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What You Need to Know About Dry Van Shipping

Posted by Justin Bates on September 12, 2018 - 8:00 AM
Dry Van Shipping

What is a dry van?

A dry van is a type of semi-trailer that’s fully enclosed to protect shipments from outside elements. Designed to carry palletized, boxed or loose freight, dry vans aren’t temperature-controlled (unlike refrigerated “reefer” units) and can’t carry oversized shipments (unlike flatbed trailers).

Also called a “dry van trailer” or “box trailer,” dry vans can be used for a variety of less-than-truckload (LTL) or truckload shipment types. If you’ve ever shipped or received freight, it’s likely your goods traveled on a dry van.

Dry van dimensions

Dry vans come in a variety of sizes:

53-foot trailers

The most common types of dry vans on the road, typical dimensions for these trailers are 53’ x 8’ 6” x 8’ 6” (lwh). They can accommodate up 45,000 pounds of freight and up to 26 standard pallet positions across their floor space.

28-foot trailers

“Pup” trailers are commonly used for moving LTL shipments. Measuring 28’ x 8’ x 9’ (lwh), they can accommodate up to 22,500 pounds of freight and 14 standard pallet positions across their floor space.

Straight trucks

Straight trucks, also referred to as box trucks, are typically used for city deliveries and often feature a liftgate. Straight trucks come in a variety of sizes, commonly measuring 24’ x 8’ x 8’ 6” (lwh).

Benefits of dry van shipping


Because they work well for transporting consumer packaged goods, dry vans are the most frequently used equipment type. Products such as clothing, furniture and electronics are commonly shipped via dry van trailers, though they also can be used to move machinery and parts, nonperishable foods and even household goods.


One of the biggest advantages of using a dry van truck to move your freight is the protection it provides — because the equipment is enclosed on all sides, shipments are shielded from weather hazards like high winds, rain or direct heat. The enclosure and ability of the trailers to be locked also provides a layer of protection against cargo theft.


Dry vans are readily available from a variety of carriers and don’t require service extras or special operation, making them one of the most affordable shipping options.

Dry van options from ArcBest

Whether you’re shipping an entire trailer or just a few pallets, ArcBest® offers the dry van equipment — and capacity — you need. Get a quote online, or give us a call at 800-610-5544 to book a shipment.

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