(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Dry Van Shipping

3 min read

In the last few years, it seems even more tractor trailers are on the road to keep up with consumer demands amid product shortages. That’s because they are. According to the American Trucking Association, big-rig drivers tally over 300 billion miles each year in the nearly 4 million tractor trailers registered in the U.S. Motorists may get frustrated when they get stuck behind a semi-trailer while on their way to the beach, but imagine their frustration if their favorite beach side chair is out of stock when they arrive.

Americans found out during the COVID-19 pandemic just how critical the trucking industry is to daily living. Remember when toilet paper was nowhere to be found? Or when you couldn’t bake your favorite cookies because flour was out of stock? Forget about coloring your hair: none of these goods can get beyond the warehouses and into the consumers’ hands without dry van shipping.

What Is Considered a Dry Van? 

Dry vans are the most common type of trailers on the road. Dry van trailers are fully enclosed, sealed, waterproof (hence the name ‘dry’) semi-trucks. Dry van trailers are typically 48 to 53 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet high, with a weight capacity of 45,000 pounds of cargo. Smaller pup box trailers are 28 feet long and can carry 22,500 pounds. A fully loaded dry van can hold about 26 pallets of goods.

Constructed of hardwood, steel, or aluminum, dry vans provide sturdy, reliable enclosures suitable for shipping anything. Well, everything except perishables and large equipment. Dry vans have finite space, so they cannot carry oversized loads like flatbed trailers.

What Type of Shipments Do Dry Vans Haul? 

Also referred to as commercial box trucks, dry vans can haul almost any non-perishable goods. Items can be shipped as loose freight, with pallets, or boxed.

Dry van shipping is extremely popular due to its versatility. The type of freight shipped in dry vans includes:

  • Clothes
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Household goods
  • Machinery
  • Paper goods
  • Non-perishable food and beverages

If it doesn’t need to be kept cold, put it in a dry van.

What Is the Difference Between a Dry Van and Reefer? 

A reefer in the freight transportation world is slang for a refrigerated tractor trailer. A reefer is very similar to a dry van, except it is a temperature-controlled trailer designed to carry perishables, like food and flowers.

Refrigerated trailers have the same dimensions as dry vans but are insulated and have controls to maintain a constant temperature throughout the haul. Although reefers are designed to carry temperature-sensitive freight, shippers sometimes pick up non-perishable goods to limit empty hauls when returning to base. Since reefer trailers are heavier than dry van trailers, their load capacity is slightly reduced.

What Are the Benefits of Dry Van Shipping? 

Dry vans are very popular among truckers because of their versatility and simplicity. Add on these other benefits of dry van shipping, and you can see why dry van freight shipping is in high demand.

Goods stay clean and dry. The heavy-duty, weatherproof siding protects the goods from rain, bad weather, and dirt.

Goods are kept safe. The fully enclosed box keeps the freight hidden from the view of would-be thieves, and the van freight is protected under lock and key. In addition, damage to the cargo is typically not an issue in case of a truck breakdown.

Dry van shipping is efficient. Trucking companies can meet most shipping needs by offering full truckloads, less-than-truckloads, or LTL shipments, and shippers can mix and match the type of freight in one truckload.

Dry van shipping is affordable. Dry vans are readily available, can be driven by most CDLs, and don’t require special technology or features to keep them running. Dry vans are cost-effective for short-haul and long-haul shipments, and “drop and hook” means less wait time at the loading docks, which helps keep prices low.

So motorists better get used to sharing the road if they want to keep their houses clean and well-stocked.

Dry Van Drivers Depend on Drivewyze 

Dry van carriers love Drivewyze because we help them go further, earn more, and get home sooner. Drivewyze serves commercial drivers and fleets with innovative trucking services like:

“I am very fuel conscientious about my mileage and there is no doubt it saves me time and fuel.” –Read More.

John and Carol Wieczorek

Owner Operators, Mercer Transportation

Contact us today to find out how Drivewyze can keep your entire fleet safe and help you cut costs.

Next Steps

Drivewyze is a leader in connected truck services. We have helped thousands of fleets improve fleet efficiency and safety outcomes towards our vision of zero crashes and zero fatalities.

  1. Drivewyze PreClear – Request a demo of the largest weigh station bypass service with 900 sites in 47 states and provinces.
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  3. Drivewyze Safety+ – Premium safety solution for fleets that comes with custom zone alerts, severe weather alerts and a lot more. Request a demo or a free trial today!
  4. Drivewyze Mobile Apps – Owner-operators can sign up for a free 30-day trial for the Drivewyze PreClear app on iOS and Android and start receiving bypasses in 900 sites across 47 states and provinces.
  5. Careers and Partnerships – If you’re interested in joining the team that is building the future of connect trucking, please see our Careers page and submit partnership inquiries here.

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