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Oversize Load Rates: Pricing for Large Shipments

April 17, 2020
 By Jacob Lee
Oversize Load Rates: Pricing for Large Shipments
Last Modified: April 10, 2024
Let a strategic partner like Heavy Haul and Oversized do the heavy lifting when you need oversize load rates.

Oversize load rates are a critical aspect of shipping exceptionally large or over dimensional freight. Every company will have to bear these expenses when moving large cargo to a final destination. Knowing how these costs can fluctuate with each load will help shippers budget for their loads. 

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), oversize load rates change based on the following:

  • Weight and Dimensions
  • Distance
  • Permits and Regulations
  • Route Restrictions
  • Specialized Equipment

Shippers must understand these factors before they book a shipment of oversized freight. 

We’ll explain why oversize load rates fluctuate and the common types of heavy haul shipments that are subject to these expenses.

What are Oversized Load Rates?

Oversized load rates is the fee shippers will have to pay carriers to transport their oversized cargo. Before learning about the associated expenses, businesses should have a thorough understanding what type of freight is considered oversize.

In the simplest terms, an oversize load is a shipment that exceeds weight or size limits on a certain kind of roadway. These kinds of freight shipments often require heavy haul trucking. In the U.S., an oversize load is wider than 8 feet and 6 inches. 

You’ll find that each state has different requirements for height and length. As a general rule of thumb, oversize loads are usually higher than 13 feet and 6 inches. 

Types of oversized loads include:

  • Mobile homes
  • Mining equipment
  • Wind turbines
  • Steel Beams

Despite heavy haul freight being so large, each type of load needs to be handled carefully to ensure that it arrives at the final destination in top condition.

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How Much Are Oversized Load Rates?

It’s difficult to provide an exact oversize load rate because expenses can fluctuate. However, there are a few ways shippers can determine how much this transportation service will cost. 

This includes:

  • Looking at flatbed shipping rates
  • Researching the load

Since most oversized loads will be transported on flatbed trailers, shippers should check the regional rates to transport freight using this type of equipment. Expenses will fluctuate depending on what part of the country the oversized freight is being transported through. Nonetheless, flatbed shipping rates will be roughly in the same range.  

Another way shippers can determine their oversized load rates is by researching how much it will cost to transport their freight. Depending on the type of cargo that needs to be moved, finding an accurate estimate on shipping prices can be very easy. We’ve included a data table on some common types of oversized loads and how much they cost on average. 

Average Cost to Ship Common Types of Oversized Freight

Oversized LoadCost to Ship
Mobile Home$5000-$9000

Provided by: Forbes and Finance Monthly

Shippers that need oversized loads like these will likely have an easier time finding the rate they’ll have to pay. Nonetheless, business should always research the costs associated with moving their freight from one location to another. 

Read our article on bulldozer transport if you need to ship this type of oversized load.

Oversize Load Rates for Construction Jobs

What Factors Affect Oversize Load Rates?

When it comes to oversize load shipping, there are several crucial factors that impact the rates involved. It’s important for businesses and shippers to understand these factors, as they play a significant role in determining the overall cost of transporting oversized cargo. 

Weight and Dimensions

The most obvious factor that causes oversize load shipping rates to rise or fall is the weight and dimensions of the cargo in a shipment. Heavier shipments that are larger can be more difficult to transport. 

There are few reasons for this:

  • Loading and unloading is more difficult
  • Additional equipment has to be used

Oversized freight isn’t easy to move on or off a trailer. The more excessive this type of freight is, the more effort goes into loading and unloading it. Cargo that’s larger and heavier often requires more equipment to secure it to a trailer as well. Therefore, shippers should expect to pay more for heavy haul freight the bigger their shipment becomes. 

How Distance Affects Oversized Transport Rates

The distance that an oversize load needs to travel is a significant factor in determining the rates and overall transportation costs. Cross-country shipments are going to be much more expensive. 

Reasons for this include:

  • More fuel consumption
  • Driver accommodations
  • Potential route modifications
  • More state regulations to follow

Each of these reasons contribute to increased costs for shippers. Shipments to remote areas affect oversize load rates as well. Not only does the distance increase expenses, but the difficult terrain in these areas can cause issues. Remote shipments might require additional logistical support, which increases oversize load shipping costs. 

Route Restrictions

Route restrictions pose another challenge in oversize load shipping. Certain paths may have limitations that can drive up oversize load costs per mile. 

This restrictions like:

  • Low bridges
  • Narrow roads
  • Roads with sharp turns

Navigating around these restrictions may require taking detours. This can lengthen the distance of the shipment, which results in higher fuel consumption. In some cases, certain routes might have to be modified for an oversized load to pass through. Changes can include expanding roads or cutting low-hanging branches on trees. 

