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What to Consider When Choosing Dry Van Trucking

If you've ever looked for dry van trucking, whether to hire the services of a company or buy a vehicle for your business, then you know that things can get confusing pretty soon. With so many types of available trailers out there, figuring out what you need can be difficult. Not to mention that your requirements can change from one transport to another and what worked for you once may not work again.

Dry Van Trucking Companies

So, here's what you need to know when looking for dry van transport.

An Introduction to Trailer Types

Before learning how to choose the right dry van for your needs, let's take a look at what it does and how it compares to other transportation solutions.

If you are new to the hauling industry and everything looks the same to you, then this short description should give you a better idea of what type of trailer you will need for your freight.

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trucking is the most common type of freight trailer. It's a versatile and reliable solution that can suit most of your needs. And it's easy to see why by looking at its construction: this open platform allows you to tie up large or odd-shaped cargo and transport it safely.

Its construction can also be a be a downside as you always need to ensure the cargo is secured properly.

The great thing about flatbed trailers is that you can transport almost anything from water pipes to lumber or crates. You can also adjust the dimensions of your cargo if needed as long as you respect the regulations.

Another great advantage of flatbed shipping is that loading and unloading them is considerably easier than with other trailers. Due to its design - open at the top and sides - you can easily maneuver the cargo by using cranes, forklifts and other equipment.

Dry Van Trailers

As its name suggests, a dry van trailer is designed to protect the cargo from the weather and other external factors, keeping it dry and untouched by the elements. It looks like nothing more than a box mounted on a platform, but don't let its simple construction fool you. It's waterproof and wind resistant, and it will protect your cargo from dust and debris. So, if you have to ship products or materials that are water sensitive, then dry van trucking is the perfect option.

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Dry vans are typically loaded and unloaded through the rear, with a forklift or other machinery. You can also load some dry trailers through the side, but they are an exception. Dry vans come in different sizes, so you need to ensure that your cargo fits their base and don't weigh too much since this type of trailer weighs more than a flatbed.

Dry van shipping is ideal for cargo like clothing, produce, electronics, paper-based products, and so on.

Refrigerated Trailers

If your cargo isn't only weather-sensitive, but also perishable, then you need a refrigerated trailer. Mainly used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, this shipping solution maintains the temperature inside the trailer constant regardless of the weather conditions. They are more expensive and weigh more than other types of trailers, but they are highly specialized and crucial for their purpose.

Lowboy Trailers

If you are transporting cargo that is taller than the legal limit, you will need a lowboy trailer to move it around. This type of container has a very low platform that is sustained by wheels at the ends so that it can accommodate tall freight.

Because this shipping solution is usually used for heavy freight, it requires special permits. Not to mention, you will need to reinforce their structure with additional axles.

RNG Trailers

Removable gooseneck trailers are ideal for bulky and heavy loads, such as ships and aviation, water pipes, and other industrial equipment and machinery. The operator can create a ramp by dropping the front of the trailer on the ground.

RNG trailers can carry massive loads as well as fit long pieces. Similar to a lowboy, extra axles are necessary for stability and strength.

That was only a short introduction to help you differentiate between the most commonly used type of trailers. If you decide that dry van shipping is indeed what you need, here are some things to keep in mind.

Choosing Between a Dry Gan and a Flatbed Trailer

For a lot of cargo types, the choice is quite clear. But in some cases, it can be difficult to tell what shipping solution fits your needs best as different types of trailers seem to meet the requirements.

Remember that some goods are weather sensitive and must be protected from the elements. The same easy decision is to be made when the cargo has unusual measurements and would go beyond a dry van.

Loading is also an essential factor to keep in mind if you want the logistics to run smooth. Flatbeds might seem the obvious option here, but it all comes down to the type of cargo you need to ship.

Choosing Between a Dry Van and a Refrigerated Trailer

These shipping solutions offer similar features at first sight, but as with most things in life, the devil is in the details.

If you can't keep the temperature inside the dry van at a constant value, then you should opt for a refrigerator trailer. The same goes for cargo that needs to be kept at high temperatures. Either way, make sure that the shipping solution you choose comes with temperature regulating function and isolation against the difference of temperature outside. They are more expensive than other available services, but they are essential if you want to transport your cargo to your destination safely.

So, you have decided that a dry van trailer is the way to go. Your merchandise isn't perishable, but it does require protection from the elements. Now the question is: how can you tell the dry van trailer will meet all your needs and requirements? Here are some tips.

Choose Something That Is Reliable

If you are considering purchasing a truck trailer, then you need to know that it should be a long-term investment that needs to last for decades. Know what you need, invest in its maintenance and avoid picking the cheapest trailer you find, since it can cost you more in the long-term.

The same goes when renting one or working with a transportation company.

Always look for a dry van with high-quality materials, a solid floor that can take the weight of your freight and a resistant carcass. Keep updated with the newest technological updates and features, because it will end up saving you money, even if the initial price is bigger than with other options.

Choose the Proper Size

Estimate the volume and weight of your typical cargo. Get a dry van trailer that can transport what you need and a little more extra. You never know. Also, remember that loading and unloading the van will add extra pressure on the flooring. The bottom line is that you need to have the certainty that you won't overload the van and cause expensive damage. Not to mention the losses that come from having rented a trailer that doesn't meet your needs.

