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What Moves Your Freight? A Visual Guide to the Top 8 Trailer Types on the Market

Posted by Mihlfeld & Associates on Jan 25, 2019 7:55:00 AM

Any shipping manager will tell you that no two shipments are alike. 

A shipment of bubble wrap will not be treated the same as a shipment of heavy construction equipment which in turn will not be treated the same as a shipment of cellphone parts. Nor should they be treated the same.

Every shipment deserves its own setup and every shipper knows, choosing the right mode of transportation is the first step to shipping any freight. And if the mode of choice happens to be LTL or TL, this is the article for you.

Luckily, even though no two shipments are alike, the number of different trailer types is limited.

The top 8 most common trailer types:

  1. Standard Dry Van
  2. Straight Truck-Bobtail
  3. Pup-Trailer
  4. Reefer-Refrigerated 
  5. Flat Bed
  6. Step-Deck
  7. Conestoga
  8. Lowboy Flatbed

1. Standard Dry VanStandard Utility Dry Van Trailer

Most commonly used for palletized, boxed, & crated shipments, the Standard Dry Van is the most widely used trailer on the market today.

Exterior Dimensions: L: 636" W: 102" H: 162"

Max Weight: 45,000lbs.

Rear Door Dimensions: W: 92"-98" H: 92"-102"

Options: Roll Door, Swing Doors (Sizes vary) 

2. Straight Truck - Bobtailstraight truck2

All axles, cab, and cargo are part of the same chassis. Commonly used for small loads and "hotshot" shipments. 

Exterior Dimensions:  L: 264"-312" W: 96"-102" H: 150"-162"

Max Weight: 15,000lbs.

Rear Door Dimensions: W: 91" H: 89"


3. Pup-TrailerPup trailer-1-1

Shorter, sigle axle version of the Dry Van; used for common freight shipments with truck size restrictions.

Exterior Dimensions: L: 336" W: 102" H: 162"

Max Weight: 22,000lbs.

Rear Door Dimensions: W: 92"-98" H: 92"-102"

Options: Roll Door, Swing Doors (Sizes vary) 

4. Reefer - RefrigeratedRefrigerated-Trailers-Hyundai-HT-REEFER-53-FT-DRY-VAN-11703980

Dry Van or Pup-Trailer fitted with a diesel powered refrigeration unit on the front to make the whole trailer a portable icebox. Used for hauling food, produce, and other freight that requires climate control.

All Specs: The same as Dry Van and Pup-Trailer

The dimensions given vary for all configurations of the Dry Vans, Straight Trucks, and Pup-Trailers

5. FlatbedStandard Flatbed Trailer

Used to transport cargo that won't fit on a standard sized trailer or would be inconvenient to have in an enclosed area. 

Average Dimensions: L: 240" - 636"  W: 98"-102"

Max Weight: 48,000lbs.

Max Load Dimensions: W x H: 102" x 102"

6. Step-DeckStep Deck Goose Neck

Shares the same length and width dimensions as the Flatbed. However, the deck height is lowered by 20" allowing for taller max load dimensions.

Max Load Dimensions: W x H: 102" x 122"

7. Conestogahome-call-conestoga.jpg

A hybrid between a Dry Van and a Flatbed. Built on a frame sharing the same dimensions as the Flatbed or Step-Deck, the vinyl walls and/or roof are retractable allowing cargo to be loaded from the side or top. The cargo will stay protected from the elements during transit.

All Specs: Same as Flatbed but height of Dry Van

8. Lowboy - FlatbedLowBoy

Designed to haul tall, heavy loads, the well of the Lowboy trailer sits very low to the ground. The Lowboy hauls loads that would be over legal limit for a regular Flatbed. Also offered in a RGM (Removable Goose Neck) configuration. 

Max Weight: 40,000lbs. (2 axles) - 80,000lbs.

Max Well Length: 288"- 354"

Max Load Dimensions: W x H: 102" x 144"

There you have it. The top 8 trailers that your company can use to ship your freight. An effective supply chain is vital to the success of any product-based company. Choosing the right trailer for your freight will drastically effect the cost effectiveness and convenience of your shipping processes, keeping your freight on the road and your product in the hands of your customers.

Topics: Logistics Management

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We specialize in custom solutions for transportation management, software, cost reduction, invoice processing, and much more. In short, we exist to save your company money on transportation and logistics. We hope this blog helps you in your journey toward better transportation practices.

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