3 Secrets to Successfully Executing Over Dimensional Flatbed Loads
Over dimensional flatbed trucking is certainly a niche business. It can take years to learn the intricacies involved when transporting this type of freight. During the next few months we will see a surge in our business, with many more over dimensional loads on the road. I’ve been in the flatbed business for 15 years; when it comes to over dimensional flatbed loads, there are a three tricks I keep top of mind every day.
1. Take precautionary measures before accepting an over dimensional load.
Precautionary measures must be taken before executing all over dimensional shipments. Knowledge is key. Knowing things about the freight is important when transporting any freight, but especially over dimensional goods.
Before executing, verify that you have the following information for any oversized load:
• Exact dimensions—length, width, height
• Total weight
• Exact origin and destination
• Type of item to be transported
• Model and serial numbers
• Time frame for movement
Having all of this information at hand is critical because rules for transporting over dimensional shipments tend to change when you cross state lines. The information above is required to determine the permit type, time needed to secure the permits, number of axles needed on the power unit, number of axles needed on the trailer, type of escorts required, curfew/driver operational times, and road route to safely move the shipment. If the shipment is in the super load category, a certified route survey is also needed for the entire route before a permit can be issued.
2. Understand the differences of over dimensional loads versus regular flatbed shipments.
Standard flatbed shipments are generally 48′-53′ by 102″ wide by 13’6″ high or less. The total weight must be less than 80,000 pounds. Truck and trailer semi combination are always 18 wheels. A driver’s view is not obstructed except for normal blind spots that driver can pick up in the off track mirrors.
Over dimensional flatbed shipment length can exceed 160′ long, 18′ wide, and 18′ high. Often, they can weigh well over 200,000 pounds. Truck and trailer semi combination are not limited to 18 wheels, and may have as many as 40 wheels. Shipments of this size can (and often do) obscure the driver’s vision. Certified pilot escorts are needed in both the front and the rear to cover these areas. Escorts keep in constant touch with driver via two way radio—everyone works together to move shipment safely through traffic, low bridges, low power wires, and other obstacles.
3. Recognize hidden costs that may apply when executing an over dimensional load.
Hidden costs can arise in certain situations when it comes to over dimensional shipping. Savvy carriers know where to look and how to anticipate these costs. Some of these costs include extra fees if dimensions or weights are incorrect, detention charges if a shipment is not ready when the heavy equipment arrives, and added costs for additional trucks if multiple pieces of equipment are required for the shipment.
Obviously, these are only a few of the most important things we watch for when it comes to over dimensional shipping. I would love to hear from all carrier types on the things you keep top of mind when running your business.