Flatbed loads are some of the most common loads that freight brokers deal with. This equipment type enables larger freight to be loaded without the limitations of trailer side walls and ceilings. We should have technically titled this post “Open Deck Trailer Types” since that would really be what we are looking at here, but the term “flatbed” is the most common term for these trailers in the freight broker community. There are a ton of varieties of flatbed trailers on the road, but we’re going to examine a few of the most common that you will deal with in your career as a freight broker.
The standard flatbed is the most common used open deck trailer type used in the freight industry. They are used to haul a variety of commodities with the most common being steel, lumber, and other building materials. They are usually 48 feet in length but can be as long as 53 feet. They can hold freight with a vertical height of up to 8.5 feet with a maximum legal weight of 48,000 lbs.
Step deck trailers resemble the standard flatbed, but with two levels. The front level is designed to clear the rear of the tractor at its connection point and the rear level is lower allowing them to haul taller freight than the traditional flatbed. Step decks can haul the same commodities as the standard flatbed, but with less vertical restrictions since the main deck is lower to the ground. The lower main deck allows for freight up to 10 feet tall, which is why we often see larger machinery and construction equipment transported this way.
Removable Gooseneck (RGN)
The RGN is a trailer that can be broken down into two parts, the gooseneck which is connected to the tractor and the floor which is where the freight sits. By detaching the gooseneck, oversized freight such as vehicles can be driven onto the trailer from the ground level. RGNs are typically 48 feet long with the deck, also known as a well, being only about 20” off the ground. This allows freight of up to 12 feet to be hauled on this trailer type. You will often see larger equipment such as farming combines and large forklifts hauled this way. The US military uses a variation of a gooseneck trailer to load and haul it’s M1 Abrams tank.