How to Load a Trailer: tandem axle load configurations

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step 01)  If this trailer a drop deck or spread axle then this instructional does NOT pertain to you.

step 02)  Figure our products gross weight.

step 03)  Add the gross weight of the trailer with our products gross weight. Is it less than 80,000? If no then we must reduce our weight for the driver to be legal.

step 04)  How long is the trailer/van/container? Figure up the inches available by multiplying the feet times 12. 48 foot would be 576 inches available.

step 05)  If our trailer is a 53 foot trailer AND our product’s gross weight is more than 38,000lbs then treat it as though it were a 48 foot trailer from now on. This means our inches available figure is only 576 right now.

step 06)  If our trailer a refer then we need to subtract about 20 inches from our inches available figure. If it is NOT a refer then subtract 10 inches from our inches available.

step 07)  Determine the interior width of the trailer. many trailers are 102 inches wide BUT this is exterior width and you may have less than 96 inches interior loading space.

step 08)  Check our pallet (skid) sizes.

step 09)  Do our shipping instructions say we must load for pallet jack unload? If so we must figure our load based upon this method of loading!

step 10)  Figure out how many pallets can fit on the floor. For instance, if we have pallets that are 44 inches long and 47 inches wide that CAN sit side-by-side in a 48 foot dry van(not a refer) then we can figure it like this: 566 / 44 = 12.8636363636363 ****NOTE: you cannot cut your pallets so ALWAYS round down 12.8636363 will equal 12. EVEN 12.999999999999999 will equal 12! BECAUSE THEY WILL FIT SIDE BY SIDE WE CAN FIT 24 ON THE TRAILER’S FLOOR!

step 11)  How many pallets do we have total? If they will all fit on the floor then do so.

step 12)  If we cannot fit all of our pallets on the floor then how many do we have remaining? If this is an odd number we must reduce the ones on the floor by 1 and add it to the number of pallets we will be double stacking. This pallet we removed from the floor configuration should be missing from the back ideally: This allows for the truck driver to adjust his axle weights easily by simply sliding the tandems.

step 13)  If our pallets are not able to be stacked or our shipping instructions tell us not to stack them then we may need to cut the pallets from the freight: speak with your supervisor or make your best judgment call.

step 14)  Take the number of pallets on the floor and subtract the number of pallets having to be doubled. **Say we have 31 pallets and we can fit 24 on the floor. 31-24=7. BUT we must subtract 1 from 24 and add it to the 7….this is so that the top pallet won’t fall as easily! so now our number are 23 on the floor and 8 doubled. 23-8=15. 15 is the number of pallets without any pallet on top of them.

step 15)  Since we want most of our weight in the center of the trailer take the number we just figured and divide by 2. For instance 15/2=7.5 **Which since we are using whole pallets must equal 7 and 8!

step 16)  our smaller number should be in the back so the front is slightly more weight as referred to in step 12. ** SO the load configuration for our example would be; 8 pallets on the floor in the front of the trailer, 8 sets of double stacked pallets, and 7 pallets on the floor in the back of the trailer.

*This article gives a simplified process when in fact many factors can make it much more complex. Practicing and logically looking at the philosophy of configuring freight loads will help you adapt to unique cases in the future.

*In the event that all your material is very heavy yet still fits on the floor, try to spread it out for the full length of the trailer or else your load may be returned as being overweight on one of his axles.

*If you are loading with a forklift remember the forks may stick out the front of the pallet. Do not let them punch through the front of the trailer.

*Be careful if lifting anything with the forks on the trailer so as not to damage the trailers ceiling.

*pallets doubled should be braced thoroughly to avoid falls and damage to the product.

Things You’ll Need:

#piece of paper to work your configuration math



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