A Day In The Life Of A Rookie: Shipping, Freight & Logistics

When I started working at Storage Solutions, it became apparent that I would be learning things I never in my life imagined would be important to my career. Now, I’ve covered pallet rack and fork lifts but what about shipping? Everything we do, everything that every business does, requires logistics. Trucking, shipping, hauling, freight, whatever you want to call it, everyone needs it, and it’s what I chose to cover on this issue of The Rookie Blog.

I’ve been noticing semi trucks more and more. Not because I want to stick my arm out the window to make the driver honk (even though I do) but because I want to see what they are hauling. Maybe some beams, maybe some uprights? I know, exciting stuff, but still interesting to pay attention to something that you never noticed in the past.

Did you know…  
flatbed shipping

  • A typical flatbed trailer is 48 ft. long?
  • A standard van is 53 ft. long?
  • Uprights come in bundles of 15?
  • Beams come in bundles of 30?
  • Wire decks come in bundles of 40?
  • What a bundle was when I started writing this?!

These are a few things that need to be taken in to consideration when scheduling shipping for our wide variety of new equipment and used equipment. I never thought much about the difference in semi trailers. Some are covered, some aren’t, some big, some small, but I was thrown for a major loop the first time I heard the term ‘Van’. As someone not thinking in terms of logistics ‘Van’ puts one image in my head, mom picking me up from practice. However, van has a separate meaning. A Van refers to a freight or box trailer which is your typical rectangular, covered, box looking semi trailer.

The other type of trailers we utilize are ‘Flatbeds’, also known as a platform trailer. Flatbeds are the trailers you see that are just a flat platform, sort of like the name implies! These can be ordered with a tarp to cover whatever material you might be shipping and are pretty handy for hauling beams and uprights.  A forklift driver would have a pretty hard time trying to fit 144 in. uprights through a Van door that’s only 99 in. wide! Instead, they can drive up on the side of the flat bad and set them down running parallel to the trailer.

Pretty easy stuff right?

Maybe for someone that’s handled this sort of information before but every load is going to be different which makes the next step even tougher. Going through the items that are being shipped and figuring out what will/won’t fit on a van/flat is like a geometry puzzle. Again, easy for someone who’s done it before, not so much for the first timer (me). As a visual person it’s much easier for me to understand something like this if I draw it out and as someone who lacks any artistic ability my drawings of overhead trailer views and measurements are quite comical.

It’s always good to learn new things and it only gets easier from here… Well, I doubt it, but I’d rather have a challenging job that forces me to progress instead of sticking to the same old routine every day!