Flat Bed, Wide Load & Over-Dimensional Trucking Basics

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Many businesses ship items all over the U.S., and for most of those businesses the ideal shipping method is using semi-trucks. But what happens when you have a product you need to deliver that is a little bit wider than usual? Or something that is too long to fit in a standard trailer? When that happens you may need to ship using flat bed, wide load, or over-dimensional standard. If you’re not prepared for these scenarios, or it’s the first time you have come across this, your shipment could be delayed or you might find that the costs are much higher than what you initially thought. To avoid surprises, here are the basics on these types of truckloads.

“Legal” Dimensions for Shipments

It’s not difficult to know what the dimensions are for shipping in a trailer—if your items don’t fit in the trailer, chances are they are over dimension. Flatbeds can be a little more tricky, though, because you don’t have walls on a trailer to indicate that you’re over dimension. The legal load size for flatbeds is 8 feet, 6 inches high, 8 feet, 6 inches wide, and 48 feet long. In some cases you may be allowed some overhang, but be sure to check before you load the truck. Weight limit is usually around 45,000 pounds, but if yours is only slightly over that you can talk to your trucking company about whether there will be added costs.

If your load is somewhat flexible, make sure that you fit it within these legal limits to avoid the potential for thousands of dollars in added charges. Communicate the exact size and weight to your shipper to ensure proper cost calculation.

Experience Matters

Another important factor in over-dimensional, wide load, and flat bed trucking is finding an experienced logistics or trucking company to help transport the items. Experienced staff will be able to get the right information from you at the beginning, provide an accurate quote, and assist in understanding the regulations and requirements for these types of loads. They may also be able to offer ideas and tips for keeping your costs as low as possible.

Other Things You Might Want to Know

It would be difficult to highlight all the things you need to know about shipping large loads here, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced trucking company. Some other things you may want to take some time to learn about include:

  • Insurance, if it’s necessary to cover your equipment or items
  • Loading and unloading procedures, particularly if your equipment or items are fragile or require special loading equipment
  • Securing the load to avoid damage

To learn more about over-dimensional shipping, flat bed shipping, and wide loads, call West Coast Carriers today.