Dry Van vs Flat Deck: Which is Better?

When it comes to road transportation, there are a variety of options to consider depending on your specific freight. One of the first choices you’ll make is selecting whether you need a dry van or a flat deck.


Dry Van

Flat Deck


Here are some factors to keep in mind while deciding:

1. Size of your shipment

Dimensions are very important when choosing between dry van and flat deck. If the height of your freight is less than 96 inches or fits on a standard pallet, you’re likely to go with a regular dry van.

If you’re shipping an extra long or extra tall load, then a flat deck offers more flexibility. With the proper flags and permits, flat decks even allow over-dimensional freight to hang off the edges of the trailer.

2. Fragility of your shipment

Consider how delicate your freight is. When you choose a dry van, your product is protected from the elements, and can even be refrigerated or heated if necessary.

Industrial material on the back of a flat deck is generally able to withstand the rain, wind, and small objects that may bounce off the pavement of the open highway. In special cases when over-dimensional freight does require protection, there are custom crating and tarping options available as well.

3. Loading/unloading requirements

If your freight is especially heavy and requires a crane to load and unload, then the flat deck is definitely your best choice. Since there are no walls or roof to worry about, you have the freedom to load from above using a HIAB or from either side using a forklift.

Loading and unloading a dry van is a simpler and more standard process which involves the truck backing up into a loading dock, then moving each piece off the truck with a pallet jack or a forklift.

the verdict:

It’s safe to say that neither one is “better” because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The primary thing to focus on is which service level fits your specific needs. As long as you have knowledge of your product, and know the type of environment required to keep it in top shape, then you’re all set to make the right choice.

If you have any questions regarding dry van, flat deck, special commodities or special project management, don’t hesitate to ask the transportation experts at Radius Logistics.

Contact us  today to find the most effective and efficient solutions for all your supply chain needs!