Freight Shipping and Heavy Haul Blog

Our years of experience in the auto freight shipping industry has accumulated a great deal of helpful information! We are sharing this with you on this blog.
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How Wide Is Your Flatbed Shipment?

oversized-flatbed-shipment What is included and what is not when it comes to measuring the width of flatbed freight shipments?

Federal Exclusions to Width Measurement for Overland Transported Freight

In general, if the freight you're hauling is less than 102 inches wide, you are below the limits set by the federal government that triggers wideload permitting requirements. This means no over-dimensional permits, escorts, or other cost and schedule impacting rules to follow. Knowing your width measurements are very important to effectively managing shipping schedules and project budgets. And you’re the one responsible for accurate measurements – not the state or federal representatives.

But what is included and what is not when it comes to measuring the width of flatbed freight shipments? Federal rules and regulations clarify this issue. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration states the following:

WIDTH EXCLUSIVE DEVICES - States must allow certain devices to extend beyond the 2.6 m (102-inch) width limit of Commercial Motor Vehicles on the National Network and reasonable access routes. These include rear-view mirrors, turn signal lamps, handholds for cab entry/egress, splash and spray suppressant devices, and load-induced tire bulge. Also excluded are non-property carrying devices that do not extend more than 3 inches beyond each side of the vehicle.” U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 23 CFR Part 658

This may or may not seem obvious. But when it comes to cost and project impact between an over dimensional load and one that falls below these standards, it’s important to know the regulations to be safe and legal. Being able to defend your freight measurements can mean the difference between state-by-state wide load permits and rerouting and a streamlined transport.

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APR
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Things To Know When Shipping Over Dimensional Freight

special-permit-transport Successfully navigating overweight transport rules can make or break a project. Know the DOT rules before loading up.

Transporting loads that exceed height, weight, or length standards such as construction, military, agricultural equipment, for over the road shipping presents routing, permitting, and scheduling challenges. Shipping oversized and over-dimensional equipment and freight requires adherence to numerous rules, restrictions, and regulations. Understanding and navigating shipping requirements is challenging but necessary for safe, legal, and efficient transport of any over-dimensional loads.

States are required by the federal government to regulate loads that exceed height, weight, and length standards. Each state has the authority to set standards to meet the unique conditions in that state. Heavy or wide loads shipped within or through a state are subject to different laws, regulations, and restrictions in each state. Add to this the changing road conditions unique to each state, city, and town, and oversized shipment planning becomes a complex puzzle.

Optimizing routing for an over-dimensional load takes planning and expertise. Areas of jurisdiction of federal and state Department of Transportation regarding flatbed loads that exceed certain restrictions include:

  • Weight, height, length,and gross weight of a shipment
  • Per-Axle weight restrictions
  • State permits may include:
    • Single trip, multiple trip, or annual permit
    • City and/or county permits
    • Farm machinery transport
    • Permit-to-operate
  • Seasonal weight/travel restrictions
  • Drive-time restrictions including holiday, weekend, nighttime limitations
  • Escort and pilot vehicles requirements
  • Safety banners, lights, flagging and other signage requirements
  • Route restrictions due to construction, closed roads, etc.

These and more affect how, when, and where a heavy or wide load can be transported. Knowing these and building them into your shipping plan is critical to good project management.

Transporting under an oversized load permit can be challenging but it is often the most efficient way to transport equipment, building materials, and machinery in many situations. Piecing together a route that meets the variety of transport rules and regulations can make or break a budget or a schedule. Ensuring compliance can help your project stay in the black and meet on-time delivery schedules.

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