Finding the right Fit for Your Supersized Load

Flatbed Shipping & Heavy Haul Trucking

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When you need to ship cargo and the load you face that will not fit within the inner dimensions of a dry van, the solution is an open-deck trailer. 

However, there is a wide range of open-deck trailers available, and the options go far beyond — those provided by flatbed shipping trucking company.

Something to note: Not every open deck is considered a flatbed.

This is significant because the many open deck variations available are specifically designed to support specific freight which can vary in price.

When you need to ship cargo that will not fit within the inner dimensions of a dry van, the solution is an open-deck trailer or depending on the size heavy haul trucking

However, there is a wide range of open-deck trailer types available, and the options go far beyond — those provided by flatbed freight companies.


Open Deck Flatbed Shipping Trailers


The language used by flatbed shipping companies  and in construction logistics heavy haul trucking can be confusing.

Alternative words that mean the same thing are frequent. While there may be minor differences between such types of models open deck trailers, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Flatbeds with Straight Frames

Found to be up to 53 feet, BA straight frame flatbed offers the largest space.

Because it’s at loading dock height if you are collecting or shipping from a dock, a straight frame is a good solution.

If you are looking to transport mining equipment or construction equipment heavy load, a flatbed trailer could be ideal because it can haul the heaviest of weight of all.

Furthermore, due to the limitations of offloading dry vans, if the shipment is considered a wide load or quite high.Flatbed & Heavy Haul Shipping Trailers

It will not fit in a dry van. A straight-frame flatbed freight load the best option as it is easily offloaded with a crane or forklift.

To be noted: Vehicles are unable to roll on a standard straight frame, and depending on where the shipment is transported from such as China Canada shipment arriving at port as high-profile freight might require oversized load permits.

Single drop, drop deck, and step deck trailers are different from a straight frame flatbed, this trailer is layered and has a higher top deck as well as a lower bottom deck. 

Advantages: Taller cargo can be legally shipped on the bottom deck particularly if the trailer is running on low profile tires, you can add up to 2 feet in height of your cargo when compared to a straight frame flatbed.

When compared to 8 feet 6 inches on a straight frame flatbed, excluding low profile tires, your shipment can be 10 feet 2 inches high. 

Low profile tires certainly can give extra height when needed. 

Disadvantages: traditional 53-foot step deck trailer loading space on the bottom deck has 43′ and the top deck is 10′.

As they are layered, they have less space than a straight-frame flatbed.

Double Drop, RGN Trailers and Lowboys

Advantages:  “Double drop trailers” and “lowboys” are interchangeable words, essentially the same trailer but removable gooseneck trailers (RGNs) have a removable neck that allows the vehicles to drive directly upon it.

Disadvantages: Less continuous load space and also heavier than other trailer types, which in some heavy-haul shipping applications may ay cause routing issues

The Most Common Modifications to Open Deck Trailers  are based on weight and height regardless of open deck trailer type.

For a heavy loads, additional axles are required to distribute the weight. The application of sliding tandem axles to meet state-specific axle-spacing rules.

If the load height is an important factor, other trailer type are used to adjust as needed.

Open deck trailers can be modified in a variety of ways to lower risk, with shorter loads to keep it legal and safe by reducing the time and avoiding costs involved in obtaining oversized load permits, and avoiding issues with height restrictions en route.

Straight-frame flatbed shipping trailers are mostly 48 feet long. For more continuous loading space,  are 53-foot straight-frame flatbeds. 

RGNs trailers and double drop trailers will stretch beyond 53 feet. 

Step deck & Drop deck Conestogas have rolling tarp systems to protect freight from the elements and/or are used for security-sensitive loads to maintain confidentiality.

"Know When to Call on Specialized Trailers”

Even with available changes, it is not always possible to rely on one of the aforementioned popular trailer types. Therefore, top transport companies also have open-deck trucks built to transport specialized equipment.

For instance, at Paige Logistics, we provide substantial long haul support for shipping from Canada to the USA with cargo shipping and mining equipment shipping and have specialized trailers, such Schnable tower trailers or Blade trailers, for these projects.

Some carriers have 19-axle steerable trailers to transport exceptionally huge and heavy cargoes up to 200,000 pounds.

