Not all freight transportation is alike. Everyone knows the right match of equipment to cargo is important, or you’re not going to have a very good day; not just any vehicle, or any driver, will do. So what is heavy haul trucking, and what makes it different? Equally to the point, how does a regional freight broker like Able Transport Solutions ensure that even your most complex shipping project goes off without a hitch? Let’s break it all down.

Size Matters: Heavy Haul Trucking 101

As with nearly anything else, there’s an extensive set of laws, rules, and regulations that govern trucking of any size. Once you’ve navigated those, there are further limitations imposed by the construction and mechanics of your tow vehicle and trailers. 

What makes a “heavy load”?

Laws vary from one jurisdiction to the next, and not all roads or bridges are engineered to handle the same weights. With that being said, there are a few general rules of thumb that we can use to determine what’s “heavy”. Cargo exceeding 46,000 to 80,000 pounds (again, this varies by jurisdiction), or with dimensions that exceed one or more of the legal size limits common to full truckload shipping—53’ x 8.6’ x 13.6 (LxWxH)—is considered a heavy load.

Vehicle Considerations

Then we come up against the restrictions imposed by common types of truck and trailer construction. Steer axles (typically the front wheels of a truck, though certain trailers will also have this type of axle) are limited to a maximum of 12,000 pounds. The rears come into play as well, with axle weight limits depending on the truck and trailer combination. Single axles are limited to 20,000 pounds, while drive axles and tandem axles have a 34,000-pound weight limit. 

Heavy hauling requires many more axles than you’ll find on a typical truck-and-trailer combination—often from five to twenty axles in order to get the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) to handle the higher weight and to provide additional stability. The added size and weight requires specialized trailer construction, a more powerful truck or prime mover, and—just as importantly—an experienced and properly licensed driver. 

Types of heavy loads

Heavy loads come in many shapes and sizes. Aircraft components, military equipment, construction equipment, HVAC units, manufactured homes, and a wide variety of other cargo all fall under this designation, and Able Transport Solutions will help you find the right transportation for all of it.

How An Experienced Freight Broker Makes Heavy Haul Trucking Seem Easy

At Able Transport Solutions, there are few shipping and hauling scenarios we haven’t encountered. Whatever challenges you’ve faced, we’ve already surmounted. That includes the extensive planning that ensures execution goes well with an oversize, overweight, or otherwise complex load. 

  • Advance work that can involve engineering studies, bridge analysis, traffic studies, and a survey of such items as power lines, railroad crossings, and traffic signals
  • Paperwork that may include permits, a shipper’s letter, bills of lading, and a surety bond in addition to the usual HOS logs
  • The right rolling stock, from heavier-duty tractors to specialized trailers that can handle unconventional loads
  • Careful route planning throughout the US that avoids areas where heavy hauling may be prohibited or restricted, helping to avoid delays
  • An experienced driver who knows the proper handling of their truck, safe trailering, and how to address any hazards that may arise
  • Pilot and escort vehicles where required by law or common sense

Get a Free Shipping Quote Today

For some B2B enterprises, loads like these are routine. For others, either on the shipping or receiving end, they’re anything but. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, it certainly never hurts to get an extra set of eyeballs on your project, especially when that opinion is backed by as much experience as ours. So if there’s a heavy haul trucking project in your near future—or even something smaller, like railway service, tow-away service, or container shipping in order to get in touch with us.