Freight Tips and Tricks: Calculating Truck Space

 

For the third article in our Freight Tips and Tricks series, we’re talking about how to calculate truck space. You can read the other articles in this series here. Ok, let’s get started!

Calculating Truck Space

When shipping freight, is it is helpful to know how much space the cargo will take up. If you ship LTL, you’ll want to make sure the freight will not take up more space than is allowed for an LTL shipment. If shipping as a partial truckload, you’ll need to know how much truck space the shipment will utilize to receive a price for the shipment and also to make sure the truck you book will have enough space.

We created the following step-by-step procedure to help guide you through calculating truck space.

Prior to calculating the amount of truck space needed for shipment, make sure you have the following information:

  • Dimensions of item(s) in shipment
  • Quantity of each item

If all the items in the shipment have the same dimensions, the following steps can be taken to determine how much truck space is needed.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Truck Space

First, you will need to use the height and width, (or diameter for rolls), of the item to calculate how many rolls can fit in the width and height of the truck.

  • Inside trailer dimensions of 100” x 100” can be used.
  • Divide the width of the truck by the diameter of the rolls to see how many rolls can fit in a row across the truck.
  • Divide the height of the truck by the diameter of the rolls to see how many rolls can fit top to bottom in the truck.
  • For example, rolls with 21” diameter, you would divide 100” by 21”
    • At most, 4 rolls with a diameter of 21” can fit in the height of a truck and 4 rolls can fit in the width of the truck.
    • This means a total of 16 rolls can fit in 1 block of truck space.

Once you know how many rolls can fit in 1 block of space, you must calculate the linear footage needed for that block.

  • Use the length of the longest roll.
    • If you are shipping all 10’ long rolls, the truck space needed would be 125” which rounds to 11’ of truck space.
    • If you are shipping 8 rolls that are 10’ long and 8 rolls that are 12’ long, you must use the longest dimension. That means you need 149” of truck space, which rounds to 13’ of space.
  • Note: Any amount of truck space that is partial feet must be rounded up. i.e. 10.2’ will have to be rounded to 11’ and 15.7’ would be rounded to 16’. Trucks cannot be booked with partial feet.

If your shipment contains more rolls than can fit in 1 block of space, you must calculate how many rolls can fit in each block, how many blocks of truck space are needed, and the linear feet required for each block using the steps outlined above.

If all the items in a shipment are the same size, calculating truck space can be pretty simple. Just follow the steps above and then the total number of rolls can be divided by the number of rolls that can fit in a block of space. For instance, if you have 28 rolls that are all 149x21x21, you can fit 16 rolls in 1 block of space that is 149” long. Then if you divide 28 by 16, you will get 1.75. This means you will need 2 blocks of space that are 149” each, or a total of 298”. This ends up being 25’ of truck space.

If you have a shipment containing items with various dimensions, a little more time must be spent calculating how many rolls can fit in each block of space.  We have included an example below using various dimensions of our rolls that can be used as a guideline.

Shipment contains

  • 12 rolls – 149x21x21 (green circles)
  • 20 rolls – 124x15x15 (orange circles)
  • 20 rolls – 148x17x17 (blue circles)

Helpful Hints

  • Group rolls with similar lengths together in the same block of truck space. For example, group all 12’ long rolls together.
  • Put the largest rolls on the bottom of each block of space. 

Block 1: 149” of truck space required. Must use the longest roll in the section.

Block 2: 149” of truck space required. Must use the longest roll in section.

 

Total truck space will be 149” + 149” = 298”/12 = 24.8’ (which rounds to 25’ of truck space).

 

If you have questions about how to calculate truck space for your load, feel free to contact us.