We see a dry van truck on the left of a highway driving next to a small, navy blue compact car.

What Is Dry Van Trucking?

Dry van trucking is generally the most common form of freight transportation. “Dry van” is the term used to refer to the type of vehicle that is used to haul cargo.This is the type of truck that you typically see with large storage containers being towed on the highway.

Many industries use dry van trucks to ship their products, given the versatility, relatively low cost, and reliability of this form of freight transportation. Freight is most commonly packed and wrapped on pallets that can be loaded and unloaded with a forklift or pallet jack.

Contract Us for Dry Van Trucking

What Do Dry Vans Haul?

Dry vans are used to haul non-perishable goods that don’t require a climate-controlled environment. They are used in transporting many different items, as they can carry large shipments of up to 45,000 pounds. Here is a list of potential items and commodities that can be palletized and hauled by a dry van trucking company:

  • Packaged, non-perishable food and beverage
  • Clothing
  • Various electronics (those not affected by a non-temperature controlled environment)
  • Machinery and parts
  • Furniture
  • Industrial equipment
  • Automotive
  • Cleaning products
  • Beauty products
  • Construction
  • Healthcare equipment

Who Uses Dry Van Trucking for Shipping?

Dry van trucking is used for shipments that can’t travel exposed on a flatbed and don’t require a climate-controlled container. Many industries use dry van trucking companies to ship their non-perishable products. Some of the most common industries that use dry van shipping are health and beauty, automotive, non-perishable food and beverage companies, electronics, manufacturing, consumer goods, and cleaning products. Many dry van trucking companies have open availability for freight shipping, meaning it is easy for these industries to get their products shipped faster. This type of shipping is very versatile and is a great choice for many industries.

How Dry Van Shipping Differs from Other Shipping Methods

Dry van shipping involves a fully sealed container attached to the back of a semi-truck. Most containers are between 48 to 53 ft. long, but some shipments travel on smaller containers 28 feet long. Unlike refrigerated containers, dry van trucking doesn’t involve any climate control, but it allows for more space to transport large quantities of goods more conveniently. Another common shipping method is flatbed trucking, which is often used for oversized and overweight freight. Standard flatbed trucks offer a long open bed connected to a semi-truck. Stop Deck trailers offer two different deck levels for machinery to be transported.

Pros and Cons of Dry Van Shipping

Dry van shipping tends to be less expensive, since it doesn’t require a refrigerated container. It also provides protection from the elements, damage and theft in a sealed container. Since dry van shipping is so common, trucks and containers are likely available nearby and are able to coordinate quick pickups and deliveries.

Since dry vans use sealed containers, there are length, height, and width limitations that may exclude oversized products. The wood flooring in shipping containers can wear out over time with moisture buildup and damage from heavy freight. Since they are not climate controlled, temperature and humidity in dry van containers can be impacted by bad weather.

Dry Van Dimensions

The U.S. Department of Transportation has set standard semi-trailer dimensions between 48 to 53 feet long. While variations in height and length are common, width is more standardized at 8.5 feet (102 inches). Most tractor trailers adhere to a 13.5 foot height that won’t exceed height limitations of bridges and tunnels.

The two standard pallet or “skid” sizes used to pack freight onto dry van trucks are 42”x48” and 48”x48”. Both sizes have a standard height of 5-½” and weigh around 40 lbs. A 48-foot trailer can fit up to 24 skids at 48”x48”, or 26 at 42”x44”. A 53-foot trailer will fit up to 26 pallets that are 48”x48”, or 30 that are 42”x48”.

How Much Weight Can a Dry Van Haul?

There are two typical sizes of dry van shipping containers, each with their respective weight limits. 53 foot long containers have a weight capacity of 45,000 pounds. 28 foot long containers have a weight limit of 22,500 pounds. Some drivers prefer to travel 1,000-5,000 pounds under weight capacity for safety reasons.

Ship for the Best Dry Van Freight Rates with East Coast Transport!

East Coast Transport, LLC has over 40 years of experience in the trucking industry and are industry leaders in our field. We are dedicated to satisfying our clients in providing them with the best in customer service and will work with you individually inside your unique situation.

We customize all of our customer service solutions, and we guarantee that you will be satisfied with your experience with us. To learn more about how East Coast Transport, LLC can help you meet your shipping needs, contact us today!

Get a Free Freight Quote