What Is Flatbed Shipping? All You Need To Know

Sep 5, 2023 | Blog, Pinnacle Services

Have you ever wondered about the correct shipping method to transport your bulky goods?

Then, you may have to think of flatbed trucking.

But first, what is a flatbed? Which facts should you have in mind about flatbed shipping? Let’s dive into our complete guide!

What Is A Flatbed? 

A flatbed is a flat track platform, without sides or roof, that allows easy loading and unloading of various types of cargo –especially oversized ones, with special shapes– that cannot be accommodated in enclosed trailers.

Examples include machinery, construction materials, lumber, steel coils, vehicles, and other large or heavy items.

Flatbed trailers are mostly made of steel or aluminum and come in various sizes to accommodate different types of loads. 

The Benefits Of Flatbed Trucking

Flatbed trucking has many benefits. This truck allows for loading from any angle, making it perfect for oversized freight requiring a crane or forklift.

Moreover, it can accommodate items that don’t fit in a standard truck trailer or need special equipment to be transported safely.

It is also the best solution for cargo that can not be loaded or unloaded from a dock. Additionally, the variety of flatbed equipment and trailers ensures secure shipping.  

What Are The Types Of Flatbed Transport? 

Flatbed shipping companies provide you with several types of trailers to transport flatbed freight. Each type caters to specific cargo requirements, so you have to choose wisely according to your needs. The types of flatbed trailers include those listed below: 

  • Standard Flatbed Trailer
  • Standard Step Deck Trailer/Single Drop Trailer
  • Standard Double Drop Trailer/LowBoy Trailer
  • Conestoga Trailer or Side Kit Trailer
  • Removable Gooseneck (RGN)

Flatbed Equipment

When using flatbed trailers, it is important to use special equipment to secure your cargo and ensure safe shipping due to the open nature of the trailers.

Below are the basic accessories for a flatbed:

  • Straps and Tie Downs: Every flatbed carrier has straps on their trailers, but the number of straps may vary depending on the carrier. It is crucial to determine the exact number of straps required.
  • Chains: These are commonly used to secure loads, much like straps. Generally, they are required for heavier loads, such as coils or machinery.
  • V boards/Edge protectors: These devices keep a load separate from the straps or chains used to secure it. They serve the purpose of protecting the product from potential scratches, as well as preventing any damage to the straps.
  • Tarps: With the help of tarps, any freight can be transported on a flatbed to cover and protect the shipment. Typical Tarp sizes are 4`, 6` or 8`.
  • Blocking, Bracing, and Dunnage: They are used to immobilize a load and keep it from shifting to the front, back, or side.  

What about flatbed shipping rates? 

The factors that affect flatbed shipping rates vary.

Flatbed rates are generally higher than dry van or refrigerated truckload rates due to the higher labor component.  Flatbed loads require extensive securement either with straps or chains and often require tarps to be placed over the load in order to protect it from the elements.  This all takes extra time and effort from the driver.

 Other factors that may influence the shipping expenses are: 

  • Fuel costs.
  • The cargo weight and size you want to haul, which affect fuel cost. 
  • The itinerary you will choose (distance, starting point, and destination).
  • The type of trailer and equipment.

Navigating Legal Aspects in Flatbed Transportation

In the world of flatbed shipping, knowing the rules is crucial. Oversized loads need permits, and overhang must fit regulations to avoid trouble.

48-Foot Flatbed Overhang: Finding Space

For 48-foot flatbeds, you usually get five extra feet for overhang. This makes a total load length of 53 feet okay. But more than that, and it requires another permit.

53-Foot Flatbed Overhang: Limits and Exceptions

53-foot decks often can’t have overhang without permits. States also say trailer and load together must be under 65 feet. Wyoming is an exception, allowing under 60 feet without a permit.

Front Overhang on Flatbeds: State Differences

Front overhang rules differ in each state. Some need permits, others allow a bit. If your truck has a headache rack, those rules might matter less because the rack sets the limit.

In short, understanding the law in flatbed shipping is a must. Follow size rules, get permits when needed, and know how your truck setup matters.


In the realm of shipping solutions, few options match the versatility and reliability of flatbed trucking. When your cargo exceeds the bounds of conventional trailers, flatbeds emerge as the optimal choice.

Pinnacle Freight makes flatbed shipping easy. We handle big, unusual loads expertly. From proper equipment to clear advice on rules, we’re the ones to count on. Trust Pinnacle Freight to get your unique freight where it needs to go, safely and on time.

Contact Us

Phone: 732.667.5261

Fax: 732.667.5265

Contact Pinnacle




Pinnacle Freight Systems, Inc.
Pinnacle Trucking, LLC
500 Cedar Lane, Florence, NJ 08518

© 2024 Pinnacle Freight Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Melior