Consider Getting Two Trailers

Maybe renting one trailer puts a strain on your budget, but give this idea a thought. The main argument in having two trailers instead of one is that you can apply the “drop and hook” method, where you drop off the entire container and then switch it for an empty one.

If this system would suit your business, then you should go for it. Do you need to save time with the loading and unloading of your freight? Do you need to transport goods between locations? Then you can move everything around without having to wait for the trailer to be unloaded and loaded again for the next shipment.

Use intermodal containers that you can store on the ground and use on ships, extending the possibility to transport cargo at greater distances.

Always Keep the Law and Regulations in Mind

One essential step in your research that you mustn't overlook is ensuring that you will always be complying with the regulations of the states you are crossing. These can vary slightly, and it would be a huge waste of time and resources if the authorities would stop your transport for exceeding the legal limitations.

Final Thoughts

The most important step in choosing a trailer that will optimize your dry van transport is to know what you need. Good luck in finding the one that will make your business more efficient and your job more pleasant.

Joe WebsterWritten By:Joe WebsterConnect with Joe Webster on facebookConnect with Joe Webster on linkedin

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

Email me - info@a1autotransport.com

Satisfied Customers

“I am meticulous when it comes to everything. At first, I was thinking of just driving all the way to Illinois from New Jersey. A friend recommended me to go to A1 Auto Transport and told me a lot of good things about them. I refused initially because I had filed a 4 day leave just to drive and visit my mother. But things did not go well. My boss asked me to cancel my leave because a very important client asked for an urgent meeting, and the manager could not attend to it. I was hopeless and took the risk of asking help from A1. The notice was short and I forgot I needed to inform them in advance. After a couple of hours, I received a call and they told me they found a way to book me with no extra fees. I am so thankful I got to attend to my work matters. I did not get to see my mother, but the vehicle and items inside it were in perfect condition as if it was me who took care of it. I owe you guys big time! I got one huge deal from our client.”

“The plan was to ship my car from California to Utah. I went through nearly 20 quotes after using an auto shipping site which linked to a bunch of brokers. Finally, I found A1 Auto Transport, a company with its own trucks with great reviews. I was sold. Joe was very competent, gave off the impression he’d done this a million times, and it really showed throughout the transport. He listened to my request carefully, offered me several options, stayed in touch during the transport, and made sure I was happy with everything. Overall, a great company which I would definitely recommend to others!”

“I’m so glad I met you Joe!! A truly fortunate experience. Having to transport a car to Minnesota, I was stunned to see the company, who was supposed to take care of it, just vanish. I couldn’t reach them anymore, like they went bankrupt overnight. However, I was lucky enough to not pay anything, so I simply researched some more until I found A1 Auto Transport. Joe answered my call the first time and we soon agreed on a date and a quote. Unfortunately, I got caught up in work and forgot about it. The order was not confirmed, so Joe must’ve thought I changed my mind. I called him the next day and arranged for a new date. This time, I made a note on my phone and it went well. I replied to his email this time, and the driver arrived at a parking lot down the street on time, as promised. The driver was nice enough to not mention my previous mistake. He delivered my car in just 3 days. Upon careful inspection, there were no scratches or damage done to it during transport. Joe was there along with the driver and they both waited patiently until I was satisfied. Thanks!”

“A1 Auto is kind of like your favourite mom and pop pizza parlour, the one you can’t get enough of despite all the new, expensive avant-garde pizza shops that have mushroomed conspicuously across the entire neighbourhood and seem to have taken over the whole world...but not you. Because you value quality and genuine customer service, and know this business understands and works doubly hard to give you your money’s worth. I’ve been using A1 Auto Transport whenever I left California for business: they may not be the cheapest car transporters around, but the sheer professionalism, dedication, and heart they put into their work is just amazing and worth my every dime. I’m probably one of the most sceptical people you would ever meet. I’m rarely convinced when bombarded with dubious, self-congratulating ads of companies that look like they’ve spent tons of money on marketing materials just to lure your average guy in. A1 Auto Transport is the complete opposite of these companies. My car always arrived promptly on schedule, never with a hint of scratch or dirt or damage, and they keep me updated every step of the process. When you’ve found a company whose genuine care for their customers comes naturally, you stand by them no matter what. It’s the most logical thing to do.”

“A1 Auto Transport helped me move a vehicle to Iowa from Houston. I was a bit nervous, no knowing much about such services. Thanks to Joe, I was able to clear the fog a little. He answered all my questions and explained everything in a way that left no room for interpretation. The details were straightforward. I picked Sunday as the pickup date, since I wasn’t at work, and they accommodated me. The truck arrived an hour early, yet the driver patiently waited for me to arrive. He thoroughly checked my car for scratches or anything that might affect the transport then drove it onto the truck. I was given a 2 day time window during which the car was supposed to arrive in, and it got to Iowa in the evening of the first day. The trip didn’t damage it at all. Next time a friend wants to move, I’ll surely recommend A1 Auto Transport.”

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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