Flatbed, Roll-tite & Specialty Equipment Shipping

In the realm of logistics and transportation, flatbed shipping plays an undeniably integral role in the transportation of specialized cargo across North America. Defined as the transportation of cargo that may not require the enclosure of a dry van, cannot be loaded or unloaded from a dock, or does not fit within the dimensions of standard truck trailers, flatbed carriers provide businesses with the efficient transportation of goods that require specialized accommodation. Over the years, this has become a Mactrans Logistics specialty, working with clients to effectively orchestrate the transportation of over 100,000 lbs across international borders. To seamlessly fulfill multiple oversized shipments within tight deadlines, clients require the expertise of transportation experts who understand intelligent shipping, flexibility, and strategic planning.

Basically, complex jobs require complex transportation solutions and, as any logistics professional can tell you, there is simply no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution — especially when it comes to oversized or otherwise awkward freight.

While flatbed cargo is most commonly associated with elongated trucks often seen on the highway, this shipping method is also available across rail, ocean, and air through means of container shipping. Flatbed shipping is both versatile and convenient, and boasts easy loading and unloading unlike other shipping services. Over the past few years, specifically, flatbed shipping is on the rise, and that trend shows no indication of slowing down.

‘An oversized crossborder load managed by Mactrans Logistics in December 2020’

Flatbed Trailers: A Versatile, Convenient Transportation Choice

Typically, flatbed carriers are a popular choice for over-dimensional freight such as auto parts, construction equipment, excavators, generators, lumber, mining/drilling equipment, solar panels, tubing, and steel. Usually stretching an 53 feet, some flatbed trailers can accommodate up to 48,000 pounds (without the need for an oversize permit) and are designed without physical walls. This enables them to handle freight of awkward dimensions that would make other transportation methods difficult.

Due to the open-air nature of these trailers, cargo is loaded from all sides, and certain loads may require the use of tarps depending on weather conditions or the nature of the cargo. Roll Tite or Conestoga trailers can also come into play in this scenario, as they offer a wind-resistant roll-up tarp over the trailer. Rather than relying on a regular flatbed trailer with a tarped load, Conestoga trailers ensure that the roll-up tarp does not touch the weight, eliminating any risk of cargo damage. The design of flatbed trailers also ensures ease of loading and unloading, as forklifts, cranes and other machinery can easily access the freight from any side or angle. The best part? No loading dock required.

Specialized Transportation for Specialized Cargo

Step-deck trailers are another important tool in the arsenal of any flatbed transportation specialist, as they can be leveraged for commodities that are extremely high/tall. As you might imagine, the tallest part of the cargo is loaded on the lower part of the trailer, which boasts a clearance of 10 feet on the main deck, and 8.5 feet on the front deck. In this case, trailer length is 53 feet and width is 8.5 feet, and anything outside of these parameters will require oversize permits. 

Finally, we have Low Boy or Double Drop trailers which are used specifically for heavy industrial machinery, farm equipment, and any other cargo that demands extensive space. The name is derived from their design; a semi-trailer with two drops in deck height, which allows the deck to sit extremely low compared to other trailers. Oftentimes, this equipment is leveraged for loads that a standard flatbed trailer cannot handle and, thanks to their unique design and low deck, machinery can be driven right onto the trailer.

Considering flatbed shipping for your oversized freight? We can help. Mactrans qualified flatbed carriers are carefully vetted and selected to manage all of your over-dimensional and project freight requirements. Our experience team of logistics experts will custom develop a flatbed, specialized, or oversized solution specifically to your needs.