Flatbed trucking is a type of trucking where a truck tractor, or cab, hauls freight secured to an open, flat trailer. Flatbed loads have “legal” dimensions. If the load exceeds these requirements, additional and substantial fees may apply.
A legal flatbed load must be equal to or less than 8’6” high, 8’6” wide and 48’ long. Some states may allow for a little overhang without permits, but if freight is close, it’s best to confirm. A good legal maximum weight for flatbed freight runs around 45,000 lbs.
An extra inch in any of the dimensions can mean thousands in additional cost. Exact weight is also important. Excess weight can translate into big, additional fees.
Scheduling a Flatbed Trucking Shipment
If your freight won’t fit into a dry van, it may be necessary to ship flatbed, also called an open-deck trailer. You’ll need to provide exact dimensions and weight. Also, make sure the carrier you call has the equipment necessary to secure your freight to the trailer deck. These include chains, straps, binders, and tarps.
Carrier-direct or Freight Broker?
If you will ship flatbed freight regularly and to the same location, it may make sense to go carrier direct. If flatbed is new or only an occasional type of shipment, a freight broker may be the better option. Freight brokers are staffed with logistics experts who understand all types of truckload shipping.
A freight broker’s staff can walk you through the process from start to finish. They’ll ensure you meet all the necessary requirements and they can help avoid additional fees. If your freight does exceed the “legal” dimensions, they’ll be able to tell you upfront to prevent unwanted surprises.
In many cases, freight brokers can also offer lower rates. As they work with many different carriers, they can connect you with the one who offers the best services and the best possible rate. This saves companies a lot of time and energy in terms of man-hours spent working out the details themselves. If a truckload broker sounds like it might best for you, find one who specializes in truckload services.