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Flatbed Trailer Types

Flatbed Transport Trailers

Flatbed equipment comes in even more flavours than Enclosed trailers.  Flatbed trucking is considered somewhat specialised and drivers hauling this type of equipment need to have a certain skillset for securing and balancing freight.

Flatbeds are “Open-Deck” trailers with no walls for roof.  Freight loaded onto these trailers range from heavy duty equipment, vehicles, machines lumber and just about everything else you can’t fit into a Dry Van.  Flatbeds can also be unloaded from the top & sides which makes them ideal on construction sites and crane load/unload applications.  The most common flatbed trailer configurations are as follows:

48’-53’ Straight-Frame

Similar to Dry Vans the early models of flatbed trailers were limited to 48’ length.  With so many of them on still on the road it is still a good idea to assume this is the length you will be getting.

These trailers are completely open with a long flat deck slightly arched in the middle.  These trailers are usually equipped with Straps of chains to secure the freight they carry.    Flatbeds are also equipped with heavy-duty tarps to protect freight from the elements.  

Step-Deck Trailers

Companies hauling flatbed freight are constantly monitoring and assessing the dimensions of the cargo they are hauling.  Since flatbed freight does not fit into a pre-defined space like dry van or straight truck freight, drivers must ensure the freight does not exceed local regulations.

Step-Decks are similar to Straight-Frame flatbeds except that have a “Step Down” to lower the height of the trailer deck to accommodate taller shipments. The higher portion of the trailer referred to as the “kick” is usually about 11’ in length.  The rest of the lowered part  of the trailer is about 37+ feet.  

B-Train Flatbeds

Unlike enclosed B-trains, Flatbed B-trains are usually used for the purpose of hauling excess weight.  By spreading out the weight of a load two trailers shippers are able to load up to 90,000 lbs. on a single shipment.  You can commonly see this equipment used for hauling lumber, steel and any other very dense heavy product.

Lowboy / RGN Trailers

How do you load a heavy excavator on a trailer?  You drive it on!  Lowboy or RGN (Removable Goose Neck) trailers are designed so the bed of the trailer can separate from the front “goose neck that connects it to the truck.  Once this separation is made, a vehicle or heavy piece of equipment can be driven on.  Once on the goose-neck re-attaches and raises the trailer off the ground.

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