Over Dimensional Freight Transport
Over Dimensional Freight vs Heavy Haul Transport
While our specialty is transporting high-value cargo for the aerospace industry, we also have the opportunity to transport a wide variety of over dimensional freight.
You will often hear the “Heavy Haul” buzzword in the industry, but we want to make a clear distinction between a heavy hauler and an oversized or over dimensional freight transport company. A traditional “heavy haul” company will provide 10 or more axle configurations to support cargo that could be over 100,000 lbs. Unless a company is using a fully custom trailer, these configurations are compiled by adding jeeps and boosters to the trailer (sometimes several depending on the weight of the cargo).
In order to remain legal on the road, a truck and trailer combination is allowed 17,000 lbs. per axle on the trailer. Now you are allowed to go over that by applying for overweight permits, however the limit in most states and provinces is 20,000 lbs. per axle.
What is Over Dimensional Freight?
Over dimensional freight is any item that exceeds one or more of the standard legal size criteria for each state and province. While these can vary depending on the jurisdiction, a general guideline for legal parameters is: 53’ long, 8’ 6” wide and 13’ 6” tall (on the trailer). The height limit will vary, generally speaking the western states and provinces, except for British Columbia, the height limit is 14’. As a general rule, any state east of the Mississippi River will limit the height of cargo to 13’ 6”.
Cargo that exceeds any these parameters and is non-reducible in size, is considered oversized or over dimensional and requires a permit before being shipped. Cargo that is taller than 16’ enters a new category called “super status.” This requires a different type of permit and often a pole car will need to dry run the route before the shipment commences. Super status shipments are complicated and require an experienced driving team. The super status can vary depending on the state as well, for example Florida considers anything over 15’ in height to be super status load due to the low infrastructure in that particular state.
IMT prefers to consider itself an over dimensional and high value freight transport company, instead of a heavy haul trucking company. We quite often will ship items that are extremely wide, over length and over height. However, we typically do not ship items in excess of 60,000 pounds. Except in our Mill Roll Division, where we use specific mill roll trailers to transport rolls weighing in excess of 130,000 lbs. with a gross vehicle weight of 200,000 lbs.
Process for Shipping Over Dimensional Freight
IMT will conduct a detailed route survey that takes into account all expected obstacles for a particular shipment. This can be complicated as different states and provinces have different regulations for shipping oversized items. For example, some states may allow travel at night with over dimensional freight, whereas others may require that you park your truck for the evening or weekend. Depending on how disruptive the cargo might be to other vehicles on the load, quite often the truck will not be allowed to travel during peak rush hour times within city limits.
Depending on the nature of the cargo we may have one or two pilot cars, with a height pole attached to the lead car for cargo that is over height. By running a quarter mile ahead of the truck, the pole car can give ample warning to the truck driver if the pole hits some low hanging power lines or other unforeseen infrastructure.
Shipping over dimensional freight requires concentration and experience, drivers must be looking farther ahead down the road than the average vehicle and assessing potential obstacles at all times. It also requires a team of professionals on the road and in the office to successfully deliver the cargo to its destination.