Flatbed vs. curtain van
Looking for input comparing the versatility of the three types (flatbed vs. curtain van vs. flat bed w/side kit) of trailers capable of hauling flat bet type freight. I've never pulled covered wagons or curtain vans. On the surface it appears to me that curtain vans would allow for hauling a wider variety of freight.
Im surprised curtain sides havent caught on more. There still kinda rare at least in my opinion. A few fleets like Roehl use them. The good thing about curtain sides is that you have no tarping to do, which will not only save time but it will also save your back and knees. The only problems I see with curtain sides is that they are heavy. I have heard they normally weigh around 1500 lbs which is alot of pounds on a weight critical application like flatbeds. I dont know about the ones that have the straps all along the sides of them but the ones that ride on little wheels and slide on a rail, I have heard that the life of the equipment is only a few years. Also its not cheap to buy a curtain side and your only limited to freight that can fit on your deck. It a load has any overhang you won't be able to haul it. Also the tarp can rip and get holes in it by pesky forklift drivers. While you can haul dry freight in a curtain sider, I have heard that alot of dry freight shippers are cautious for hauling loads in them.
As for side kits. I dont know much about them other than that they are quite common in steel areas. Hauling steel is the only thing that they are good at. I have heard that some experienced drivers can tarp a load faster than a guy with side kits if they started at the same time. Also side kits add weight.
You don't see many china top trailers around I know of one in my are and he hauls paper rolls from the local pulp mill. They are good for hauling palletized stuff like skids of fertilizer wood pellets concrete etc as you can strap these items but have tobe covered.
I remember a few cars pulling china tops comming into my families marine frieght terminal and those curtains can be a ** to get open. The slide hardware rusts and hangs up what ever holds the top of the curtains. The other thing you gotta watch is when you loading if you lift your forks too high the top of the mast will hit the top of the trailer.
Well, Ive always hauled a flat, but I think a curtain side would be next to impossible for steel, as most steel is loaded over head with a crane. (unless you get a Conestoga kit, versus a curain side)
Covered wagons are nice, but it seems that breaking it all down and stowing for a full size load, like lumber and wallboard, and then putting it back up, would get old. Yet would come in handy for just coils, and onions.
Now, Swift has curtain vans that they use for Coke products from El Paso, to Albequerque, and then wallboard back. I dont know what Coke products they haul, buts palletized and shrink wrapped.
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