How much weight can a big rig carry? Infographic

Fergus CaldicottFreight Market Blog

How much weight can a big rig carry? Infographic

Big rigs are 18-wheelers limited by federal regulation to a maximum loaded weight of 80,000 pounds (including the weight of the rig itself) broken into three main categories:

  1. Flatbed trailers can load up to 48,000 pounds of cargo.
  2. Dry vans trailers can load 44,000 to 45,000 pounds.
  3. Refrigerated trailers, or reefers, can load 42,500 to 44000 pounds. 

How are big rigs weighed to make sure they are legal?

  • Most truck stops have scales managed by a third party and available for a fee.
  • Some shippers have scales to allow trucks to weigh on-site.
  • When on the highway, rigs must be weighed at government scale sites usually located at the entry and exit point of each state on the interstate highway system.
  • State transportation agencies set up mobile weigh scales at various locations throughout the country.

How much do trucks carry on other continents and in other countries?

The weight has to be spread across all axles but not necessarily evenly.

Canada: 140,000 pounds (eight-axle) ➤ (Averaging 17,500  pounds per axle)

China: 98,000 pounds (six-axle) ➤ (Averaging 16,333  pounds per axle)

USA: 80,000 pounds (five-axle) ➤ (Averaging 16,000 pounds per axle)

Australia: 94,000 pounds (six-axle) ➤ (Averaging 15,667  pounds per axle)

Europe: 88,000 pounds (six-axle) ➤ (Averaging 14,667  pounds per axle)

The full article:

How much weight can a big rig carry?