Securing Your #FlatbedFreight With Chains- A Joey Slaughter #Trucking Blog

Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit for more insightful blogging.

Most of my loads with my step deck trailer only require straps to secure the freight.  The  4″ straps on my trailer have a working load limit (WLL) strength of 5400# and are lightweight and easy to use.  The 3/8″ transport grade 70 chains that I use have a WLL of 6600#, so they’re a little stronger than the straps.  However, some freight doesn’t allow for straps and are made for chains.  Heavy equipment for example, has built in chain securement points so that’s the only correct way to secure those items.

This week, I was able to use my chains to secure a compactor, or more commonly known as a steamroller on a short load from Baltimore, MD to Roanoke, VA.  The compactor weighed 25,000# so I needed enough chains to secure half of that weight.  I used 3 chains which gave me a WLL of 19,800, more than the 12,500 that I needed.  I used the indirect tie down method which goes from an anchor point on the trailer, through, over, or around the cargo and then attaches to another anchor point on the trailer. Using this method, I get the full 6600# strength of the chain.  If I use the direct method: The tie down goes from an anchor point on the trailer to an attachment point on an article of cargo, I would only get 3300# WLL or half the strength of the chain.   That method would require me to use more chains.  The direct method is used with tracked vehicles quite often.  Even though it requires more chains, this method reduces the likelihood of the equipment shifting or sliding on the trailer.

On the very bottom picture, notice the placement of the binder.  In hindsight, I positioned it wrong; I should’ve positioned it on top between the chain securement loops.  That way, the binder wouldn’t have rubbed up against the equipment and I could’ve tightened it easier.