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What is Dry Van Shipping?

Whether you are shipping full truckload or less-than-truckload freight, chances are you are using dry van shipping. It is the most commonly used trailer type within the trucking industry as it allows to transport large amounts of goods and almost every type of commodity.

What is a dry van trailer?

Dry van trailers are large, enclosed boxes, usually no longer than 48-53 feet. These containers represent the usual truck that you will most likely see on the road. Dry vans are called ‘dry’ because they are used for shipping dry freight that doesn’t require any temperature or climate control. Because these trailers are closed and protected, dry van shipping is the best way to protect freight from external influences like the weather.

When should you use dry van shipping?

It is not hard to figure out which trailer type to use, regardless if you are shipping FTL or LTL. Dry van trucks will work for both businesses and individual shippers. Clothes, furniture, consumer packaged goods and equipment are just some of the commodity types that can be moved with dry vans. Generally, you are good to deploy dry vans for mostly everything, except:

  • If your freight is perishable and requires temperature control or monitoring
  • If your freight is too big or bulky to fit in a dry van

Most commonly shipped dry van goods:

  • Clothing and retail products
  • Consumer packaged and household goods
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Non-perishable foods and beverages
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Textile, plastic and building products

What are the disadvantages of dry van shipping?

Despite dry van working for almost everyone, it doesn’t quite fit every shipment. While being highly functional and versatile, dry van trucking can be complicated sometimes.

Tight capacity

A dry van is the most popular type of freight truck transportation, and it faces an extremely high demand, especially in the peak season. So, it may be problematic to find capacity if you have large volumes of shipments.

No temperature control

Dry vans don’t have any climate regulation, so if you are shipping perishable food, beverages, flowers, fine art, or other products that can’t survive temperature difference, a dry van is not an option for you.

Wooden floors

In most dry van trailers, there are wooden floors that are vulnerable to high humidity and moisture. These floors can easily be damaged, which means that the carrier will need to repair the truck.

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