What you need to know about dry van freight shipping?

dry van freight

Dry van freight is amongst the most common and well-known modes of freight transportation. It has continued to be a significant form of transportation due to its widespread availability and the various advantages of using an enclosed trailer throughout the shipping process. Here’s our comprehensive guide to understanding dry van freight.

What is dry van freight?

Dry van freighters are used for a range of less-than-truckload (LTL) or full-truck-load (FTL) cargo types. Dry van trailers are enclosed semi-trucks to protect goods from the weather and other outside elements. Dry vans are not temperature-controlled and cannot transport oversized items. They are designed to transport palletized, boxed, or loose goods.

The most popular mode of freight transit in the United States is dry van transportation. Nearly all consumer goods have, at some point during their transportation cycle, been transported by dry van at some point. 

Types of dry van freighters

The maximum permissible length for a dry van trailer is 53 feet. The two most frequent dry van trailers are pup trailers and general trailers. The 53-foot length standard is for ordinary van trailers; however, pup trailers can be as long as 29 feet or as short as 26 feet.

53-feet Trailers

These are the most prevalent dry vans in the US. The standard dimensions of a 53-feet trailer are 53′ x 8′ 6″ x 8′ 6″. They can hold up to 44,000 pounds of freight and 25 to 26 standard pallets.

28-feet Trailers

LTL goods are frequently moved using 28-feet trailers. These are also known as “pup” trailers. They have a 28′ x 8′ x 9′ (l/w/h) floor size and can hold up to 22,000 pounds of freight and 13 to 14 standard pallets.

Straight Trucks 

Straight trucks, also known as box trucks, are commonly used for local deliveries within the city and include a liftgate for convenience. Straight trucks are available in various sizes, with the most common being 24′ x 8′ x 8′ 6″ (l/w/h).

Dry van trailers can be made of different materials. Freighters in this category are often made of iron, hardwood, aluminum, or galvanized steel.

Uses of Dry Van Freighters

Dry vans may be used to carry a wide range of freight, including building supplies, non perishable groceries, and more. Whether the product travels long or short distances, dry van trailers are popular everywhere because of their tremendous versatility. Here are a few of the most common applications for dry van shipping:

  • Dry vans are used for transporting construction equipment and related components. It is also used for raw material delivery on building sites since it can handle heavy loads easily.
  • They are used to move various goods, from electronics to e-commerce packets and many other small or medium-sized items.
  • They can also be used to carry smaller automobiles or motorcycles although in lesser quantities but with higher safety than open trailers.

Advantages of dry van freight

There are multiple advantages of using a dry van, making it one of the most popular modes of transporting goods. Some of the prominent ones are listed below.


Dry vans are widely accessible from several carriers and do not require service fees or special operations, making them one of the most cost-effective transportation solutions.


One of the most significant benefits of choosing a dry van truck to transport freight is the security of the goods. Because the goods are covered, shipments are protected from weather risks like rain or winds. This ability to be secured adds another degree of security against cargo theft.


Dry vans are the most frequently used equipment type because they work well for transporting consumer packaged goods. Dry van trailers are used across various categories like sending food, e-commerce packages, and electronics, but dry vans can also transport machinery and components, nonperishable foods, and even household products.

Factors that affect dry freight rates

The freight rates can be affected by a number of factors. We’ll understand the top 3 factors that affect the rates.


The collection and delivery locations significantly influence dry van freight charges. The route from collection to delivery is called the lane, and various lanes will charge varying fees. Even if two lanes are the same distance apart, their freights might differ based on location and certain geographical features such as proximity to densely populated areas. 


The freight itself will impact the dry van rates. The weight of the cargo is one of the most significant factors affecting the rates. The heavier the load is, the more fuel it will require to carry it, the higher the cost. The pricing is also affected by the density of the freight. Condensing packaging as much as possible since a smaller, denser box takes up less space and is less likely to result in damages.

Supply and Demand

The price of everything is affected by supply and demand, and full truckload shipping prices are no exception. The available vehicles, or total carrying capacity, represents the supply aspect in the transportation business. The less available drivers there are, the more a carrier may charge the shipper. These shortages might be brief and resolve themselves over time, or they could be on a bigger scale. The best method to deal with a change in pricing due to capacity is to reimagine and optimize the supply chain network by cutting down the inefficiencies and adopting digital transformation initiatives. Partners like 3PLs and 4PLs can also help in reducing the uncertainties around logistics.

The global supply chain challenges are increasing continuously and pushing up the cost of doing business. To be successful, you’ll need a reliable logistics partner that can provide insights into your supply chains and help reduce costs. For all your supply chain needs, you can try best-in-class logistics and supply chain optimization services from Gillson. Gillson is a far-reaching inventory network stage that attempts to assemble coordinated effort, permeability, execution, mix, and information-driven efficiencies into all tasks within the Supply Chain. It’s here to assist with wiping out pointless manual cycles and assets to reduce operating costs, increase efficiency, and, as a result, profitability.

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