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Understanding a Full Truckload Weight Limit

Moving household goods from the USA to another country typically involves transporting your items via ocean or air freight. And often, a shipping container or a truck of a specific size will be used to load your belongings at your location and get them to the departure port.  

If relocation is imminent and you need to ship a large house overseas, you might wonder what a full truckload weight limit is. SDC International Shipping has written this article to address that very issue. 

When Is the Truck Considered Full?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a load limit is the maximum allowed weight of a vehicle defined by taking into account the tare weight with the load weight. However, the answer to the question is rather ambiguous, and we’ll explain why. First, let’s look at the truck sizes for moving household goods and the maximum weight they can fit. 

Dry vans are the most popular freight transportation modes for interstate moves. Due to their box-like shape and ability to back right into the bay of a loading dock, these trucks are ideal for almost any shipper. 

Dry vans come in different sizes:

  • A 28′ trailer (28′ x 8′ x9′), for example, will handle loads of a maximum of 22,500lbs. It’s the best option for those who need to move bulky items like furniture, a piano, or appliances. 
  • A full truckload limit for a 40′ container or dry van is 57,981lbs. 
  • A 20′ truck’s maximum load capacity can reach 25,000lbs. 
  • Dry van trailers with a size of 53′ can haul up to 45,000lbs of cargo or 48 standard pallets. 

Markedly, a 53-foot enclosed trailer is the most common type of transporting household items. Let’s assume you are moving your stuff in such a truck. Does it mean that 45,000lbs would be a full truckload weight limit in your case? Not exactly.   

What Affects The Limit of a Full Truckload Weight (FTL)?

Not everything boils down to a truck size. Many variables affect the FTL load weight limit. First, freight forwarders proceed from the truck size and weight standards dictated by Federal law. Its limits are 80,000lbs gross vehicle weight, 20,000 pounds on a single axle, and 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle pair. 

This means that a 53′ dry van is allowed to exceed 45,000lbs given that the total weight of the vehicle isn’t more than 80,000lbs and the weight on the single axles doesn’t breach legal limits.  

Secondly, a load weight limit depends on the household goods you send. Light furniture or oddly-shaped items may occupy lots of space, and you may not be able to reach your weight maximum. On the other hand, if boxes are compact and distributed correctly, you might be able to fit all 48 pallets or even more. In other words, freight density is an important factor affecting the maximum weight capacity of a full truckload and, in some cases, the freight shipping rate. 

Thirdly, movers see if packed items can be safely stacked without damage during transport. This may further decrease the weight that can be safely moved internationally.     

Lastly, a moving company may have limitations depending on the specific details of the consignment, driver safety, and transport requirements limits.   

Last Word on Weight Limit for FTL

Trucks also vary by manufacturer. Heavy ones will carry less, while light trucks might be able to transport 45,000lbs. Typically, you should plan for a maximum of 45,000 pounds for a truckload. If you have any questions about your shipment weight, our logistics specialists are ready to give you guidance on shipping container and truck sizes. 

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