Skip to content


Find answers to common freight questions.

What is a Dry Van?

A dry van is a non-refrigerated freight transport trailer. Many carriers use these trailers to transport general cargo, such as boxes, furniture, and appliances. These are the type of trailers you’d most likely see on the road. Where long-haul trucking is the main form of shipment, this is where the trailer comes into use. The trailer’s design is mainly to transport dry goods that are not temperature-sensitive, hence the name “Dry Van.” This is mainly for transporting a wide variety of products, from food and beverages to furniture and electronics.

Reliable and affordable, dry van transportation is a great way to transport freight. Whether you’re shipping home furnishings, electronics, toys, or textiles, dry van transportation can get your goods where they need to go. These trailers are typically larger than standard containers, so you can usually fit more goods into one shipment, saving you money on shipping costs. Dry van transportation is a great and cost-effective option.

What is a Dry Van?

Dry van trailers are usually made of steel or aluminum with solid walls surrounding the base. The walls of the trailer and doors are typically weather-tight. The extra cover prevents your goods from damaging wind, rain, or snow. In addition, dry vans mostly come with racks or shelves that you can use to keep your cargo safe.

The door at the back can open for loading and unloading. Some also have a side door or doors at the front of the vehicle. The design of these trucks is to carry pallets, boxes, or loose freight. As a result, depending on the size of the van, it can hold anywhere between 10-26 pallets of cargo. They are also one of the most common types of transport vehicles in the United States, typically for long-distance shipping.

Get a Dry Van Shipping Quote

Why Use a Dry Van?

The affordability and availability of a dry van trailer makes it a popular mode of shipping LTL freight. Is your freight weather-sensitive or can be damaged easily and needs extra shielding? With sturdy flooring and walls, dry van trailers protect the inside cargo from all outside elements even including thieves. Dry vans provide shippers the opportunity to move their goods in a safe and sound steel box. This protects any fragile or susceptible items from harm during transit. If you are in the market for a trailer that can enclose your items over short or long distances, a dry van is your best bet.

Factors to Consider

Here are a few measurements to keep in mind when deciding which trailer to use for your shipment.

  • The lifespan of the van
  • The durability of the trailer
  • The availability of the trailer
  • Dimensions of your freight
  • Weight of load

Knowing all these will decide on what truck to use and in turn will help you on your way to finding the best rate for your cargo. Whatever your specific needs may be, it’s important to take the time to find the right dry van for your freight. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your load – or worse.

What Goes On a Dry Van?

These vans can hold a variety of items, but the main categories are:

  • Textiles and retail products
  • Equipment and machinery
  • Non-perishable foods and beverages
  • Electronics
  • Home furnishings
  • Building products

Before pickup, be sure to secure all loose items so that they do not shift on the pallet. Doing so will help to ensure that your goods arrive at their destination in the same condition as when they began.

Get a Dry Van Shipping Quote

Sizes and Capacity

The most common type of dry van trailer is 53′ x 8′ 6” x 8′ 6” (lwh). In addition, some dry vans have extra features that you can use to transport special types of cargo.

These semi-truck trailers are typically made out of aluminum or steel and have either a solid or plywood floor. They are available in a variety of sizes, but the most common has a capacity of 40-48 feet. The exact weight and volume capacity of a dry van depends on the size and construction of the van. The standard size trailer can hold up to 45,000 pounds.

Regardless of their size or the bells and whistles that come with them, all dry vans share one common goal: to safely transport cargo from point A to point B.

  • Box Truck – The most common size box truck is 24’ x 8’ x 8’ 6”. The maximum weight and the number of pallets will depend on the box truck’s size.
  • 28-Foot Trailer – On a 28-foot trailer, you can store up to 22,500 pounds and 14 pallets at most. The sizes are 28 feet by 8 feet by 9 feet.
  • 48-Foot Trailers – A 48-foot trailer can hold up to 43,000 pounds and 24 pallets in total. The dimensions for this trailer are 48’ x 8’6”.
  • 53-Foot Trailers – 53-foot-long trailers can store up to 45,000 pounds and 26 pallets. The measurements for this are 53’ x 8’6” x 8’6.

Secured Freight

Freight is typically sent from one place to another by dry vans. Straps or nets are important to prevent them from shifting during transit. When your shipment is on a dry van, it will be secured and protected until it reaches its destination. Some shipments may require additional security measures, such as pallets to keep them safe. To load a dry van, the freight is first secured onto the pallets and then loaded into the trailer. The doors of the trailer are shut to secure the freight. After that, the trailer is ready to get back on the road.

Get A Dry Van Shipping Quote

Where Can I Find a Dry Van?

FreightCenter is where top carriers compete for your shipping business. No matter what kind of shipping service you need or where you are shipping your freight, our team will help. FreightCenter will find the right carrier for your dry van freight.

We Are Here For You!

Are you having trouble shipping your cargo? Do you have any questions? Let FreightCenter help! We are experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our carriers and freight agents can ease you into the process to ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s free online quote tool to begin. For other locations, call our international shipping experts at 844-2127447.

Share via:
Copyright © 1998 – 2022 FreightCenter, Inc. All rights reserved.
FreightCenter Logo