Everyone has seen semi-trucks pulling flatbed trailers often on the highways. They are popular trailer combinations great for hauling. The flatbed trailer does not have any sides or top. Bulky cargo like construction equipment or machinery is shipped using flatbed trailers. It has a framework of solid steel as well as has brake tires and a lighting system. It needs persistent monitoring for load security and safety.

When you approach a trailer shipping company like Ship a Car, Inc. the operator will ask you the kind of flatbed trailer you need. There is the standard flatbed trailer and the step deck trailer to choose from.

How does a step-deck trailer differ from a flatbed one?

Just like a flatbed trailer, a step-deck unit also has no roof or sides. It resembles a platform. It has two deck levels – the higher and the shorter. The standard flatbeds are capable to haul construction machinery, materials equipment, components, and tools. It is also used to transport well-wrapped or stackable items in large quantities. However, standard flatbed trailers have their limitations.

  • The majority of flatbed trailers has lengths around 48 ft. to 53 ft. and can carry a maximum load weighing 48,000 pounds.
  • The maximum height and width of cargo a standard flatbed trailer can accommodate is 8 ft. 6 inches. If the load is wider than this the cargo class can change to heavy haul and need an escort vehicle.

Fortunately, if your cargo increases the maximum required height of 8 ft. 6 inches, then you can opt for a specialized step deck trailer. It is versatile just like the flatbed trailer but its lower deck can house a cargo with height.

  • The maximum height is increased by extra 20 inches more than the standard flatbed trailer. With a step-deck trailer, you get to lodge a height of 10 ft. 2 inches.
  • If you need still extra height then choose a double drop flatbed with the capability to lodge cargo height of 11 ft. 2 inches.

Thus, the key difference between standard flatbed and step deck trailers is the maximum cargo height both can accommodate for shipping. Besides, tall cargo in a step-deck trailer means no need for height permit application.

The benefits of flatbed and step deck trailer are the same

Loading & unloading is convenient

Both have no sides or roof, but a large surface area that makes cargo loading and unloading with a crane or by hand with ease. The truck team can experience a smoother experience loading and unloading the truck.

Huge storage surface

The flat surface allows ample storage. You can fit maximum load, which means less time driving to make multiple shipping trips. Thus, driving time and fuel costs reduce.

Versatile and flexible

Due to the truck surface openness, you can haul different kinds of freight, which otherwise would be impossible in enclosed carriers. A standard flatbed trailer is great to carry pallets, while a step-deck is great for tall equipment as it allows for top clearance.

Less maintenance

As the flatbed and step deck trailers are open on all sides, it is easy to maintain and clean. There are no sidewalls and roof, so repainting is off the chart.

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