Flatbed Heavy Haul Shipping – Everything You Need To Know
Think you need flatbed heavy haul services? Not sure if this type of trucking is right for your freight shipment? In this guide from A-1 Auto Transport, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about flatbed heavy haul, how it works, and more.
What Is Flatbed Trucking?
Flatbed trucking uses a semi-tractor to haul a specialized flat trailer. This trailer can be used to carry a wide variety of freight. Flatbeds are most commonly used to ship cars and trucks, heavy-duty machinery and construction equipment, and industrial equipment that may not fit in a standard truck trailer.
Because they are very versatile, however, flatbeds can be used to ship almost any load. They are also commonly used to ship cut lumber, pipes, and other construction materials or equipment and raw materials. In addition, flatbed trucking can often accommodate larger and bulkier loads compared to a traditional truck trailer, so this method of shipping is ideal for a wide variety of goods.
What Is Flatbed Heavy Haul?
As the name suggests, flatbed heavy haul uses flatbed trucks, but for loads that are much larger, heavier, and bulkier than traditional trucking loads. Usually, these loads exceed 80,000 lb in gross weight, and in the case of “superloads,” they can sometimes be up to 400,000 lbs.
However, the precise definition of a heavy-haul or oversize load does vary based on each state. It can include gross vehicle weight, as well as the dimensions of the trailers, truck, number of axles and/or flatbed trailers, and other such definitions. Flatbed heavy haul jobs are usually very specialized and require complex planning, and are required only for the largest and most bulky items.
Why Would I Need Flatbed Heavy Haul?
Flatbed heavy haul is typically only required when you’re shipping a very large, bulky, and heavy load that is indivisible,meaning that it cannot be broken into smaller parts, shipped, and reassembled on site.
This is because it’s almost always cheaper to break down divisible loads in smaller shipments using traditional trailers or flatbeds. Even with the cost of re-assembly and labor factored in, shipping an item in separate pieces is usually a better option to save money on the shipment.
But in some cases, this is simply not possible. Wind turbine blades, for example, can be up to 120 feet long, and require a heavy-duty flatbed truck with multiple trailers to be moved. This is because they are made of a single piece of composite fiberglass material – it’s not possible to disassemble them and reassemble them on site.
Another example would be an aircraft fuselage. There is simply no way to disassemble and reassemble the fuselage if it must be moved between factories or manufacturing plants – and a Boeing 737 has a fuselage length of around 100 feet, which would definitely qualify as a flatbed heavy haul load. When there’s no other option but to ship a heavy, bulky, or oversized load in one piece, flatbed heavy haul is usually the best choice.
Do I Need Special Permits For Flatbed Heavy Haul?
Yes. Flatbed heavy haul loads almost always count as oversize loads, so you may need both federal and state permits for shipping your load, depending on where it’s being sent. In addition, some heavy haul loads that may be too large to go on highways (due to low overpasses, etc.) may need special permits and local approval to travel on rural roads and surface streets.
This is why you need to work with an experienced flatbed heavy haul provider. With the help of a logistics company that has done multiple heavy haul shipments, you can contact the proper authorities, and obtain the permits that you need to move your load safely and legally to its destination.
In addition, some states may require you to purchase a surety bond to ensure that they will be compensated if there is serious damage to infrastructure due to an accident involving your oversize or superload.
In most cases, it will only take a few days to secure the permits and pay the fees you need for flatbed heavy haul trucking. But, as a rule, the larger and heavier the load is, the longer this process will take. When shipping heavy equipment and bulky loads with flatbed heavy haul, it’s best to plan as far in advance as possible – especially if it’s mission-critical for your load to be delivered to its destination by a particular date and time.
Are Pilot Cars Or Escort Vehicles Required For Flatbed Heavy Haul?
Yes. If your flatbed heavy haul job qualifies as an oversize load or a “superload,” you will likely need one or more pilot cars or escort vehicles to accompany it during the transportation process.
Depending on the state and the details of your shipping job, your shipping company may be able to hire and provide pilot cars for your flatbed heavy haul, or you may need to choose from state-vetted escort vehicle providers.
This is a good thing, however. Pilot cars are very important for extremely heavy and bulky loads, as they alert other drivers and keep them safe, and can ensure that intersections and other areas are clear before a superload or heavy load comes through.
How Much Does Flatbed Heavy Haul Cost?
The cost of flatbed heavy haul is always unique to your job. No two flatbed heavy haul shipments are the same. Factors influencing the cost of your freight shipment include the distance of the shipment, permits required, the size and weight of the load, the complexity of navigating to the destination, and more.
In addition, you will face other expenses related to pilot cars and other costs that may be unique to your job, depending on the size of the load. As mentioned, a flatbed heavy haul is usually much more expensive than shipping your load using multiple trucks – so it’s only the best option if your load is indivisible and cannot easily be broken down and reassembled on the job site.
Costs also may vary depending on your selected shipping company. We recommend finding several experienced flatbed heavy haul companies and getting estimates for your job to ensure that you get the best rate for shipping your load, and can work with a trustworthy, reliable shipping partner.
Need Flatbed Heavy Haul Services? Contact A-1 Auto Transport Now
At A-1 Auto Transport, we have helped hundreds of companies throughout the United States get the flatbed heavy haul services they need for heavy machinery, industrial equipment, and other large, bulky loads that cannot be disassembled for transport to their destination.
With years of experience and a network of reliable and trustworthy logistics companies, we can help you navigate the complexities of shipping an oversize load or superload using flatbed heavy haul services. To learn more and get started, just contact us online or give us a call at (800) 452-2880.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.