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Shipping Over-Sized? What You Need to Know

Shipping Over-Sized? What You Need to Know
Karen Franco - Fri Oct 11, 2013 @ 01:48PM
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Are You Not Sure if Your Shipment is Over-Sized?

Karen Franco Freight Broker


Karen Franco
AA Freight Brokers
(520) 338-4576

email me

If the item or items you are going to ship might exceed the height, width, length, or weight restrictions of your state, or any state they will be traveling in, you need to get very good measurements to your freight broker.

In the instance that you cannot get an accurate weight because you lack the equipment to do so, you need to have the weight estimated using a reliable method. With this information, your broker can help you determine the right trailer needed, and advise whether or not permits will be needed. Your freight broker should take care of obtaining all permits. There will be a cost that varies state by state. 

The Importance of Accurate Shipping Information:

Once on the road, a truck (with your material or goods) can be held up for inaccurate information. Once it is held up, it must be remedied before it can be moved from that weigh station, or location that it has been stopped. If this happens many states away from you, not only do you have to count on your goods being safely trans-loaded, but expect a hefty cost for having it done. Give your broker accurate information.  Include any dunnage that affects the dimensions. 

STATE BY STATE: For your reference, this link contains the contact information for each state's department of transportation. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/sw/permit_report/index.htm#obt

Your shipment will require a permit for each state your goods will travel through.  Occasionally a city will require additional permitting.  Limitations for each state will be similar to those I have listed below for Arizona, but, may have some varying restrictions. Some cities also add restrictions. Keep in mind that older parts of the country, such as in the east, may have bridges and overpasses, and some areas of cities will have overhead lines that have not been upgraded to modern standards.

Basic restrictions for the State of Arizona:

Legal Loads:
Length: 65’ on non-designated highways - including truck, trailer, and your goods
Overhang:3’ front or 6’ rear (with permit). legally, you can usually overhang 2' front and 4' back
Weight: GVW 80,000 lbs.--GVW- gross vehicle weight- includes the truck, trailer, and your goods 
Width: 8’ 6”
Height: 14’ on Interstate; 13’ 6” on secondary road- this measures from the ground to the top of your freight, including any dunnage, lifting supports, etc...

Pilot Car - Escort Car Requirements:
Width: On 2 lanes over 14’ requires 1 pilot car or escort vehicle in front of truck and 1 the rear of truck. On Interstates over 15’ wide you are required to have 1 pilot car in front of truck.

Height: Over 17’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck.
Length: On 2 Lanes:Over 120’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck and 1 rear of truck.
On Interstates:Over 120’ requires 1 pilot car in front of truck.

It is important to remember that the permitting offices will provide the route for the truck driver. They could possibly add miles to avoid bridges, overpasses, city roads, etc... I had a route for an over-height load from San Antonio to Dallas, and the permitting office added over 100 additional miles to that route. Your freight broker will not know this until the permit has been issued.  Give her plenty of time for accurate pricing for miles.  Permits expire within 96 hours.  If the load is delayed, another permit will need to be purchased.

Permitted loads have restrictions for travel during certain hours, called "hours of movement". Usually, you cannot be on the roads in the many city limits during rush hour traffic. If you are in the city, you will have to wait until after that time to leave your yard. Also, the driver must pull over at certain times so they are not travelling at night when restricted to do so. They cannot just stop where they are, so, even if they can travel until a half hour after sunset, they need to stop at a place they can stay the night. You need to plan around these time restrictions to make sure you do not miss your own deadlines with your customers.  Some loads will need to travel with escorts at night time.  

This is something that is often not well understood by shippers. If your load is divisible, it must be shipped in a way to avoid it being over-sized.  Example: If you have two or more pieces that will be more than 102" when placed side by side, you must re-arrange them so that they are not over-width, or you will need to arrange for additional transportation.  A “non-divisible load” is one piece or item which cannot be separated into units of less weight or width, or height, without affecting the physical integrity of the load. Examples of non-divisible loads include, but are not limited to single poles, girders, columns, wood or metal trusses, buildings, houses. A state may require you to remove a part of a heavy piece of machinery, such as a bucket, to make it under the weight restriction.  It would then be shipped on a separate truck. If it is too time consuming to do so, you may have to provide proof to the permitting office of such.

The design and/or planning department at your organization should consider you as an invaluable resource when planning projects that will eventually be shipped to another location. It may be better to design and build projects within shipping limitations to avoid additional costs and/or delays when it comes time to ship. For example, if you are designing a sign, you may need to design it to be constructed in two or more pieces and then assembled at the installation site. Involving the shipping department at the beginning can often times save an organization big headaches! 

Please request a copy of trailer types and guidelines, including illustrations, by emailing: SEND TRAILER TYPES AND GUIDELINES to: karen.franco83@gmail.com

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