How to Ensure You Have the Appropriate Equipment to Transport your Load?

Because there are so many types of open deck trailers and so many ways to customize them to meet your specific requirements, it’s always important to rely on a professional carrier to assist you to choose the correct equipment.

Experienced carriers with a varied selection of trailers will assist you in staying within your budget, maximizing your profitability, maintaining your schedule, minimizing cargo damage, and pleasing your clients.

There are a number of specific ways in which a carrier should assist you in selecting the most efficient mode of transport for your unique load. 

If you intend to move a significant piece of equipment that has never been shipped before, it is always advisable to determine the size with a freight class calculator and then contact a flatbed shipping carrier or heavy haul carrier during the engineering phase.

Transportation is generally the last thing on an engineer’s mind, but working closely with a specialized flatbed shipping company or the heavy haul carrier throughout the design phase could prevent you from having to transport an oversized and expensive superload.

The correct carrier will not only assist you in selecting the proper equipment but will also work directly with carriers to adapt trailers so that your equipment may be transported as efficiently and affordably as feasible.

At Paige Logistics, we urge any company with overseas-manufactured equipment to collaborate with a carrier throughout the manufacturing phase to determine: 


Contents details


maximum Dimensions


maximum weight

Top Flatbed Shipping carriers have in-house permitting teams whose sole responsibility is to assist with securing and managing permissions.

Permitting, timing and cost estimates will be more precise if carriers are provided with more information upfront.

Multiple trailer types can be adjusted to suit the same load, therefore this information will also enable a heavy haul carrier to plan strategically.

Sometimes it is necessary to utilize the available resources.

Pricing is not fixed. After transporting a load, many carriers will return with a higher, final charge than the initial estimate.

Other carriers will submit additional fees for goods such as fuel that were not included in the original quote.

Carriers must always provide the most qualified drivers and well-kept trailers.

All transportation, whether legal or excessive, can be complicated, so reputable organizations must provide substantial Driver training programs.

Carriers should begin each Driver’s employment by allowing them to transport legal-sized loads, and only when they reach certain benchmarks should they be allowed to transport increasingly heavy and enormous loads.

For this reason, the majority of Paige Logistics Heavy Haul Drivers have decades of experience prior to transporting 19-axle loads.

Extensive Driver training programs are equally as necessary as stringent maintenance schedules.

Be it shipping from Canada to California,the best heavy-hauling companies should always have vast, diverse trailer pools to accommodate these stringent maintenance schedules.

This assures that it is always available and there are never any emergency repairs.

As a shipper, you should always inquire about prospective carriers’ maintenance schedules.

Although it may seem obvious, many carriers do not regularly service their trailers.

What You Can Do to Assist Specialized Flatbed and Heavy-Load Carriers in Serving You?

While reputable carriers will do their utmost to locate the appropriate open deck trailer for your needs, sometimes a picture (or a drawing) is worth a thousand words.

A design or photograph of your consignment will assist carriers to establish precisely which trailer type and load securement points are required.

If a customer had merely provided the rough crane’s measurements (12 feet tall and 40 feet long), a carrier would have assumed a significantly longer trailer or inserts were required.

A carrier might tell from a photograph of the equipment that 20 feet of the cargo are a boom that can stretch over the trailer’s deck and does not require well space.

Therefore, instead of requiring 40 feet of continuous wall space, the cargo only requires 20 feet of continuous good space, which drastically modifies the trailer arrangement required and minimizes the cost and duration of the shipping.

There are several factors to consider when selecting an open deck trailer for a shipment.

As there are numerous trailer kinds and multiple ways to change each, there are typically numerous ways to handle each problem.

Your carrier should assist you in making the best final decisions, but in the interim, here is a quick reference to assist you in selecting the best knowledge base on worldwide shipping trailer equipment for your shipments.

If you have any queries about our flatbed or heavy haul transportation solutions, please contact us.

Now learn the difference between reefer trailer vs. dry van

Alexander Crane
Alexander Crane

Author & Chief Executive Officer at Paige Logistics Ltd. → Experienced Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Transportation, Trucking and the Railroad Industry.