When it comes to shipping heavy equipment and machinery, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Different types of trailers are available to accommodate awkwardly shaped, oversized, or bulky cargo. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the advantages of using step deck trailers for transportation. Step deck trailers provide unique features that make them an excellent choice for hauling tall and diverse loads. Let’s dive in and discover why step deck trailers are a preferred option in the shipping industry.

What is a Step Deck Trailer?

A step deck trailer, also known as a drop deck trailer, is a specialized shipping platform designed to transport cargo that exceeds the height restrictions of a standard flatbed trailer. Unlike flatbed trailers, step deck trailers have two deck levels: a higher deck close to the truck cab and a lower deck towards the rear. This configuration allows for taller cargo to be transported without the need for additional permits.

Step deck trailers offer versatility by providing a shipping platform with no restrictive sides, roof, or doors. This design allows for easy loading and unloading of equipment and machinery, making it an ideal choice for various industries.

Advantages of Step Deck Trailer Shipping

Step deck trailers offer several distinct advantages over standard flatbed trailers. Let’s explore these advantages in detail:

1. Height Permits

One of the significant advantages of using a step deck trailer is the ability to transport taller loads without the need for additional permits. The lower deck height of a step deck trailer, typically around 41 inches, allows for larger cargo to be placed closer to the ground, avoiding height restrictions. This feature provides flexibility and more options for transporting high-profile equipment and machinery.

2. Easier Loading and Unloading

The lower deck height of step deck trailers provides a safer and easier loading and unloading process. Forklift operators find it more convenient to load and unload cargo onto step deck trailers due to the reduced need for lifting the forks as high. This feature minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries during the transportation process.

3. Equipment Diversity

Step deck trailers are well-suited for hauling a wide variety of equipment, including construction machinery. Their design allows for the transportation of large and awkwardly shaped machinery that may not fit on a standard flatbed trailer. Moreover, multiple types of equipment can be shipped together on a tandem step deck trailer, optimizing efficiency and reducing transportation costs.

4. Increased Payload Capacity

Step deck trailers offer the advantage of increased payload capacity compared to standard flatbed trailers. A tandem step deck trailer can usually haul up to 45,000 lbs, while a tridem step deck trailer can handle loads of up to 62,000 lbs. This higher capacity allows for the transportation of heavier equipment, reducing the need for multiple trips or additional trailers.

Types of Step Deck Trailers

Step deck trailers come in various types, each with its own specifications and applications. Understanding the different types of step deck trailers can help you choose the right one for your specific transportation needs. Here are some common types:

  1. Single Drop Deck: A step deck trailer with a single lower deck, suitable for taller cargo.
  2. Double Drop Deck: A step deck trailer with two lower decks, providing additional space for taller loads.
  3. Detachable Deck or Flatbed: A step deck trailer with a detachable upper deck that converts it into a flatbed trailer, offering more flexibility in loading and unloading.
  4. Extended Single Drop Deck: A step deck trailer with an extended lower deck, allowing for the transportation of longer cargo.
  5. Extended Double Drop Deck: A step deck trailer with extended upper and lower decks, providing increased capacity for taller and longer loads.

Choosing the right type of step deck trailer depends on the weight and dimensions of your cargo. Consult with a professional transportation company to determine the most suitable option for your specific requirements.

Weight and Dimension Limits

Step deck trailers have specific weight and dimension limits to ensure safe and legal transportation. These limits vary depending on the trailer type and regional regulations. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Length: The legal length for a step deck trailer is typically 48 feet, but oversize loads can be hauled on trailers up to 53 feet in length.
  • Width: The width of a step deck trailer is limited to 8.5 feet.
  • Height: Step deck trailers can transport cargo with a height of up to 10 to 11 feet. Using an extended trailer can accommodate heights beyond the standard limit.
  • Weight: The maximum legal weight for a step deck trailer is usually 48,000 pounds. However, the weight capacity may differ based on regional regulations and the specific trailer configuration.

Ensure compliance with local laws and regulations when determining the weight and dimensions of your cargo for transportation on a step deck trailer.

Step Deck Trailer Transportation: Considerations and Best Practices

When utilizing step deck trailers for your transportation needs, there are some essential considerations and best practices to keep in mind. These include:

  1. Secure Load: Properly secure your cargo to prevent shifting or damage during transportation. Use appropriate strapping, tie-downs, and blocking techniques to ensure the load’s stability.
  2. Route Planning: Plan your transportation route carefully, taking into account any height or weight restrictions, road conditions, and permits required for oversized loads. Consult with transportation experts to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.
  3. Professional Assistance: Work with experienced transportation companies that specialize in step deck trailer shipping. They can provide the expertise, equipment, and knowledge required to handle your cargo safely and efficiently.
  4. Insurance Coverage: Verify that your cargo is adequately insured during transportation. Accidents or damage can occur despite taking precautions, and having appropriate insurance coverage provides peace of mind and financial protection.

By following these considerations and best practices, you can ensure the successful and secure transportation of your cargo using step deck trailers.

Step deck trailers provide a specialized and versatile solution for shipping tall and diverse cargo. The advantages they offer, including height permit exemptions, easier loading and unloading, equipment diversity, and increased payload capacity, make them a preferred choice for many industries. Understanding the different types of step deck trailers and adhering to weight and dimension limits are essential for successful transportation. By considering these factors and following best practices, you can maximize the benefits of step deck trailer shipping and ensure the safe delivery of your equipment and machinery.

Choose a reputable and experienced transportation company to handle your step deck trailer shipping needs. Their expertise and knowledge will ensure a seamless transportation process, allowing you to focus on your business and leave the logistics to the professionals.

Contact Us (859) 824-4177 for more information or to get a quote!

About American Lighthouse Transportation

American Lighthouse Transportation has been serving shippers with honesty and integrity throughout the United States, since 1998. You can depend on our experienced and knowledgeable management team, drivers, and support for all your shipping needs. We communicate effectively to make sure your shipment arrives safely, accurately, and on-time! You can count on us for personalized customer service, expert guidance, accurate anticipation of potential setbacks, and possible workarounds and solutions.
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