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See Article— USA Today

What is Heavy Haul Shipping?

Published by Tamar Hela.

What's in this article?
  1. What Is Heavy Freight Shipping?
  2. What Kinds of Products Should Be Shipped Using Heavy Haul?
  3. What is considered a heavy haul?
  4. How Does Heavy Haul Shipping Work?
  5. Logistics Issues with Heavy Haul Shipping
  6. Axle Restrictions
  7. Summary
What is Heavy Haul Shipping?

Heavy haul shipping sounds like something only transportation industry pros understand. But it's actually a concept that affects us all, especially if we care a lot about when and how our goods get shipped.

Large equipment, machinery, and building structures are among the things heavy haul shipping handles. This type of shipping handles these massive items that conventional shipping methods are unable to manage.

So that's where heavy-haul shipping comes into play. The planning, purchasing, and operating of the necessary specialized equipment create a unique transportation method distinct from all others.

If you're curious about how you can transport oversized freight or oversized cargo, understanding heavy-haul shipping is essential. Grab a seat and prepare to embark on a journey that will unravel the inner workings of heavy haul trucking companies.


What Is Heavy Freight Shipping?

Heavy freight shipping is an effective option for transporting exceptionally heavy or oversized items. It involves the process of safely securing and transporting large items that may not fit in standard-sized shipping containers.

Such items can include bulldozers, cranes, mining equipment, long pipe, construction materials, and other large pieces of machinery or equipment. Heavy freight shippers must often use multiple tractor (push truck) units and pilot cars to help navigate terrain while transporting goods from point A to point B.

Given the specialized nature of this type of shipping, it is important to have a qualified and experienced team on board who can handle all aspects of the transport production with enthusiasm.

Utilizing ultra-modern trucks and sophisticated technologies such as GPS monitoring systems and route planners helps ensure a safe delivery along the most efficient route to its destination.

Moreover, proper preparation must also take place on all packages before shipment for increased accuracy during the transportation process while reducing any potential safety concerns on site.

What Kinds of Products Should Be Shipped Using Heavy Haul?

Heavy haul freight is an important transport solution for items that are too large or heavy for standard shipping methods.

Products such as construction equipment, heavy machinery, and mining equipment can make part of a company's operations unmanageable without using dedicated freight carriers specializing in transporting large bulky objects.

Additionally, cranes and bulldozers are examples of items that need to be transported using heavy haul. These products often have complex components and require careful handling, making them difficult for standard delivery services to handle with safe arrival.

By using specialized carriers to deliver large or awkward objects, businesses, and individuals can benefit from safe delivery with superior packaging processes and protection measures that ensure the contents arrive intact.

Heavy haul carriers operate with exclusive state-of-the-art technology, such as air ride suspension systems which provide significant benefits by reducing cargo shifting during transportation, thereby reducing breakage and wear and tear of products shipped via this method.

Also, because the trailers used are specifically designed to carry a larger oversized load, loading space is maximized, allowing customers to save on warehousing costs by being able to fit more goods onto one trailer.


What is considered a heavy haul?

Heavy haul freight is often defined as cargo that exceeds the weight and size limitations set by government authorities. This type of oversized freight can involve vehicles such as semi trailers, flatbeds, or lowboys, depending on the dimensions of the shipment.

Generally, a heavy haul is considered to be anything heavier than 80,000 pounds or longer than 48 feet in length. Strict regulations must be followed for all shipments over this weight limit to ensure safe travel and handling.

Additionally, safety considerations play a large role in transporting heavy haul goods. Specialized equipment, such as additional axles or extended dollies, may be necessary to handle larger loads firmly and securely on the road.

Professional drivers who have experience working with heavy haul vehicles and driving routes designed for this type of shipping must be employed. As an extra precaution, detailed planning must go into the delivery process beforehand.

With proper preparation and experienced drivers at the wheel, all shipments over 80,000 pounds should reach their destination without incident.

How Does Heavy Haul Shipping Work?

Heavy haul shipping is one of the most common methods for transporting bulky and oversized items.

Its flatbed semi-trucks are specifically designed for heavy hauling due to their large open beds that accommodate non-traditional shapes and sizes of items, such as machinery or construction equipment.

Depending on the item's size, specialized trailers may be necessary to ensure safe and successful delivery. These customized flatbed trailers are usually available in companies focusing on heavy haul freight.

Their trailers range from standard single drop deck trailers to multi-axle step decks with numerous configurations, allowing you to safely transport any size load across long distances without breaking budgets or risking damage.

By providing custom-made solutions, Carlile ensures your unique heavy freight gets delivered in one piece to its intended destination on time and within budget.

Logistics Issues with Heavy Haul Shipping

Logistics can be a major issue when it comes to heavy-haul shipping. Finding an appropriate truck and route to transport the cargo often requires meticulous planning due to the size, weight, and fragility of the goods being shipped.

If an incorrect or inadequate truck is used in an attempt to save money, the cargo may suffer damage or be subject to onerous delays as a result. Furthermore, any obstructions or obstacles along the route must be taken into account for safe and successful delivery.

Another challenge with heavy freight shipping is coordinating with all parties involved to ensure timely arrival. These parties include:

  • The shipper that sources and prepares the cargo
  • Various carriers, like truck drivers transporting the cargo
  • Customs clearance agents in charge of documentation at borders

All these elements must align seamlessly for secure transportation of goods from one point to another.

Crucially, communication between all stakeholders must stay consistent throughout the duration of each shipment, regardless of any issues that arise unexpectedly during transit.


Axle Restrictions

Heavy haul trucking trailers come in a variety of sizes, from flat deck to step-deck to double-drop. The main thing that determines their legal load capacity is the number and type of single axles they have.

According to federal and state laws, the weight limit for oversize loads depends on the type and number of axles and the type of road. Heavy hauling equipment can come in up to 20-axle varieties, so you can use more axles to support heavier loads.

Where an axle is located and how many are near each other also affects the amount of weight it's allowed to support. Overweight permits are usually required when certain per-axle restrictions are exceeded but allow a greater payload for drivers who need it.

Depending on the type of road, different states may have distinct weight limit restrictions, but federal laws set limits per axle at 27,000 pounds on Interstate highways and 24,000 pounds on non-interstate highways.

They also state 21,000 pounds for certain two-lane rural roads, 8,000 pounds for bridges on those same roads, and 5,000 or 14,500 lbs per tandem groupings (pairs) depending on whether they're spread or not throughout a vehicle's length.


Heavy haul shipments are a crucial industry that allows for the transportation of oversized and overweight cargo. Heavy haul shipping is the backbone of many industries, whether moving large industrial machinery, construction equipment, or even entire buildings.

So, the next time you see wide loads or overweight loads on the road, remember the incredible logistics and engineering that went into making it possible. Heavy haul shipping truly moves the world!

If you need assistance shipping large machinery or heavy equipment, larger motor vehicles, or any four-wheel drive cars, A-1 Auto Transport can help. We will deliver your vehicles with safe and reliable methods.

Discover our auto transporter services and get an instant shipping cost estimate.

Share this content on social media for a chance to get up to 20% off your next shipment.
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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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