How Many Pallets Fit in a 53 Ft Dry Van Trailer?

Dry van trailers are one of the most commonly used types of semi-trailers in the transportation industry. From hospitality products to food and beverages, it can transport an unbelievable variety. As long as the cargo can be loaded from the back and can be loaded into the dry van trailer, there is no better option than a dry van trailer.

When using a dry van trailer to transport goods, pallets are usually used. If the carrier can do it well, more cargo can be transported and it is very economical.

What are the internal dimensions of a dry cargo trailer?

The 53 ft dry van trailer is the most common trailer by far, so the internal dimensions are also exemplified by the 53 ft dry van trailer.

  • Height: Usually between 108 inches and 110 inches, with 108 inches being the most common.
  • Width: Usually between 98 inches and 100 inches, with 100 inches being the most common.
  • Length: 53 feet
  • Weight: Maximum cargo weight is between 42,000 and 45,000 pounds, which depending on the trailer and merchandise.

What are the different ways to load a dry van trailer?

A 53 ft dry van trailer can hold 26 standard pallets that measure 42″x48″. Some skilled shippers can fit 30 pallets of 40″x48″ in a trailer. The average height of the tray is 5.5 inches, but because it can be customized, the size also varies.

Method 1: Straight

This is the most common way. You can load cargo directly into the trailer and leave enough area to secure the cargo.


  • Fast loading and unloading of goods
  • Most common way


  • During transit, the goods may move

Method 2: Turned

If the tray is not a standard size, then this method is most suitable. Loading them in a setting where the longest side length-wise allows for the most space to be utilized, potentially getting more goods loaded for delivery.


  • Best choice for non-standard sized pallets, such as four feet long and five feet wide
  • Goods are not easy to move


  • Need to make sure the pallets can be handled from each side safely

Method 3: Pinwheeled

This is the mode that can hold the most pallets, six more than the straight mode. And this mode also enhances stability. For pallets that are 3 ft long and 5 ft wide, the windmill loading method can yield more benefits.


  • Can hold the largest number of pallets
  • Enhanced stability


  • Loading takes a long time and is time-consuming

Method 4: Weight distribution

Commercial motor vehicle regulations state that the weight of a semi-trailer and cargo cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. While it appears to be capable of carrying a lot of cargo, the trailer itself is not light. Dry van trailers typically weigh between 33,000 pounds and 36,000 pounds. That said, cargo typically weighs between 44,000 pounds and 47,000 pounds.

But during loading, the carrier cannot concentrate the full weight of the cargo on the rear axle, which is unsafe and may even hinder the truck’s ability to move.

Therefore, when carrying heavy palletized goods, it is not possible to transport as many pallets as possible, and the problem of weight must also be considered.

Weight distribution
Weight distribution

Number of pallets that 53 ft dry van trailer can hold:

36*36 pallet: 34
48*48 pallet: 26
48*45 pallet: 28

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