Covenant truck with dry van trailer

What Is Dry Van Shipping, And When Should You Use It?

June 1, 2023

What Is Dry Van Shipping, And When Should You Use It?

Learn what dry vans are, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks of dry van shipping.

Learn what dry vans are, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks of dry van shipping.

You may have come across the term dry van on our expedited truckload page. If you read the term and didn’t know what a dry van truck is, then you’re in luck as this article is here to answer - amongst others - the question: what is a dry van?

What Is A Dry Van?

A dry van is a kind of enclosed semi-trailer that can protect its cargo from the elements a sit makes its journey. Typically, they carry pallets, boxed and/or loose freight. They do not usually carry goods or products that require refrigeration as these are not temperature-controlled “reefer” units. Also, they are not flatbed trailers, so they do not carry oversized shipments.

Dry vans are also called dry van trucks or dry van trailers. They are hugely practical and can carry a wide variety of cargo by road with little risk of damage. As mentioned,they are not designed for oversized or larger goods. However, they’re great for a multitude of smaller products.

Dry van trailers specifically are connected to semi-trucks and can be used for transporting high quantities of small goods and products, or bigger items up to the size of cars. Dry van trailers are the most common trailers attached to semi-trucks.

What Is Dry Van Trucking?

Dry van trucking is trusted around the world as a safe means of transporting freight. Dry van freight is an incredibly popular way to transport goods due to how practical it is. In fact, there’s an estimated 5.6 million dry van trailers in the United States alone.

These dry vans area great transportation option since they are widely available and offer a range of benefits. Being totally enclosed, dry vans offer protection which makes dry van shipping a preferred means of transportation for products.

But why are they called dry vans? That’s because the enclosed nature of the vans protects their cargo dry from the elements, such as rain, snow, wind, dust, road debris, and any damage that might occur from accidents.

As specialists in the field of logistics, Covenant offers a wide range of transportation solutions, among which is our regional truckload option.

The trucking industry is huge. How huge? In the U.S. alone 3.5 million people are employed as truck drivers with 13 million trucks operating. There are 1.2 million trucking companies in the U.S. and as much as 13.6 percent of the trucking industry is dedicated to Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping - and dry vans are a huge part of this world.

Dry vans consist of at least three different sizes of vans, so let’s quickly go through them.

Dry Van Sizes

53-foot trailers are the most common truck size that you might have seen on the road. The dimensions of 53-foot trailers are generally 53’ x 8’ 6” x 8’ 6” (lwh). Such vehicles maybe loaded with 45,000 pounds of cargo. The floor space of these vans can also take up to 26 pallets of standard size.

You may have heard of “pup” trailers. These are 28-foot trailers that are usually used for LTL shipments. These trucks generally measure 28’ x 8’ x 9’ (lwh). These trailers may be smaller but they are still incredibly versatile as they can still be loaded with cargo weighing up to 22,500 pounds. The floor of a 28-foot trailer can take up to 14 standard pallets and a lot of times, two pups will be linked together to pull an even larger load like some of our Wildcat teams do.

Straight trucks are also known as box trucks. These are usually used for deliveries within cities and are fitted with a liftgate for easier loading and unloading. The typical measurements for a straight truck is 24’ x 8’ x 8’ 6” (lwh). Again,while these trucks are smaller, in certain conditions they can be considered more versatile.

Whatever size of dry van your organization requires, Covenant,as a multiple logistics solutions service provider, can provide you with arange of transportation options and an effective plan for your business.

When To Use A Dry Van

Dry vans are used for short-distance as well as local transportation of cargo. However, their versatility means they can be used for long-distance road-based transportation. Let’s take a closer look at when shippers typically use dry vans.

The versatility of dry vans is a very attractive feature, which is one of the reasons why they are most frequently used. Dry vans are most commonly used to transport products such as clothes, household furniture, and electronics. They’re also used for household items and nonperishable foods. However, dry vans are also used to transport heavier items such as machinery and vehicle parts.

As mentioned before, one of the best features of dry vans is the level of protection they offer since they are enclosed on all sides. This is a huge advantage over other types of road-based transportation. By using a dry van to transport your cargo,you will be able to transport freight without exposing it to the weather and other elements that might cause damage. Dry vans can also be locked for extra protection that would deter theft.

Dry vans are an excellent option when operating on a more modest budget as they do not require any special operation or extra servicing. This makes dry vans one of the most affordable options for moving cargo.

Covenant is an established logistics service provider with a solid solutions group, so we are one of the best options to help support your network.

Drawbacks Of Using Dry Vans

Despite their versatility, using dry vans can present some challenges. Let’s take a look at them.

If you’re transporting any goods that require refrigeration or a vehicle with temperature control, then dry vans may not be for you. They do not offer any temperature control and, despite being enclosed, they are not insulated, which makes the vehicles inadequate for any fresh food or flowers, for instance.

The floors of dry vans are made from hardwood, so you need to avoid exposing the floor of your dry van to moisture and condensation. This can happen when the doors of the van are left open. Damage from moisture can lead to extra costs. However, you can avoid these extra costs by choosing a logistics provider who provides the assets for you.

At Covenant, we are confident that you can avoid the confusion and benefit from our expertise. Reach out to us below to discuss the options that we can offer you as a solid logistics partner with a variety of dependable and cost-effective solutions that will help your business grow.