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What Are Step Deck Trailers Used For?

Consumers and businesses rely on supply chains to transport and receive products. While dry vans populate the roads, some freight won’t fit in these trucks, and a flatbed is needed. Though a flatbed truck can accommodate cargo that can’t fit in a dry van, even a flatbed truck has its limits, and that’s where a step deck trailer can step in to carry the load. Step deck trailers can haul types of freight that come in oversized dimensions, making it a better fit for cargo that is taller and heavier than recommended for flatbed trucks.

How Does a Step Deck Trailer Work?

Like its smaller counterpart the flatbed, a step deck trailer is not an enclosed trailer, and therefore does not have walls, doors, or a roof. The open space allows truckers to transport cargo that does not fit in a dry van truck. Step deck trailers have two levels, with the lower level adding a foot of additional flexibility for tall cargo. This extra headroom helps with the problem that some cargo creates for traditional flatbed trucks as some freight challenges regulations. 

Why Are Step Deck Trailers Important?

Step deck trailers are important because they make it easier to get permits and meet legal height caps. Because a step deck trailer can lower the second deck to the same level as the wheels to increase vertical space, this extra space can help you carry more cargo and stay within legal requirements. Traditional flatbed trailers do not provide this flexibility, making it more challenging to transport tall freight.

The other reason this trailer type is important is that step deck dimensions are more favorable than conventional flatbed trailers. Having a top deck that is 11 inches long, a bottom deck that is 37-41 inches long, and a platform 3-3.5 feet above the road gives your more room for a load than a flatbed’s standard 5-foot clearance. 

What Is Transported in Step Deck Trailers?

Step deck trailers handle heavy machinery and other resources that can’t fit in dry van trucks and are too tall for traditional flatbed trailers. Here are some of the hauls commonly found on a step deck trailer.

  • Agricultural Machinery
  • Tractors And Excavators
  • Building Materials
  • Construction Equipment

How Much Does a Step Deck Trailer Cost?

A step deck trailer’s cost varies by condition, model, and features. Most used step deck trailers cost somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000, with newer models exceeding $70,000.

How High Can You Load a Step Deck Trailer?

Maximum height plays a crucial role in safety practices. Exceeding the defined limit can put you in legal jeopardy and cause damage if the cargo, as well as federal placards and roadway services. Step deck trailers have a 10-foot maximum height for cargo, though a double-drop trailer can have freight up to 11 feet and 6 inches tall.

How Much Weight Can a Step Deck Trailer Haul?

The maximum weight truckers can carry by truck-type is same across the board, so just as conventional flatbed trucks can carry 48,000 pounds, step deck trailers can also haul up to 48,000 pounds.

How Do You Load a Step Deck Trailer?

Like a flatbed truck, cargo can be dropped directly, and carefully, onto the platform and strapped to the vehicle and trailer itself. A key thing to remember when doing this, however, is that you must allocate the freight throughout the platform to effectively distribute the weight. Putting cargo at the front of the step deck trailer will help spread it across the vehicle, this placement will also help the lifespan of your tires.

Flatbed Trailer vs Step Deck Trailer

Flatbed and step deck trailers both carry heavy and oversized freight that won’t fit in dry vans. In both, the cargo gets exposed to weather and the elements, but a protective tarp limits the damage. The key difference between these two trailer types is that a step deck trailer has a lower deck, giving a trucker an additional 18-inch margin for a freight’s height. Step deck trailers make it compliance far easier to deal with, while also maintaining safe clearance while traveling under bridges. Storing more cargo also increases potential loads and can make each trip more profitable.

Why Do Companies Use Step Deck Trailers?

Step deck trailers carry machinery, construction equipment, and other tall cargo. Traditional flatbeds don’t give enough height clearance for some freight. Step deck trailers provide business owners and drivers with more than an additional foot to help stay within regulatory requirements.

Get The Extra Flexibility with a Step Deck Trailer

Some freight barely exceeds the legal height mandates, but still, is extremely dangerous to travel under bridges. Step deck trailers allow you to get more cargo under bridges that wouldn’t work with a traditional flatbed trailer. Valuable for oversized and overweight cargo, a step deck trailer is a flatbed, but better than the original.

Rethink what you know about trucking

GP Transco strives to provide excellent customer service while offering a modern work environment with competitive pay and outstanding benefits.

Rethink what you know about trucking

GP Transco strives to provide excellent customer service while offering a modern work environment with competitive pay and outstanding benefits.