There are a variety of ways to utilize freight transportation. You can use an enclosed trailer if your goods need to be covered up, a temperature-controlled trailer for perishables, or even an open flatbed trailer. An open flatbed trailer allows for the transportation of a wider array of goods and equipment as opposed to the other options mentioned earlier.

Flatbed trucks are excellent for hauling large cargo or equipment, but there’s much more to them than carrying bulk loads. If you are not familiar with open flatbed shipping, this article will cover the basics for you. Let’s jump right in.


Why Flatbed Trailers and When Should You Use Them?

Flatbed trucks or trailers are the perfect choice when you are working with wide loads, bulk cargo, or oversized equipment. The open nature of flatbed trailers allows them to be loaded from any angle, which is perfect for situations where you need to load cargo with a crane.  This also makes them a good choice for hauling cargo from shipping terminals. You can use a flatbed to transport just about anything, provided it doesn’t need to be temperature controlled. You should use a flatbed when the cargo you want to haul won’t fit in a traditional dry van trailer.


Types of products shipped on flatbeds

The main benefit of flatbed trailers is that they don’t have the same space limits that come with dry vans or refrigerated shipping. This makes them an excellent option for oversized shipments, like heavy machinery. Here are some common examples of products and equipment that are normally shipped on flatbeds:

One caveat with flatbed trailers is that the cargo will be exposed to the elements. Depending on what you are hauling and its size, you could cover your goods with a tarp, but that might not always be an option.

Driving with a flatbed isn’t quite the same as driving other types of trailers or trucks due to the way a flatbed’s axles are distributed and the type of cargo they haul. backing up with a flatbed trailer is far more complex than backing up while operating other vehicles. Driving with a flatbed is also somewhat more dangerous, but only when cargo isn’t secured properly. Thus, this is a job that requires patience and meticulous care.

When it comes to loading goods onto a flatbed, there are many complexities such as understanding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), as well as considering where on the bed you are loading the most weight. Different areas of flatbeds have different ratings. In general, you want the center of gravity to be as low as possible. That means heavier items are placed near the rear of the bed and above the axles.

Since flatbeds are open, they can be loaded from any angle. Usually, cranes or forklifts are used to load cargo on top of the trailer.


Flatbed truck vs train (and Trailer on Flatcar)

There’s another option to consider when it comes to cargo hauling, which is using a train. Trains are more fuel-efficient and can carry significantly more weight. However, they aren’t a great option if you are pressed for time, and they can be too expensive for short trips.

On the other hand, flatbed trucks have more predictable freight transit times and are significantly cheaper for shorter trips.

A third option is using a Trailer on Flatcar, also called piggybacking. This is where you load a trailer onto a train car and then use a truck to take it to its final destination, which offers the best of both worlds.


Why Use a Logistics Company to Organize Hauling Material on Flatbed Trucks

Flatbed trailer hauling isn’t for the inexperienced. You’ll want to work with professionals to ensure the integrity of the cargo, and to find the best route, whether trains should be involved, and prices available. Working with a logistics company allows your cargo hauling to be more efficient, which can lead to lower costs on your end and increased customer satisfaction. 

If you are looking for a logistics company in Michigan that performs flatbed shipping, then Surus is what you need. When you work with Surus, you’ll get expert consulting and solutions for your distribution needs. Contact us today.

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