Flatbed trailer from Parish Transport, heavy haul transport and heavy haul shipping company
Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trucks are most often used when transporting oversized items that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to move. Flatbed trailers have become an essential part of modern transportation.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your specific shipping needs, please reach out. Our flatbed shipping services can safely get your cargo where it needs to go.

What Is A Flatbed Trailer?

Flatbed trailers employ an open design, which allows for expanded accessibility from several sides, and makes it possible to load heavy items using a crane or loading ramps. Some models also include several levels, or drops, enabling ground-level loading and easier access in limited space. Items hauled are secured using strong chains or straps and may be covered with specialty tarps or protective panels during harsh weather. Regardless of load size, due to the open nature of flatbed trailers, drivers must constantly monitor load securement and the condition of the freight they are hauling.

What Are The Different Types Of Flatbed Trailers?

Flatbed trailers are essential to any modern industry that relies on transporting equipment or merchandise from one place to another. In such a wide field, there are plenty of options available when it comes to selecting the right flatbed for any given task. Knowing the different types of flatbed trailers available will ensure that you find the right equipment for your next haul and will make loading and unloading far easier. 

Standard Flatbed Trailer

The most common style of flatbed, the standard rig, features a basic open-deck design without slides or a roof. Ramps, a rack, and stake pockets for load securement are common as well. Flatbed trailers are typically made from steel and are anywhere from 48’ to 53’ long and 8’ 6” wide with a typical maximum weight capacity of 48,000 pounds. Large, bulky cargo, such as machinery, construction equipment, and steel products are transported on standard flatbed trailers between shipping facilities and terminals.

Step Deck/Single-Drop Deck Flatbed Trailer

This style of flatbed trailer is often used to haul over-height and extremely heavy freight that requires a crane to load and unload, such as heavy machinery. Drop deck flatbeds can easily manage the weight thanks to additional axles, and are typically around 48’ to 53’ in length, 8.5’ in width. As the name suggests, a drop deck bed is lower than standard flatbed trailers and has a maximum freight weight of 48,000 pounds. Due to the nature of drop decks, they have a lower ground clearance than standard flatbeds, allowing for easier loading and unloading. Drop decks also feature a rack that can be used to secure cargo for safe transport.

Lowboy / Double Drop Flatbed Trailer

Lowboy flatbeds are low to the ground and are typically used to ship unusually tall, large, or heavy freight. Common loads include construction equipment, military vehicles, and industrial machinery. Double drop trailers are similar to lowboys, and both offer increased overhead clearance for oversized loads, even when the route includes low bridges or headroom restrictions, thanks to a center section that creates a well for taller cargo. Both types of trailers can be loaded using ramps. These types of trailers can generally haul up to and sometimes beyond 80,000 pounds, depending on the number of axles present. 

Conestoga Flatbed Trailer

Conestoga flatbed trailers are basically regular flatbed trailers that have been fitted with stakes and panels to enclose the cargo. They may also be covered with a sliding tarp system, like the wagons that old-time western pioneers used. This hard shell and tarping system is designed to protect cargo, preventing typical tie-down tarps from damaging a load or coming loose during transit. Conestoga flatbed trailers are easier to load and unload and thus are ideal for fragile and valuable cargo that has more of a potential for damage during shipment. Conestoga flatbed trailers max out at a freight weight of about 45,000 lbs and are traditionally 53’ long and can often be retrofitted onto a flatbed trailer.

Removable Gooseneck (RGN) Flatbed Trailer

Removable gooseneck (RGN) flatbed trailers are one of the more popular flatbed truck trailers in modern use, featuring a removable gooseneck and a drop deck. The RGN trailer has a unique bed design that allows for fast loading and unloading of even large and heavy loads, thanks to a detachable section that can be rested on the ground to create a ramp. It is a versatile flatbed trailer that can be used to transport all sorts of goods of varying sizes and weights, including heavy equipment and materials and both tall and long freight. Even at higher speeds, high capacity loads are safe and secure because of the trailer’s low center of gravity and stable design. Because an RGN trailer can expand from 3 axles up to over 20 axles for heavier loads, it has a maximum freight capacity of 150,000 pounds and is considered a trailer for specialized use.

Stretch/Extendable Single-Drop Deck Flatbed Trailer

Drop deck (step-deck or single-drop) flatbed trailers are particularly useful when hauling heavy machinery and other oversized cargo and include a ramp for quick loading and unloading at ground level for additional accessibility. Because of the drop deck, this trailer is ideal for use when a route includes low bridges or height restrictions. Stretch or extendable flatbed trailers feature a rack to secure cargo for loads that may be prone to damage. Stretch single-drop deck trailers are typically 38’ to 63’ long, but can extend up to 80’ if need be.

How To Choose The Right Type Of Flatbed Trailer For Your Freight

To determine the best flatbed trailer for your specific hauling needs, weight is a good place to start. In all the above styles of trailer, weight limits are listed, but it’s good to know that this weight maximum includes both the weight of the trailer and the weight of the load. Knowing key dimensions will also enable you to choose the best flatbed to transport your goods. Handling needs will also dictate which flatbed trailer will be easiest to load and unload, especially if cargo is unusually heavy, uniquely shaped, or particularly prone to damage from the elements. In addition to the size and weight limits imposed by each type of trailer, the states your cargo is traveling through may require separate permits or fees for oversized loads. 

Our logistics team at Parish Transport can handle all the details of your route, down to the very last mile. And for less commonly used types of flatbed trailers, you can rest assured that we will locate that just-right rig to carry your precious goods.

What Are The Benefits Of Flatbed Trailers?

Using flatbed trailers allows for much smoother transport of oversized or irregularly shaped items. At the same time, their often lower profile means that they can fit into tighter spaces and lower areas, such as in and around urban areas. Flatbed trailers can also be more cost-effective, since loading and unloading cargo can be far easier. Whether by overhead crane or by hand, the various configurations of flatbed trailers and their inherent larger surface areas ensure that you can find a way to transport your cargo, regardless of size or weight. Ample storage space ensures that your load can fit, cutting down on total transportation costs and improving efficiency in delivery times. Flatbed trailers also require less maintenance, which factors in to lower overhead costs. Any load you need to haul can be put on a flatbed trailer, some of which may be:

  • Heavy machinery and farm equipment
  • Logs and lumber
  • Roofing materials
  • Steel components
  • Building and construction materials
  • Scrap and recyclables
  • Vehicles
  • Energy equipment

Do You Need Permits For Flatbed Shipping?

It depends! If loads are oversized specific permits may be necessary. The expert transportation logistics team at Parish Transport handle every permit along every step of the route.

Ship Your Freight With Flatbed Trailers From Parish Transport

At Parish Transport, we’ve always been ready to tackle any job, big or small. We specialize in flatbed, dry van, heavy haul, and over-dimensional transportation, and will do whatever it takes to engineer and accommodate specific hauling needs. Our business is built around our customers–we'll do what’s needed to move your products and provide you with a top-notch logistical gameplan. Work with us and you’ll be entrusting your cargo to the best drivers and the most modern equipment and technology on the flatbed trailer scene. You can rely on our team–get in touch today to plan your next transport!