Types of trailers in the shipping industry.


Standard flatbed trailers:

Most of us see standard flatbed trailers being pulled down the road on a daily basis. The come in a variety which is usually either 45′ long, 48 feet long or the longest we know of is 53′ in length.


Flatbed Spread Axle Trailer:

Flatbed spread axle trailer. This trailer type is very popular in North America – especially California where road weight restrictions are much more regulated than other states. A flatbed spread axle trailer is exactly the same as a standard flatbed trailer except for the difference between the rear axles. Instead of having tandem axles they are single axles spread apart from each other at a greater distance than tandem axles. The size is the same as the standard flatbed with manufacturers making them in a variety of lengths and widths ranging from 45’, 48’ & 53’ in length with a standard width size of either 96” or 102” wide. This trailer type is less damaging to roads and highways when loaded correctly.

Flatbed spread axle trailer.

Spread axle flatbed trailer.

Step-Deck Trailer:

The step-deck trailer is just like a flatbed trailer except note the step in it’s deck. This type of trailer design was originally done to fit heavy equipment on it’s deck with a place to hold its bucket or hydraulic arm or other equipment suck as a detachable dozer blade. The step deck trailer is now a very popular trailer type with most of them equipped with ramps. Ramps enable operators to drive their machinery onto the trailer at loading times. This is a very versatile trailer provided the items(s) being shipped are not over about 47-52,000 lbs depending on the weight of the semi-truck.


Note the step-deck trailer has a step in it’s deck.

What is a double drop trailer?

The double-drop trailer (“doubledrop, double drop”) was designed by manufacturers explicitly to ship/haul tall shipments that would normally require oversize trucking permits to ship on a standard flatbed trailer. It’s very helpful for shipping boats, heavy equipment, farm equipment, houses, etc. The double-drop has proved to be a very successful trailer design and is now a trucking industry standard. Most double-drop trailers are typically not constructed or designed to move items classified as over-weight (heavy-haul) however, with it’s deck design being so close to the ground there has recently been various new trailers manufactured with additional axles thus making it capable of handling more diverse and heavier shipments. A double-drop trailer is capable of transporting a wide variety of machinery, equipment and goods that are excessive in height. The illustration below is of a standard double-drop trailer. Sizes vary in length but production models typically don’t exceed 53 feet in length. A common size for this trailer is 38-48 feet in length however, it should be noted double-drop stretch trailers do exists serving more specific moves such as wind tower blades, long pipes, poles, lumber, conveyor belts and other longer items that require transport.


Double drop trailer designed for shipping items and equipment that are excessive in height.


Heavy haul trailer types:

Heavy haul trailers, Rgn’s, double drop and extendable double drops as well as flatbeds are available in various axle length and load limit variables depending on what kind of shipment they are designed for.

Trailer types for heavy haul shipping.

Different heavy haul trailer types.

More information about heavy haul trailers.

Heavy haul trailers are used for shipping all kinds of huge and heavy stuff. They call them heavy haul trailers for a reason which is self explanatory; they’re made for transporting heavy objects over the road. Many things that are transported with them like wind towers, gensets, generator sets, heavy equipment, turbines, homes, industrial plants, crane shipments, large fabrications, moving transformers, large timber, airplanes, jets and all kinds of stuff. When a heavy hauler is moving down the road or highway you can usually tell as they are accompanied by escort vehicles or pilot cars. Pilot cars usually have flashing lights and signs that say oversize load and flags even on the side of the load. Basically a heavy haul trailer is a flatbed trailer with a whole bunch a wheels and tires on some of them have a unit in the back it’s call the steerable jeep. What a jeep does is makes the units steerable to get around corners. So there’s a driver in the back steering the shipment as well as a tractor in the front steering the shipment so they can get around a turn radius. A good example of this is an antenna transporter. At one time they had to transport a radio telescope and it was 115 tons so they used a steerable heavy haul trailer to relocate it. After this event the industry started to develop further and finally into what it is now today.

In many cases today, heavy haul trailers are designed and manufactured specifically for the one single item that they need to ship. We see this a lot in the shipment of boilers and mining equipment, which require custom trailers. Trailers like this are used for a short time only and then scrapped. Of course they don’t throw everything away, but they utilize all the parts and pieces for the next trailer they have to assemble.

The whole reason the heavy haul industry exist in the first place is to prevent damages. Once you exceed a certain weight (80,ooo lbs.) you risk damaging the road or highway. If a trailer has multiple axles it displaces the weight over a even surface area and doesn’t cause damage to the road structure. You can learn more by visiting Federal Bridge Formula section. Today we see more and more heavy haul trailers in use on the highways. We see more more trailers with double wheels, single trailers with wider tires as well. Also notice super singles and trailers with more and more axles designed to moce over-weight items. Of course to ship items that are super heavy like that you must obtain permission from either the state, county, or even city permits may required to do it. They call these oversize trucking permits.

One of the things WideloadShipping.com does to help the heavy haul trucking industry is gives all companies access to the same customers. What strive to ensure that everybody has access to bid or quote on the shipments. This way the smaller companies can keep in business as well instead of all the freight going to the bigger companies that have huge advertising budgets. We’re kind of a ballast in the industry that help keep things fair and the overall industry alive and thriving.

We connect you with the right machinery movers and equipment moving companies in North America shipping to all points including international shipping for private parties and business. Oversize flatbed trucking and heavy haul trucking company in every U.S. City, Canada, Mexico and Alaska.



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