The flat deck refers to the area of the truck or trailer that the goods are loaded onto – it’s a large uniformly flat area which items can be placed on and secured.
Trailers can be heavy or light, and can be semitrailers or full trailers.
Flat deck trailers and trucks do not have curtains or a hard-side body – they are uncovered – however, they might have stanchions or fold-down gates.
If the trailer has a step in it, it’s called a step-deck trailer, drop-deck trailer or transporter trailer.
The lower deck means that taller loads can be carried without the risk of the load being over-height.
There are b-train flat deck combinations; the first trailer may be a step-deck for more flexibility.
How are loads secured to a flat deck truck?
Drivers must know how to secure loads to a truck or trailer before using a flat deck truck or trailer because there are no rated curtains or hard sides to contain loads.
Flat deck trailers have anchor points so that loads can be tied down. These can be rope rails, chain hooks or ISO container locks.
The decks can be metal or metal and wood. Wooden decks have more friction than metal decks, but wear more quickly.
At the front of the flat deck on a truck is a headboard. Some trailers have headboards, too (as shown in the above photo), and the load should be against the headboard.
If the trailer is a light trailer, the driver must still know how to secure loads to a light trailer.
Drivers can be fined for transporting an unsecured load.
What are flat deck trucks and trailers used for?
The flat deck is used for transporting items which are not able to be transported in curtainside or hardside trailers for various reasons:
- Hardside trailers can only be loaded from the rear
- Curtainside trailers have curtain poles and a rear door or panel which obstructs access
- Curtainside and hardside trailers are more expensive
- Flat deck trailers can be loaded from the top
- Flat deck trailers can be loaded oversize (with the right permits)
- Flat deck trailers can be loaded and unloaded with a truck loader crane
- A container can be secured to a flat deck trailer if a skeletal trailer isn’t available
- Flat deck trucks with side gates are easy to load with aggregates and soil