The Road Ahead: Exploring Dry Van Trucking and Its Popularity

6 min read
The Road Ahead: Exploring Dry Van Trucking and Its Popularity

Dry Van carrying is without a doubt the most well-known and widely used type of transportation. Almost every OTR or regional truck driver has driven a dry van at some time in their career. Why? Dry vans are used to transport almost everything. If it's not living, won't spoil, and isn't big, it'll probably be on a dry vehicle. Here are some important facts regarding dry van transportation.

What exactly is a Dry Van?

One of the most popular ways to ship goods across the United States is by dry van trucking, which is also called enclosed trailer or box trailer transportation. It includes transporting different goods in an enclosed trailer that doesn't have climate control. People in many fields choose these trucks because they are reliable and can be used for a lot of different things.

Different Kinds of Goods for Dry Van Trucking:

Different Kinds of Goods for Dry Van Trucking
Different Kinds of Goods for Dry Van Trucking
  • Goods for Consumers: Dry van trailers are often filled with goods for consumers, like electronics, clothes, furniture, and tools. It is very important that these things stay safe from the weather while they are being shipped, and dry van trailers are the best way to do that.

  • Food and Drinks: The dry van is also a great way to move food and drinks that don't go bad quickly. In this group of cargo items, you'll often find canned goods, dry groceries, and drinks in bottles.

  • Industrial Supplies: Dry van trucks can carry a lot of different industrial supplies, such as building materials, machinery parts, and other non-perishable goods. The fact that they are safe and protected from the weather is good for these kinds of goods.

  • Paper Products: Because they are sensitive to moisture and other environmental factors, things like paper rolls, packaging materials, and office supplies are often moved with dry van trucks.

  • Items for Sale: Dry van trucks are very important for moving all kinds of items for sale, from clothes and shoes to home decor. Both big stores and small businesses use them.

  • Raw Materials: Dry vans are often used to haul raw materials like steel, metal, and lumber. These things don't need to be kept cool or dry, and the trailer's secure and closed design makes them safer.

Dry Van Demand

Understanding the demand for dry van transportation is vital for both trucking companies and owner-operators. Here are some statistics on the number of dry van loads available annually and monthly:

  • Annual Dry Van Loads: Dry van trucks make for a large percentage of the truckload business in the United States. Data from the American Trucking Association (ATA) shows that in 2022, dry van freight made up almost 40% of all truckloads. This demonstrates the high demand for dry van services.

  • Monthly Load Averages: Due to seasonal considerations and economic swings, the amount of dry van loads can fluctuate per month. According to industry data, there are around 1.3 million dry van loads available in the United States each month. During peak shipping seasons, such as the holiday season, this figure tends to rise.

  • Top States for Dry Van Loads: Due to their industrial and commercial operations, some states are hotspots for dry van transportation. Dry van goods are always plentiful in states such as California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois.

Popularity Among Owner Operators

Dry van trucking is popular among owner-operators who value the flexibility and financial potential it provides. Here are some of the reasons why owner-operators prefer dry vans:

  • A varied range of hauling opportunities: Because dry van trailers can carry a variety of cargo, owner-operators have a varied range of hauling options. This variety can assist them in maintaining a consistent stream of income throughout the year.

  • Dry vans offer cheaper running costs when compared to specialized trailers that require specialized equipment or climate control. This includes maintenance and fuel expenditures, making owner-operators more cost-effective.

  • Consistent Demand: The demand for dry van transportation remains consistent year-round, making it easier for owner-operators to secure loads and maintain a reliable income stream. This security is especially appealing to those who seek predictable work.

  • Dry van trucking is frequently regarded as a suitable starting point for people new to the trucking profession. It requires less specialized training and equipment, making it more accessible to newbies and prospective business owners.

  • Owner-operators can build long-term relationships with shippers and brokers in the dry van sector, which can lead to consistent, high-paying goods. In this industry, reputation and dependability are highly appreciated.

Dry Van Dispatch Service

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Major challenges

Despite their importance in the transportation and logistics industries, dry van trailer companies confront a number of important challenges in today's dynamic business climate. These difficulties are numerous and complex, requiring creative solutions in order to remain competitive and profitable.

Rising Fuel Prices
Rising Fuel Prices
  • The persistent shortage of skilled truck drivers is one of the most significant concerns for dry van trailer companies. The trucking sector has struggled to attract and retain experienced drivers, resulting in higher operational expenses and less capacity for moving goods. This shortage not only hampers timely delivery of goods, but it also raises driver wages.

  • Rising Fuel Prices: Fuel price fluctuations have long been a source of anxiety for the trucking industry, and dry van companies are no exception. Gasoline accounts for a considerable amount of operating expenses, and as gasoline prices rise, profit margins might suffer dramatically. To address these issues, businesses must implement fuel-efficient technology and methods.

  • Competition: To recruit and maintain consumers in a highly competitive market, dry van firms must differentiate themselves and deliver distinct value propositions. Pricing pressures and competition from other means of transportation exacerbate the issue of maintaining profitability.


Dry van trucking is still a practical and dependable way of conveying a wide range of commodities, from consumer items to industrial supplies, in 2023. With consistent demand and a diverse range of hauling options, this sector continues to draw owner-operators looking for a rewarding career in the transportation industry. As the statistics illustrate, dry van trucking is critical to the American economy, serving as the backbone of the logistics and supply chain industries. So, whether you're a seasoned trucker or thinking about becoming an owner-operator, dry van trucking is a path worth taking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dry Van and what is it typically used for?
What are the major challenges faced by dry van trailer companies today?
Why is dry van trucking popular among owner-operators?