Strive Blog

Are You a Good Candidate to Use Roll-up Trailers?


A 53’ swing door is the standard trailer used in deliveries to retailers today. But shippers that use roll-up trailers can save 20%–40% per shipment because of the large percentage of roll-up door trucks that deadhead home after deliveries.

Private fleet operators, the main source of roll-up capacity, are anxious to fill these empty miles and will offer aggressive rates to shippers whose needs match these backhaul lanes. This creates a big savings opportunity linked to the use of roll-up trailers.

Who are the best candidates to take advantage of this opportunity? Here are six of the top signals that you should work aggressively with your 3PL to source roll-up capacity.

1. Cost-Driven Shippers

If cost is your priority, you can save at least 20% by switching from a standard swing door delivery to a roll-up trailer. All it means is an extra shipment now and then to make up for the slightly lower capacity of roll-ups. The 20%–40% savings potential includes the cost of this extra shipment.

2. Regional Shippers

You could be a good candidate for roll-up trailers For most long-haul runs over 600 miles, shippers will want to max out payload. But roll-ups make a lot of sense for regional, multi-stop runs because they save time and add convenience for the driver. With swing doors, drivers can’t just bump a dock, they must get out of the truck, open the doors, get back in the truck and back the truck in. The sequence gets repeated in reverse when they leave. This time adds up quickly.

3. Sustainability-Driven Shippers

The use of roll-up trailers drives the utilization of backhauls in the market. For the trucking industry, one of the causes of carbon emissions is the volume of trucks riding empty. By filling these empty backhauls, you reduce the number of trucks on the road by carrying more freight with existing capacity.

4. Shippers Who Lack Adequate Dock Space at the Plant

Roll-ups allow you to easily put product on the trailer and use it as a temporary warehouse.

5. Shippers Using Drop and Hook

When delivering a roll-up trailer to a retail distribution center with plenty of dock doors, a driver can bump the dock and immediately leave or pick up another trailer on site. When delivering a swing door trailer, the driver must park the trailer and then the consignee must have a yard jockey move the trailer to the door, adding time and expense to each delivery.

6. Heavy Commodity Shippers

These shippers will weigh out a trailer before they cube out, so the small amount of space you lose by using roll-up trailers becomes irrelevant and your savings are even greater.

Tap the Market's Significant Roll-Up Trailer Capacity

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are 662,544 private carriers in the U.S. versus 408,782 for-hire carriers. Many of these private carriers, particularly large retailers, have considerable roll-up capacity that goes unfilled. That is your opportunity to save. Work with a 3PL that can help you tap into these savings.

For more information on the savings potential of roll-up capacity, read our eBook Roll Up and Save.


Roll Up And Save - Free Transportation Brief