Shipper Best Practices

What is full van truckload freight shipping?


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Full van truckload is over-the-road (OTR) transportation used for larger shipments that fills an entire 48’ or 53’ van trailer. This means that your freight is the only load on an individual truck and the truck makes one shipment only. This method is used when shippers have enough product to fill a truck or weight needs for an entire truck, the freight is time-sensitive or the shipper wants a more cost-effective solution. There are weight and volume minimums with this shipping method. 

When someone does not need an entire truck to ship their product, they would use less-than truckload (LTL) shipping. That shipping method generally combines freight from several customers in a trailer.

Full van truckload shipping benefits

  • Speed: Full truckload shipping is generally faster than LTL because the truck is traveling to one destination and doesn’t stop as frequently during the shipment.
  • Less handling: Because your load is the only freight in the truck, it will be handled less than in LTL.
  • Less chance of damage or theft: Your freight gets handled much less than in LTL and your shipment has the entire truck to itself so you don’t have to worry about other cargo damaging yours.
  • Cost-efficient: Full truckload is less expensive than LTL and offers cost savings for higher volumes.

How to make your freight more attractive to carriers

  • Make loading and unloading freight efficient: At-the-ready gate guards, clearly marked signage, staged loads, and prepared paperwork helps drivers enter and exit the facility efficiently.
  • Allow flexibility for pickup and delivery: Offer flexible pickup and delivery windows. Shippers who offer weekend pickup and delivery availability along with expanding appointment time options when compared to those who don’t will increase the likelihood of attracting a truck in a tight market.
  • Provide forward visibility: 3-5 days of lead time, with at least 24 hours of advanced notice of load ready times and accurate forecasting of anticipated surges, make freight more attractive.
  • Maintain smooth volume of freight: Consistent freight patterns throughout the week help providers to have a reliable flow of equipment into and out of a facility.

Types of truckload equipment

Dry van: Fully enclosed semi-trailer that moves palletized, boxed or loose freight that aren't temperature-controlled or oversized items.

Flatbed: This trailer does not have walls and is used for oversized freight that won’t fit into a dry van or that needs to be loaded from the side.

Refrigerated: This equipment maintains specified temperatures for freight.

    dry van truckload, flatbed, and refrigerated trucks
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    Learn more with other truckload learning resources or visit our dry van truckload services page.

    Published May 2021

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