The basics… Well, there is nothing remotely basic about heavy hauling an item that happens to be oversized or overweight. Just as if you were planning a camping trip, there are a myriad of things to think about: weather, tent, tools, cooler, bungee cords, and campsite reservations. Freight shipping, especially for the huge stuff, is that kind of planning, just exponentially larger.
Here is our basics checklist. It is not comprehensive because every oversize, overweight, or overheight shipment is different and poses particular requirements and challenges, but when you speak with your shipping agent, these are the basic questions needing answers.
What Is Being Shipped?
This is a seemingly innocent question, but it’s loaded. Is it aircraft? Is it heavy machinery? Is it military equipment? Depending on the item and where it is going, including the route, it may require special documentation or permitting, possibly even escort vehicles.
What is the Length, Width and Height of the Widget?
With the dimensions, we will know whether or not your shipment requires permits, and which permits they might be. As an example, an item weighing more than 80,000 lbs. is universally oversize, and will require permitting in all 50 states, even in some counties and municipalities. There is no fudging this one, even by a pound. Depending on the destination and the route, escort vehicles may be needed.
Where is the Destination?
Whether it is just a few miles down the road or a few states away, this information combined with the above dimensional information starts the process of routing. If the shipment’s destination is a state or more away, more than one set of permits may be required. Do not forget topography and weather too. Both of these factors combined with the dimensions will dictate which routes are safest.
This is a series of “when” questions that answer readiness and arrival deadlines. We cannot stress enough how important it is to contact your shipping agent as early as possible, even with fuzzy answers, because your shipment is competing against others for trailer space of the trailer itself. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to book, and the more expensive shipping rates become.
How is the Item Going to Be Loaded and Offloaded?
Obviously this depends on what is being shipped, its fragility, the dimensions, and the type of trailer that will be employed. This is a conversation that you should have with your shipping agent, to decide if the item can be rolled on or if a crane will be needed.
Does The Item Require Additional Equipment for Safe Transport?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has specific securement system requirements freight services must employ to prevent cargo from shifting or falling. These regulations are also conveniently aligned with Canadian and Mexican requirements. So again, depending on the item’s dimensions, including weight, additional tie-downs, bracing, lashings, tension chains may be necessary. If the load is 4” wider, or 4’ longer than the tractor trailer red or orange fluorescent flags must mark the load. Depending on the item and environmental conditions tarping may also be necessary.
Is Your Item Insured?
Depending on the shipping services company you contract, you will either need to purchase a policy on your own, or in conjunction with the shipper. What you must do is certify that your item is insured for its full value. But here’s the rub: If what is being shipped is a used item, reimbursement for loss or damage may be a fraction of what you expect. Read all the fine print. Also verify that the carrier has a liability insurance policy of no less than $250,000.
Things to Confirm
In addition to confirming that the freight carrier has specific and verifiable experience in transporting your item, you will also want to confirm that the freight service provider organizes the following:
- Hiring support vehicles
- Hiring escort vehicles
- Provides a bill of lading in advance
Here at Next Exit Logistics, we are a premier transport provider for unique cargo. We can arrange whatever your shipping needs, but we specialize in the difficult, unusual and impossibly heavy haul shipments. We have coordinated the shipments of nearly 5 million pounds of pumpkins, rocket launchers, aerial drones, crawler cranes, tanks, bulldozers, and fabricated metals for commercial use and for the CIA.