Are you moving to a new manufacturing plant? Are you planning to clear land for a real estate development project? That’s great! However, how will you move all your heavy equipment there? 

Your excavator might have four wheels, but can it drive itself to the site at 20 miles per hour? Probably, not! Such pieces of equipment are incredibly heavy and oversized. They might fit in a typical flatbed trailer, but they’d need a lot of extra care. 

Transporting oversized loads like cranes isn’t like your typical full truckload (FTL) or less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. It can be seriously complicated if you don’t know how the process works. That’s why understanding the topic is crucial before you get started.

In addition, shipping oversized items is more complicated and expensive than standard ones. They often demand intensive preparation, which usually involves the driver and broker (e.g., safety precautions, issuance of permits, etc.).

Keep reading this post to learn more about transporting oversized loads.

What Do You Need To Ship Oversized Loads?

Here are the things that’ll help you ship oversized loads:

  • Heavy-Haul Trucking

Heavy-duty equipment includes trucks and machinery used in commercial activities in fields such as agriculture, construction, and transportation. Heavy-haul trucking can help you transport these pieces of equipment and other oversized items, including military and farming machinery, industrial tools, and construction materials.

Since heavy-haul trucking ships have oversized loads, they require optimized routing, special handling, and shipping permits. Look for a heavy haul company that offers these to ensure shipping won’t be delayed. 

  • Permits 

If your items go beyond the limits in states they’ll pass through, you’ll need permits from the Department of Transportation of every state. But don’t worry—it’s your carrier’s responsibility to obtain all necessary licenses unless you want to provide them yourself. That means there’s no need for you to contact all those offices.

Permits can’t be used to divide loads. For example, if you have two 15,000 kg items, you can’t place them on the same truck with a permit for 30,000 kg loads. You must individually transport them.

The cost of permits may vary from one state to another, and your carrier should inform you what to expect regarding your shipment. Also, permits can’t be refunded and may only be valid for a specific timeframe. If the shipment has been canceled, extended, or delayed beyond the expiration date, you have no choice but to reorder it. 

  • Lifting Support

If your items are heavy enough, you might need additional equipment like a crane or a forklift to help load and unload the freight. Your carrier may help you find these, but keep in mind that the demand is high during peak seasons.

Do You Need An Escort?

Some oversized loads are too complicated to be shipped alone. Depending on your freight’s nature, you might need one or a few more civilians to accompany your driver during transport.

Escort needs may vary depending on which tier your oversized loads will fit into. These are the following:

  • Tier One: Heavy-duty equipment that belongs to tier one doesn’t require additional escorts. The shipping may proceed once you (or your carrier) have obtained the necessary permits. Carriers with open-deck capacity are often willing to transport these loads.
  • Tier Two: Oversized items under the tier two category require one civilian escort in addition to permits. Their role is to alert and inform other drivers about the oversized freight they carry. Also, they scout ahead to avoid road construction and other unexpected circumstances within the route. 
  • Tier Three: Tier three loads require multiple civilian escorts, permits, or a bucket truck. These types of loads are the most complicated and are often considered ‘super loads’ in many states across the U.S. 

Remember that the higher the tier, the more expensive the shipping costs. Not just that, carrier markets will also narrow as you move from a lower to a higher level because only a few have the guts to put up with all the hassle involved.

What Is The Process Of Shipping Oversized Loads?

Knowing the exact dimensions and weight of the freight is crucial when preparing for a move to ensure the delivery meets customer expectations. Here’s the process of shipping oversized and heavy-duty loads:

  • Know The Legal Limits

Freight limits may vary from state to state. Go to your state’s website or visit the office for more information. 

In general, the freight should have a maximum width and height of 8.5 feet (102 inches). Its length should be no longer than 53 feet (636 inches), with a maximum weight of 46,000 pounds (20,865 kilograms).

  • Check If Your Load Is Oversized

Weight limits and restrictions are on a per-axle basis. The freight may pass the weight limit but may exceed the per-axle limitations. To avoid this, adjust the load to make it legal and reduce the need for additional permits. 

A common way to determine whether the load is oversized is its width. If the freight is over 8.5 feet wide, it’s considered oversized. Loads over 12 feet wide may require a couple of pilot vehicles.

  • Understand The Factors That May Affect Shipping

Typically, oversized loads with civilian escorts should only be on the road 30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset from Monday to Friday. States often prohibit driving during weekends and holidays. Before hitting the road, drivers must obtain the necessary permits for every state to be traveled to. 

  • Know The Requirements For Special Marketing

The size of the freight dictates whether a tractor or flatbed trailer needs lights or flags. Usually, amber lights and red flags are necessary for oversized loads to ensure they remain visible to other drivers on the road. Civilian escorts accompanying the heavy haul may be required to hold flags or lights to alert traffic.

Final Words

Shipping oversized loads can be complicated; however, it’s one of the most efficient ways to deliver your goods from one point to another. Because there are plenty of restrictions to consider when shipping wide loads, keeping yourself informed is crucial. This guide will help you ensure your shipment is safe and legal.