How to Ship Heavy Haul & Oversize Loads?

How to ship heavy haul

Shipping heavy haul and oversize loads are as complicated as freight shipping gets, with many intricacies that can cause you headaches.

It pays off to get informed and prepare well. That’s why we’ve created a short guide to make oversize load shipping easier and less complicated. Read on! 

What are heavy haul loads?

Heavy haul shipments are oversized loads that have to be shipped using specialized trailers that can bear the extra weight. 

What are oversize or over-dimensional loads?

Oversize loads, over-dimensional loads (OD loads), or overweight loads are shipments with dimensions and/or weight that go beyond legal limits and require special trailer equipment and permits for shipping. Sometimes, they’re also referred to as ‘’superloads.’’ OD loads have to be non-divisible, which means that they cannot be taken apart or reduced in size, and shipped as separate regular (legal) loads.

What kinds of loads are shipped as oversize / heavy haul loads?

Manufacturing equipment, industrial shipments such as large machinery, and vehicles are usually shipped as heavy haul loads.

What makes cargo oversized?

A shipment is called oversize or over-dimensional if:

  • It’s wider than 8.5 ft (102 inches or 2.60 meters)
  • It’s longer than the vehicle’s bed

What are the requirements for shipping heavy haul / oversize loads?

Before shipping heavy haul, you need to acquire all the necessary permits. Every Canadian province and US state has different regulations and limitations when it comes to shipping oversize loads, and some US states even differ between counties. If you’re shipping across state or provincial lines, you need to get permits in each of those jurisdictions.

Obtaining permits may take up to several weeks. The rule of thumb is: the larger the shipment is, the more time it’s going to take to get a permit.

Getting the right permits is an important step, as not having permits or having the wrong ones can cost you a lot of time and money.

Take these things into account when shipping OD loads:

  1. Are support vehicles needed, such as pilot cars, chase cars, or bucket trucks (trucks that move overhead cables)?
  2. Are there any construction areas on the route?
  3. Are there any train tracks or bridges on the route?
  4. What is the weather going to be like during the shipping period?
  5. How many days is the shipment going to take? In many cases, OD loads can only be shipped during the daytime.

What are the types of trucks suitable for shipping heavy haul / oversize shipments?

There are four main types of the trailer which are used for shipping heavy haul / oversize loads:

  1. Flat rack trailer
  2. Flatbed trailer
  3. Drop deck (step-deck or lowboy) trailer
  4. Gooseneck trailer

How to ship heavy haul

1) Find the right shipping partner

By considering the complications associated with shipping oversize loads, you’d be saving a lot of time and money by finding an experienced carrier, broker, or online transportation company such as Tenax Transport to assist you with shipping. 

Tenax Transport shipping experts are seasoned in transporting heavy haul and will help you arrange to ship with specialized, licensed carriers who know specific regulations of different states and provinces and are able to properly execute the shipping operations. 

If anything goes wrong, we will always have a back-up carrier with confirmed availability.

2) Measure the proper dimensions and weight of your shipment

Properly measuring your shipment’s length, width, height, and weight is a crucial step in heavy haul shipping. A difference in a few inches or lbs may result in a change of route and cost, and if the dimensions or weight are subsequently changed, the carrier will need to re-apply for another permit, which will cost you extra charges and delay in the shipping process. If possible, you should disassemble the products, and assemble them again after delivery.

3) Plan about the loading and unloading of your freight

Before it goes on its way, the first thing is to load your shipment safely on to the trailer. Depending on the load, you may need a crane or a forklift to do that, and the same process will be followed for unloading at the destination.

In case of delays in loading or unloading, you may incur significant charges.

If you have any doubts about loading or unloading, our shipping experts will assist you every step of the way. Send us your inquiry at!


4) Mention any special shipping requirements

For every type of heavy haul shipment, the shipping and packing requirements are different. For example, shipping industrial machinery isn’t the same as shipping vehicles. 

Check whether you need specialized equipment for transportation, such as flags, rotating lights, tie-down points, or bracing. If your load contains fragile goods, you need to strap it to the truck, and if it’s sensitive, you need to protect it from the elements using tarping

This specialized equipment is expensive and in-demand, and it needs to be arranged with the carrier beforehand.

5) Early Planning

Since oversized shipping often requires special equipment and trucks that can be in limited supply, it is a good idea to start planning earlier and give the carrier enough notice to make all the shipping arrangements. This may take weeks, and more complicated loads can even take months.

6) Coordinate with the recipient of the freight

Check with the delivery location that they have the right equipment to offload the freight safely. Many issues in heavy haul shipping occur because of the poor communication between the shipper and the consignee. 

7) Buy freight insurance

Overdimensional loads tend to be costly, so make sure you insured your freight before putting it on the trailer. 

Most carriers offer in-house shipping insurance. If you have any questions about carrier shipping insurance, contact us at! 

6) Ask your carrier about the shipping permits

Usually, the carrier will apply for the permits and include this in the shipping quote. To avoid surprises, confirm that this is the case with your shipment before you set up a contract with the carrier. 

Final thoughts

Heavy haul shipping is complicated, no doubt about it. And the best you can do to avoid stress and to save time and money is to get informed, plan well ahead, and let the professionals help you.

Tenax Transport shipping experts have been handling heavy haul shipments for years, shipping for small companies and large ones such as Nestle. We know that each oversized load is different, and we will customize our solutions to your particular needs! Our dedicated logistics experts will help you plan your oversize load shipping and help you track your shipment along the way.

Reach out to us with your shipping information, and we will get you a shipping quote in no time.