed shipping is and what exactly it entails.

Since we have already summed up what flatbed shipping is, in a nutshell, let’s look at a few of the biggest benefits of flatbed shipping and what are the most common questions asked about this shipping method… 

Here are a few of the biggest benefits of flatbed shipping

  • Dimensional Flexibility - Flatbed shipping provides a flexibility that traditional shipping methods such as delivery by van or box truck simply cannot compete with. When shipping freight by truck, your freight must meet certain dimensional requirements as there is only going to be so much room available in the truck. With flatbed shipping, there are no walls or confined spaces to worry about.
  • Versatility - Loading or unloading a flatbed trailer is much easier and faster than loading a truck. Due to the fact that there are no walls, a flatbed trailer can be loaded from all sides as well as from above (extremely useful when the use of a crane or other lifting machinery is required) shaving off valuable time spent loading freight. In comparison, trucks can only be loaded from the back which makes larger freight a bit harder to get in and out of the truck. Avoid killing your loading times by considering flatbed shipping.
  • Security – Did you know that when your freight is transported by truck it is less secure than when it is shipped via a flatbed trailer? Since goods that are being delivered on a flatbed are exposed to the elements during the journey to its destination, flatbed shippers take extra precautions to make sure that their cargo is as secure as possible. Coil racks, chains, and traps are all utilized to prevent damage or loss of goods along the way. 

What Are The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Flatbed Shipping?

  • What are the dimensions of a typical flatbed trailer? - A flatbed trailer that is considered legal is usually right around about  48’ in length and roughly 8.5’ in width. Of course, that is not taking into consideration varying deck lengths  for the inclusion of things like step decks, double drops and RNGs (removable goose necks). When it comes to loading a flatbed trailer, you will need know the maximum height and width that are allowed on whatever roadways your freight will be traveling on (this is where a good route planning system will come in quite handy).
  • What types of flatbeds are available? – When it comes time to choose a flatbed on which to ship your freight, you will be met with a few different choices. One of the biggest decisions you will need to make will be what type of flatbed is going to work best to meet your shipping needs. The most common flatbed trailers used to transport goods includelegal flatbeds, step decks, double drops and RGNs.
  • Am I required to cover freight with a tarp on flatbed shipments? -  While many flatbeds may require you to cover everything with a tarp, it is not a universal requirement. It is always a good idea to make sure that your driver comes with a tarp just in case; you never know when a surprise rainstorm might hit while your goods are still an hour away from the destination.
  • Is any additional equipment or materials required for flatbed shipping? – It is always the wisest decision to make sure your driver knows exactly what they will be transporting for you so that they can bring all the proper equipment with them. If you want it covered, request a tarp. If you feel that the freight might need additional securing or protection from sliding around, ask that they secure it with chains and apply corner protectors if necessary.

Final Thoughts

If you are trying to decide the best shipping option for your freight that defies standard measurements, we highly recommend that you consider flatbed shipping.

In this article, we have outlined some of the more commonly asked questions and concerns that people have in regards to this shipping option, and we hope that it will help get you moving in the right direction.

Remember, if you are knowledgeable about the freight you are shipping, understand the options available to you, and you select the right people to work with, your shipping efforts will not only go smoother, but you will also save valuable time and a lot of money.

Still not sure where to begin? Reach out to us here at Redwood Logistics and let us show you what we can do for you today!