What is Flatbed Shipping?

Flatbed shipping is a kind of transportation where the truckloads the goods in an open trailer. These types of trucks carry heavy equipment like machinery, iron, steel, etc.  These types of cargo can’t be fitted inside closed vans or containers. This equipment can’t be loaded or unloaded at docks in standard trucks and carriers. But the unique design of the flatbed carriers allows loading and unloading from every angle by forklifts and cranes.

Flatbed shipping

Definition of Flatbed Shipping

A flatbed is a kind of transportation equipment. It is a sort of a trailer that is open on the sides and has no roof. There are various kinds of cargo, especially industrial machinery and equipment, which are oversized or have unequal or extra-large dimensions.

Advantages of Flatbed Shipping

Cargo comes in every shape and size. A standard cargo carrier is not enough to accommodate or carry all of them. So, different types of carriers are needed. Flatbed shipping services are one type of such customized carriers. Flatbed shipping comes with its distinct advantages. They are:

  • A flatbed carrier has no roof or sides. This allows for a lot of flexibility while loading and unloading cargo and also for shipping it. This flexibility is needed for the over-dimensional industrial cargo.
  • A flatbed carrier can carry much more heavy loads as compared to a standard van or truck. They also allow the advantage of loading and unloading the cargo from multiple sides, unlike a standard container that allows the same only from the rear. This provides a lot of flexibility to the process and also makes it easier and faster.
  • Drivers of flatbed carriers also have some advantages over their coworkers driving standard cargo carrier trucks. The former are paid much more than the latter as driving a flatbed truck is a much more demanding & taxing job. Plus, flatbed drivers usually work on only weekdays. This allows them to spend time with family & friends on weekends.
  • The shipper can transport a lot of equipment per shipment using flatbed shipping services. Since there are much fewer space restrictions on a flatbed truck, it allows shippers to pack different types of items closely on a single shipment. This reduces overall shipment costs for shippers, thereby increasing the profit margins.
  • There is no need to take a flatbed carrier to a designated loading dock since the loading can be done anywhere with the availability of forklifts and cranes. This saves a lot of time and hassles for both the shipper and the transport company providing flatbed shipping.

Types of Cargo Shipped Via Flatbed Shipping Services 

flatbed truck shipping

  • Building materials like concrete slabs, iron & steel bars and rods, scaffolding, lumber, bricks, etc.
  • Defense equipment like parts of tanks, airplanes, etc.
  • Industrial machinery, drilling implements, mining types of equipment, cranes, solar panels, scrap metals, and similar equipment.
  • Agricultural machinery including tractors

Important Information Regarding Flatbed Shipping

  • While flatbed shipping is very useful to ship various oversized cargo, it is dependent on weather conditions. During monsoon seasons or during snowfall, it becomes difficult or almost impossible to use flatbed shipping services. So, that puts a check on their service delivery.
  • Commonly used flatbed shipping trucks are step deck, double drop deck, and flatbed. There are also several other types of such carriers. Step-deck carriers can carry equipment that is taller than the ones loaded on standard flatbed trucks. For equipment over 10 feet tall, double-drop deck trailers are used that have additional axles for providing more stability to the vehicle.
  • It is critically important to properly fasten the cargo for flatbed shipping. Typically, these equipment are oversized and multidimensional and can cause serious damage to other vehicles or the roads if they come undone. The transport department of every country has very strict regulations regarding such fastening and securing of the flatbed cargo.
  • Usually, a flatbed trailer comes with a 48” x 8.5” dimension (length x breadth). The deck lengths vary, depending upon the type of flatbed truck being used. There might be restrictions regarding carrying a cargo of a particular dimension on certain roads. Shippers and transporters need to be aware of such restrictions before loading and deciding on the route to be taken.


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