The typical load hauled on a flatbed trailer might be something like cinder blocks or heavy construction equipment. Most of us are not surprised to see what might be tooling down the highway next to us on a flatbed tractor-trailer rig. At the same time, the versatility of the flatbed trailer makes it ideal for hauling what would otherwise be impossible to move. In short, flatbeds make it possible to haul the impossible.
A case in point is a 1928 American LaFrance fire truck from its storage space in La Salle, Illinois to its new garage across the street from the La Salle fire station. A flatbed truck made it possible to move the vintage piece of firefighting equipment without having to start its engine.
In this particular case, the truck used to haul the cargo was a large wrecker provided by a local towing company. But such jobs are not limited to smaller trucks. Flatbed trailers towed by big rigs carry loads every bit as unusual. From oil drilling equipment to rockets and historical houses being relocated, flatbeds can carry it all.
Different Trailers Make It Possible
One of the keys to successful flatbed trucking is having a variety of trailers at your disposal. Everything starts with the simple, straight flatbed that provides a level surface for stacking cargo. If it can fit on a standard trailer without concerns of overhead clearance, this is the trailer to use.
Next up are drop-deck trailers (a.k.a. low boys). These are trailers with multiple levels. The main purpose for using a drop-deck is to carry cargo that is subject to height restrictions. The lower deck between the trailer tongue and axle give quite a bit of extra room overhead. These trailers are typically used to haul construction equipment like front loaders, cranes, and the like.
Yet another type of flatbed is the stretch trailer. This trailer can either offer a standard flat bed or a drop-deck bed depending on design. Stretch trailers are used to carry unusually long loads. They have extra reinforcement in the frames to account for extra weight when necessary.
It All Has to Be Secured
Hauling the impossible is not only a matter of finding the right trailer. It is also a matter of securing the cargo – and keeping it secure throughout its journey. Everything has to be secured in such a way as to maximize safety and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations.
Mytee Products, an Ohio company that specializes in cargo control for the trucking industry, is just one of the many suppliers around the country furnishing everything truckers need to keep cargo securely in place. Their inventory includes everything from blocks and edge protectors to chains and straps.
There are some loads that require a combination of everything in the truck driver’s toolbox. Still other loads need some custom-made cargo control solutions particular only to that type of cargo. The more challenging the job, the more intricate the cargo control systems used to keep it in place.
Moving a 1928 fire truck a few miles down the road is pretty routine. But imagine carrying something like an entire 19th century house being moved to a natural living museum, for example. The cargo control solutions necessary to keep that house intact is mind-boggling. That says nothing about actually moving the massive load down narrow roads, under power lines, etc. on the way to its destination.
But that is what flatbed truckers do, and they do it well. They make it possible to haul the impossible.