Dry vans are the most versatile kind of trailer used in trucking. They are essentially a box on wheels (8 wheels with 4 on each axle) with doors in the back. Their specifications are also suited for the rigorous demands of the transportation industry, making them the most common trailers on the roads today. In fact, you can legally move your merchandize in a 53-foot dry van trailer across the country.
Options for dry van trailers
Also referred to as pulling box trailers, dry vans provide the most job opportunities – especially for new trucking drivers. The loads don’t require anything of the driver except to pull them. In other words, all the driver needs to do is hook up to a loaded trailer and then drop it off at its destination without coming in contact with the load.
Depending on your freight needs, you can get a dry van trailer that is most suitable. Dry van trailers typically measure 28 to 53 feet long, 96 to 102 inches wide, and 12.5 to 13.5 feet high. With a maximum volume of approximately 3,500 cubic feet or 26 pallets, or 44,000 to 45,000 pounds maximum weight capacity, there are different trailer options to consider, including:
- Food grade
- Plate trailer
- Lift gates
- Roll-up doors
- Swing doors
- Screwed in wood floors
- Vented trailers
Differentiating between the two types of dry van trailers
Many people don’t seem to be able to differentiate between the two types of dry van trailers on the market today. Any fleet manager should be able to differentiate between the two as they are used for different hauling needs.
- Sheet and post trailers: These are built with plywood, although similar materials can be used. The internal width of these trailers measures about 98.5 inches, which makes it fairly light. However, it also requires consistent maintenance compared to composite trailers.
- Composite trailers: Also referred to as plate trailers, these trailers are made of composite material, characterized by smooth internal walls. This design helps reduce the risk of damaging or snagging freight on the interior of the trailer when loading and unloading. The internal width is wider than that of sheet and post trailers at 101 inches.
The kind of dry van you get determines the type of commodities you haul. These may include:
- Building products
- Dry grade food
- Finished products
- Lawn/garden tools
The wider composite trailers are usually preferred when transporting goods on palettes. Considering that a typical palette measures 40 by 48 inches, two palettes stacked widthwise would require 96 inches. Taking product overhang into account, the extra 2.5 inches offered by composite trailers are better suited for this kind of work.
Do you require special equipment for dry van trailers?
Sheet and post trailers typically require one-inch-deep posts to separate different sections, as well as logistic slots to support the cargo during transit, especially when considering LTL shipping.
Do you require a special license to operate a car hauler?
The US Department of Transportation requires that all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds be driven by an operator possessing a commercial driver’s license (CDL B), while those towing with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds have the CDL A.
Can Dry Van Trailers be Leased or Rented?
Although dry van trailers are available for purchase, many companies prefer to rent or lease them as this is the cheaper option, especially when managing many trailers.