Translogistics Blog

TLI University: Truckload- Dry Van 101

June 7, 2018

Written By: Translogistics

TLI University Logo horiz CMYKiStock-597935308

Welcome to TLI University!

With more than 20 years in the industry we thought it was time to pass along some of the knowledge that helped us get to where we are today. This is a weekly publication aimed to educate anyone who is curious about transportation and shipping.

This week starts the topic of Truckload shipments, specifically, Dry Van. 


Truckload Language

  • Stop off Charge – A charge assessed when a truckload carrier makes a stop-off en route to the final destination – as mentioned, most truckload shipments will move directly from the origin to the destination – this charge is generally assessed as a flat rate per stop
  • Equipment Ordered Not Used – A charge assessed when a shipper orders a truckload for pick-up but does not use the truck – as previously mentioned, truckload carriers usually have their trucks planned 1-2 days in advance – if they are planning a truck on a certain lane and the lane does not materialize, the dispatcher must find something else for that truck and driver to do to remain profitable for the day – the trucking company incurs costs in this situation and use the Equipment Ordered Not Used accessorial to help them defray these costs
  • Detention Charges – A charge assessed when a shipper or consignee takes too much time to load and/or unload a truckload carrier’s trailer – a truckload carrier generally allows 2 hours time for loading and 2 hours free time for unloading the trailer – as with Equipment Ordered Not Used, trucking companies incur costs when their trailers are not unloaded in a timely fashion – these charges are generally assessed in a rate per hour after the 2 hour “free time”
  • Layover Charges – A charge assessed when a driver needs to stay overnight at an origin or a destination due to no fault of his own – this charge can also occur when a driver is asked to deliver a day or more after the expected delivery date based on the mileage of his trip – this charge is generally negotiated with the carrier, but $300 to $350 per day for a single driver is typical in the industry - $500 to $600 per day is typical for a team
  • Partial Truckload – Using only a portion of a truckload carrier’s trailer – similar to a Volume LTL quote, except we’re using a primarily truckload carrier as opposed to an LTL carrier – the shipper is charged for the portion of the trailer that they use



What is Truckload – Dry Van?

  • Dry Van shipments are the most common method of full truckload transportation – these are the standard box trailers that are seen on the road everyday – they are generally 48’ or 53’ long, 102” wide and 13’6” high
  • Unlike LTL Freight, the shipper purchases exclusive use of the truck and has access to the entire capacity of the trailer to load freight
  • The interior dimensions of a 53’ dry van are approximately 52’6” long, 100” wide and 110” high if the trailer has swinging doors – roll up doors can reduce the available height at the door
  • A loaded tractor trailer is allowed to weigh up to 80,000 pounds – depending on the empty weight of the truck, the maximum weight that may be loaded on a dry van trailer is usually between 43,000 and 45,000 pounds
  • Once the freight is loaded on the trailer at the origin, it is expected that the driver will drive directly to the destination and make the delivery – the freight will not be offloaded at terminals – some customers, such as West Pharmaceutical, will place a trailer seal on the doors to ensure that the trailers are not opened while in transit
  • Larger trucking companies with hundreds or thousands of trucks on the road will, on occasion, have drivers switch trailers with other drivers to keep the trailers moving towards their destinations
  • A standard 48’ trailer can hold 22-26 pallets and a 53’ trailer can hold between 26-30 pallets
  • Some examples of TLI truckload carriers are Paschall Truck Lines, Smith Transport and Twiss Transport


What information is needed when booking a Dry Van Truckload shipment?

  • Origin (Shipper) City, State and Zip Code
  • Destination (Consignee) City, State and Zip Code
  • Shipping Date and Time – When is the specific time or “window” that the shipment is to be picked up by the carrier?
    • Note – Truckload shipments generally need 2 day notice to be picked up – some lanes are more difficult to “cover” than others – availability of trucks (aka capacity) decreases and cost can increase as the time moves closer to the shipment date
    • Note – Specific appointment times are often required when dealing with full truckload shipments due to the size of the shipments
  • Delivery Date and Time – When is the specific time or “window” that the shipment is to be delivered by the carrier?
    • Note – Specific appointment times are often required when dealing with full truckload shipments
    • Note - It is assumed that a single driver can drive 500 miles per day, so a 1,500 mile run will be considered to take 3 days – weekend days DO count as transit days for truckload carriers – in this example, a truck picking up on Friday can make delivery on a 3 day transit on Monday
    • Note – If faster transit is needed by a customer, some trucking companies operate teams (2 drivers in a truck) – they can cover up to 1,000 miles per day and can cross the country in 3 days
  • Number and Types of Pieces Shipping – How many pallets, bundles, cartons or pieces are shipping? Even though the shipper is purchasing the entire use of the trailer, the trucking companies will often ask these questions
  • Product Stackable? Due to the nature of some product, the shipper may not want the pallets to be stacked one on top of the other
  • Weight of the Shipment – How much does the total shipment weigh? As previously mentioned, dry van truckload carriers can generally “scale” between 43,000 and 45,000 pounds
  • Commodity of Shipment – What product(s) does the shipment consist of? The truckload carriers will only be concerned with the commodity – they are generally not concerned with the National Motor Freight Classification of the commodity
  • Purchase Order and / or Other Reference Number – what is the customer’s Purchase Order Number? What paperwork do they need it listed on? Is there any other reference number that the customer would like included on their paperwork?
  • Value of Shipment – Is the product high value? Is additional cargo insurance required? Additional cargo insurance can generally be purchased at a quoted rate by the carrier – truckload carriers generally carry $100,000 or $250,000 of standard cargo insurance – Example: If a customer’s freight is worth $400,000 and the carrier only carries $100,000 of cargo insurance, an additional $300,000 of insurance may be quoted from the trucking company and provided as an option to the customer – there are customers that have the product “self-insured”, which leaves the need for additional cargo liability insurance unnecessary

How are Dry Van Truckload Shipments Priced?

  • Dry Van Truckload shipments are much simpler to price than LTL shipments – carriers either charge a “flat rate” for a specific zip code to zip code lane, or they will charge a “rate per mile” – For example, a load from Birdsboro, PA 19508 to El Paso, TX 79901 may be rated as a $2,100 “flat rate” or it may be rated as $1.20 per mile – TLI predetermines the mileage with the carrier based on our PC Miler Rating Engine
  • Truckload rates are based on amount of loads in a certain lane versus available capacity of trucks on that lane – rates are lower when moving out of an area with more trucks than loads than they are moving out of an area with more loads that available trucks – For example, many trucks move into the densely populated Northeast US to deliver merchandise to this population – once they arrive, there are usually less loads moving out of the Northeast than there are available trucks – this makes the market to get these loads very competitive, which drives down the rates
  • As with LTL, all truckload shipments are also assessed a Fuel Surcharge – for truckload shipments, we generally pay a specific “per mile” Fuel Surcharge based on a negotiated matrix – the amount of Fuel Surcharge paid is in direct correlation to the National Average Price of Diesel Fuel for the previous week


Stay tuned for more information on transportation modes! 


Share This Blog

Categories: TLIUniversity

About Our Blog

For the latest insights, tips and commentary surrounding the logistics industry, look no further.  Shippers will find thoughts from the award-winning team at Translogistics covering everything related to your transportation processes and plans.  If you have a question we are readily available at