Permits and Regulations

State permits are likely required for all oversized loads. Carriers must have this document for each state they travel through. In many places in the U.S., shippers only get an oversize load permit if their freight is “non-divisible.” This means cargo can’t be separated into smaller loads.

There are two types of permits that can be obtained, such as:

  • Single trip
  • Annual 

Single trip permits are good for one shipment, while annual ones can be used for an entire year. There are other regulations that must be abided by when heavy haul freight is transported. One oversize load requirement often includes use of a pilot or escort cars.

The pilot car warns other vehicles on the road about the oversize load. It must travel ¼ miles to 1 mile ahead of the truck hauling the cargo. Many states require flags and banners for oversize hauling. These serve as warning signals to other drivers on the road. Flashing lights might be another state requirement for semis transporting heavy and oversized freight.

Running times are another important regulation that shippers will have to consider. States in the U.S. don’t typically allow oversized cargo to travel during night hours or on certain holidays. Following each of these requirements can raise oversize load rates. 

States typically charge for oversize permits. Safety equipment needs to be paid for and applied to semis, as well as pilot cars. Therefore, shippers should be aware of how permits and regulations can raise their expenses.

Our article on heavy haul shipping regulations has more information on the rules that need to be followed when transporting this kind of freight.

Specialized Equipment for Oversized Load Hauling

Moving oversize loads often requires specialized equipment, such as trailers with hydraulic systems. These systems are used to keep the bed off the frame of the equipment. This allows for easier loading and unloading. 

Cranes are another type of specialized equipment that can drive up of the cost of oversized load rates. These are used to lift freight that can’t be picked up with a forklift or driven onto a flatbed trailer. Shippers will have to pay for crane services to load their cargo.  

oversized load on the highway

Best Practices for Managing Oversize Load Rates

Managing oversize load rates effectively is essential for shippers looking to minimize their transportation costs and ensure a smooth logistics process. There are a few best practices businesses can use to reduce their oversize load rates.

These include:

  • Researching load rates
  • Optimizing dimensions and weight
  • Utilizing Technology

Using these techniques can help shippers manage their oversized load rates, which will help them save money. 

1. Researching Load Rates

One method for managing oversize load rates is conducting thorough research and comparing shipping costs from different carriers. Studying and comparing different pricing for this service enables shippers to find the most cost-effective option. Therefore, businesses should review rates from multiple carriers and compare each amount. 

Analyzing multiple quotes helps shippers spot any significant variations in pricing. This allows businesses to ask for a breakdown of costs. Based on the answer a carrier provides, they can determine if they’re being charged unfairly. 

If the amount that each oversized transportation company provides is roughly the same, then shippers can simply choose the one that’s most affordable for them. 

2. Optimizing Load Dimensions and Weight

Oversized loads take up plenty of space on a trailer and are extremely heavy. As we’ve discussed, the larger the load, the more money it will cost to transport it to another location. Fortunately, there are a few ways shippers can reduce the size of their shipment. 

Some include:

  • Disassembling freight
  • Hiring designers and engineers

Some kinds of oversize freight can be broken down into smaller parts. While this won’t reduce the weight of the load, it will change how much space it takes up on the trailer used for transport. 

In some cases, oversized freight that’s broken down can be transported as freight that’s smaller and lighter on multiple flatbed trailers. The only downside to breaking down heavy haul cargo is that shippers will have to pay for multiple trailers to move their load. 

Therefore, they must consider if this is a viable option for them. Experts like engineers can help analyze the load’s design and identify possible modifications. This will reduce the dimensions or weight of the cargo without compromising its integrity. 

3. Leveraging Technology

Incorporating technology and logistics solutions can greatly enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of oversize load transportation. 

This includes using:

  • Route planning software
  • Electronic documentation and digital communication

Oversize carriers typically map out the routes they use when transporting oversized freight. However, shippers can map out different paths their freight will travel on to determine which one is cheapest. 

Before initiating your heavy haul shipment, check out our article on holiday restrictions for oversized loads. 

Get an Oversize Load Rate Quote Today

Make getting an oversize load rate quote simple by working with Heavy Haul and Oversized. We are ready to be your strategic partner when it comes to heavy haul trucking. No matter where the final destination is located, we’ll find a carrier that can carefully transport your oversized freight. 

When you choose Heavy Haul and Oversized, your load will be transported using the following:

  • Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)
  • Flatbed shipping
  • Lowboy trailers

It takes the right experience and know-how to manage oversize loads. You’ll find that Heavy Haul and Oversized is a proven leader in the industry. Fill out your quote to get your freight moving, or contact our team at (866) 902-2713 if you have any questions or concerns.

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