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Step-Deck Transportation – What It Is & When You Need It

When it comes to transportation methods, there is a trailer for the type of cargo you are looking to haul. If your freight is taller than normal and doesn’t require being contained, a step deck trailer is the best method of transportation to choose. If either new or unfamiliar with the freight transportation industry, it may be challenging to know what a step deck trailer is, what it does, and the types of cargo that can be used with it. We’ll cover everything you need to know about step deck trailering and how it can help you and your future hauls!

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What is Step Deck Transportation?

Otherwise known as a drop deck or lowboy trailer, a step deck trailer transports tall cargo that exceeds the legal height limit if moved on a traditional flatbed truck. A step deck trailer has two decks, an upper level, and a lower level. Many of them have ramp capabilities, which makes it easier to load and unload taller equipment.

Step deck transportation is different from other common transport types based on its unique design and the type of commodities it works with. Flatbed transportation is different from step deck transportation as they are flat and can haul larger heavier hauls. Step deck trailers can transport cargo up to 10’ with an acceptable legal weight of 48,000 pounds. Most step deck trailer dimensions are 37 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 10 feet high.  A subset type of step deck trailer is a double drop deck trailer, which drops below the trailer axles and creates a well between the gooseneck and the first trailer axle.

Step Deck Shipping & Your Cargo

 Image of a Step-Deck Truck Hauling Wooden Pallets Down the Road

Step deck trailers are the go-to method of transportation for freight that a flatbed trailer can’t, including height permits, forklift accessibility, and equipment diversity. The most common freight used for the step deck trailer includes trailers, excavators, tall building materials, agriculture materials, military equipment, and other tall machinery.

Keep in mind that every state has different laws that permit how tall cargo can be, with or without permits. When vetting qualified Step Deck haulers, make sure to find one that is aware of hauling laws for your corresponding state to ensure a seamless transportation experience.

When Not to Choose Step Deck Transport

Step deck transportation is a great option for hauling large cargo, however, it’s not the ideal solution for all commodities. Note that a step deck trailer doesn’t have anything to protect cargo from the outside, therefore any freight that may need additional protection methods would not be recommended for this transportation type. Examples, of where you shouldn’t use step deck transport, include:

  1. When the freight is required to be refrigerated in a contained, boxed compartment.
  2. Any freight that needs to be protected from outdoor elements.
  3. Fragile freight that requires added protection from potential road hazards.

Get Your Personalized Step Deck Transport Quote With Us!

Does a step deck trailer align with your transportation needs? If interested, please fill out our Shipper Request Form to get started, and soon you will hear from a member of our team to determine if the step deck trailer is the best transport type for your needs. Lone Star Logistics is a federally licensed, non-asset-based freight brokerage. Best of all, we tailor each transport service for every client.

Get started today by calling a member of our 24/7 bilingual support team at (833) 562-3722 or via email at

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