What Is a Drop Deck Trailer?

May 02 2024

Hauling oversized equipment is already a complicated task. But what about transporting equipment that exceeds the height clearance of a standard flatbed trailer?

That’s where drop deck trailers come in. Here, I’ll cover what a drop deck trailer is, how drop deck trailers work, and the ideal applications for drop deck trailers.


What Is a Drop Deck Trailer?

A drop deck trailer features two deck levels of different heights (lower and upper levels). Also known as a lowboy or step-deck trailer, drop deck trailers are ideal for transporting oversized or taller cargo.

Drop deck trailers are completely open, with no roof, door, or walls, making them ideal for transports where space or height is a concern

With their low centre of gravity and lack of walls, drop deck trailers can handle oversized loads that are too high or long for a standard flatbed trailer.

For instance, I’ve had many clients come to me with concerns about their oversized equipment and low bridges. With a drop deck, the freight sits at a lower height but can still be hooked up and loaded like a flatbed. This allows for additional height clearance that facilitates safe and successful transport.

Learn More: Common Types of Trailers in the Trucking and Freight Industry


How Do Drop Decks Work?

Drop deck trailers feature risers that can match the lower level of the deck to the top level if needed. This turns it into a flatbed trailer with minimal adjustments, creating additional hauling capabilities.

If you have a load that is shorter, you can utilise the risers. This makes drop deck trailers versatile and ideal for a wide range of heavy haulage applications.


Difference Between Flatbed and Drop Decks

I often get asked about the difference between flatbed and drop deck trailers. At first glance, they do appear similar but they have significant differences.

The biggest difference between a flatbed trailer and a drop deck trailer is how they are used. 

Flatbed trailers naturally sit higher than drop deck trailers. This limits them to loads within a certain height range. However, if the load can be spread out, a flatbed can be a good option for certain materials or cargo.

For loads or materials that sit higher, a drop deck is ideal. Its lower level keeps the load closer to the ground, enhances stability, and reduces height restrictions.


Applications of Drop Deck Trailers

Drop deck trailers are an effective option for transporting oversized equipment or loads that exceed the vertical restrictions of flatbed trailers.

A drop deck trailer’s low height, versatility, and weight make it ideal for heavy machinery transport, including: 

  • Construction equipment
  • Tractors
  • Excavators
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Industrial components
  • Oversized equipment
  • Tanks
  • Forklifts
  • Bulk building materials

You May Also Like: Common Applications of Heavy Haulage and When You Might Need It


What Are the Benefits of a Drop Deck Trailer?

Drop deck trailers offer several advantages, including:

  • More versatile than a flatbed trailer
  • Can be adapted to haul short or tall loads
  • Ideal for transporting oversized freight and heavy equipment
  • Their low centre of gravity makes them extremely stable during transport, offering a high level of safety
  • Their flat level allows them to be loaded easily like flatbed while sitting closer to the ground
  • Integrated hydraulic systems and various ramp capabilities make for easy unloading and loading of oversized cargo
  • Additional height clearance due to the lowered front section
  • Their lack of walls allows for less restrictions



  • Are drop deck trailers secure during long-distance transports? 

Yes, their low centre of gravity makes drop deck trailers ideal for long-distance transportation. When loaded and secured properly by experienced heavy haulage professionals, drop deck trailers are highly reliable and safe for both short and long distance transports.

  • Are There Space or Height Limitations for Drop Deck Trailers?

Size and weight limitations for drop deck trailers depend on local regulations. Our crew is familiar with all territory restrictions and local regulations. While there are still height and weight limitations for drop deck trailers, they generally fall within the necessary regulations without needing to apply for extra permits.


Customised Heavy Haulage Solutions Throughout Australia

A drop deck trailer is an effective option for shipping oversized freight, heavy cargo, or oversized equipment.

Our fleet of heavy haulage vehicles can efficiently transport a broad range of oversized freight. We safely transport construction equipment, mining equipment, industrial equipment, and more, with convenient locations across the country.

Our drop deck trailers are meticulously maintained and operated by trained and licensed drivers who have completed advanced training. We’ll ship your heavy equipment or oversized cargo in a safe, timely manner.

Wondering if the size and weight of your cargo or equipment is suitable for a drop deck trailer? Contact our team at Australia Wide Haulage for a free transport quote or advice tailored to your heavy haulage needs.