What Can You Haul? a Complete Guide to Semi Trailer Dimensions

    Red Semi Truck Speeding on a Highway. Tractor Closeup. Transportation and Logistics Theme.

    Did you know that in 2019 the trucking industry hauled 11.84 billion pounds of freight?

    Semi trucks go a long way towards keeping commerce and industry moving thanks to the amount of cargo that they can haul from Point A to Point B. Semi trailer dimensions play a key role in the hauling of that cargo.

    There is a ton of variety when it comes to types of trailers as well as semi truck trailer dimensions, so it is important to know which is best suited for hauling certain cargo.

    Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place to learn all about the inside dimensions of a semi truck.

    Dimensions, Length, and Freight Weight Limits of Semi Trailer Dimensions

    Because there is such a variety of trailers to choose from, it’s important to know the dimensions of each particular kind. If what you’re wanting to move is heavy you’ll need a different type of trailer than you’d need for lighter freight.

    Here is an in-depth breakdown of the different types of trailers that you can use with your semi truck.

    Flatbed Semi Trailer

    Flatbed semi trailers are a great choice for heavy haul trucking. They offer much more flexibility than any other type of semi trailer type because the trailer has fewer boundaries. This makes organizing oddly shaped pieces of cargo much easier than in other trailers like a dry van trailer.

    These trailers are commonly used for transported large construction equipment as well as other items that won’t fit inside of typical semi trailer dimensions. It is important to know that the driver is responsible for the safe loading and unloading of the cargo, no matter how large or heavy.

    A flatbed semi trailer is capable of hauling up to 48,000 pounds under normal circumstances. That amount can be boosted to 65,000 pounds by adding a third axle.

    Semi truck flatbed trailer dimensions measure 48 to 53 feet in length and 8.5 feet in width. They are the first choice trailer for hauling heavy loads like construction equipment and building materials.

    Dry Van Semi Trailer

    Dry vans are the standard type of semi trailer that you see on the freeway every day. They are fully enclosed and protect your cargo from the elements.

    They are great for moving cargo that needs to be protected from rain such as electronics and dry food goods. That cargo is usually palletized or boxed for safety and organization purposes.

    These trailers are versatile but they are not climate-controlled or refrigerated, which limits the types of cargo that they can carry. They are also not allowed to carry oversize loads like a flatbed semi trailer can.

    This type of semi trailer is capable of hauling up to 42,000 pounds of cargo from one place to another, though that number can be boosted with the use of a third axle. A third axle would take the amount of freight it can haul up to 63,000 pounds.

    The standard semi trailer inside dimensions for dry van semi trailers is between 48 and 53 feet long and 8 feet tall. These trailers are also 8.2 feet wide.

    Refrigerated Trailer

    Refrigerated trailers are specialty trailers. They are used for transporting items and cargo that are sensitive to temperature and that will spoil if they get too warm.

    Food and medicines are commonly shipped with this type of trailer. Dairy goods and other products are also shipped from one place to another with refrigerated trailers.

    As with other types of semi trailers, refrigerated trailers can carry between 42,000 pounds and 63,000 pounds depending on if a third axle is used.

    These trailers have the typical semi trailer dimensions. They measure in at 48 to 53 feet long and 8 feet tall. They are also 8.2 feet wide.

    Lowboy Trailers

    Lowboy trailers are a different variant of semi trailers. They’re a different size than the standard semi trailer and can carry different weight capacities.

    Most commonly, lowboy trailers are used for hauling heavy construction equipment like excavators and bulldozers. The standard lowboy can haul 40,000 pounds with no issue.

    Lowboy trailers are capable of being modified by adding an additional trailer that will let your semi truck haul up to 95,000 pounds in one trip.

    The typical lowboy trailer is between 24 and 30 feet long and 8.5 feet wide. They are similar to a flatbed in that they’re not tall like other semi truck trailers. The well height of lowboys is between 18 and 24 inches high.

    There are legal limitations on the height of your cargo when using a lowboy trailer and you need to be aware of these regulations. You can’t haul any cargo that is taller than 12 feet high. The overall height of a legal load from the road up is 14 feet.

    Step Deck Trailers

    Step deck trailers make the process of moving, loading, and unloading heavy cargo as easy as possible. They are also helpful when you need to move tall cargo that otherwise might not pass the height restrictions.

    This type of trailer is popular with places that utilize forklifts for loading and unloading. The lower portion of the trailer is more accessible for forklifts to pick up large loads and move them to the warehouse.

    This creates safer conditions for the forklift operators because the area that the forklift is picking up the cargo from is lower to the ground so the forklift operator won’t need to lift his lift as high.

    Step deck trailers are capable of carrying loads as heavy as 48,000 pounds but that can boost up to 65,000 pounds if a third axle is applied. Step decks are between 48 and 53 feet long and 10 feet high. They are also 8.5 feet wide.

    Now You’re Ready for Your Next Haul

    When you’re operating a semi truck, don’t let yourself be limited by your semi trailer dimensions. There is a trailer for every type of cargo that you’ll need to haul from Point A to Point B.

    Whether you’re hauling oversized construction equipment or dry goods or even dairy products, there is a perfect semi trailer for whatever your needs are.

    For more helpful tips and articles that can grow your business be sure to check out more of our blog posts!

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