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Transporting Pipes on Trucks: Shipping on Flatbeds and More

June 26, 2023
 By Joe Weaver
Transporting Pipes on Trucks: Shipping on Flatbeds and More
Last Modified: June 28, 2023
What is the best way to transport pipes on a truck? From types of pipes to trailers and transportation, we show you the ins and outs of getting your pipes from A to B.

Transporting pipes on trucks is one of the most commonly employed methods for moving pipes from one location to another. It offers a practical and efficient solution, ensuring that pipes reach their final destination in a timely manner. However, it’s important to consider related challenges such as loading, tieing down, and avoiding hazards that come with hauling large cargo. Safely and legally transporting pipes on trucks requires expertise and proper handling to ensure the integrity of the cargo and the safety of others on the road. 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that over 100 million tons of pipes are transported by truck each year in the United States. Trucks are the most common mode of transportation for pipes, as they offer a cost-effective and efficient way to move large quantities of material over long distances.

Let’s take a look at the materials used to make pipes, the most effective methods for pipe transport, and how Heavy Haul and Oversized can help you meet your pipe-hauling needs.

Transporting Pipes on Trucks: Materials and Usage

Pipes are commonly made from a variety of materials, including steel, concrete, and PVC. The material from which the pipe is constructed will often dictate its usage. We’be broken down the  most common pipe materials and their applications.

Easy to customize and install
Hot water
Crude oil
Natural gas
Foundations and framing
Underground utilities
ConcreteExceptional strength
Long life
Immune to most corrosion factors
Storm drains
Cable management
PVCResistant to corrosion and chemicals
Minimizes blockages
Easy to install
Leak-resistant fittings
Residential and business plumbing
Water for drinking
Exhaust and ventilation
AluminumMost corrosion resistant metal pipe
Lightweight and durable
More malleable than steel
Exhaust systems
Compressed air
Power transmission lines

In addition to usage and materials, it’s important to consider the following factors when hauling pipes on a flatbed or any other kind of trailer:

  • Weight: The weight of the pipes plays a large part in determining whether oversized permits will be required.
  • Length: This measurement factors into the size of the trailer you’ll need, as well as the number of tie-downs.
  • Diameter: The diameter of the pipes may impact the necessary trailer width.
  • Material: The material of the pipes will determine the type of dunnage that is needed to protect them from damage.
  • Hazardous materials: If the pipes are transporting hazardous materials, special permits and procedures may be necessary.

Taking the weight of the load along with the size and shape of the pipe or pipes being hauled into account is key to choosing the right trailer and tie down materials.

Pipe Transport: Best Ways to Haul Pipe

A semi truck hauling an oversize load of pipes on a flatbed trailer.

There are a variety of trailer designs that can be used to transport pipes. The best design for a particular application will depend on the size, weight, and type of pipes being transported. 

Some of the most common trailer designs for transporting pipes include:

  • Flatbed trailers: A versatile option that can be used to transport a variety of pipe sizes and lengths.
  • Lowboy trailers: Designed for transporting long, heavy pipes, they have a low profile that makes it easy to load and unload pipes.
  • Bolstered trailers: This design is ideal for transporting pipes that are not perfectly round. Bolsters are positioned on the sides of the trailer to prevent cargo shift while in transit.

The versatility of flatbed trailers means that they can be used for hauling concrete pipe, steel pipe, or almost any kind, safely and securely. Let’s examine the most common loading procedures for pipes on a flatbed trailer.

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How to Load Pipe on a Flatbed

Flatbed trucks are a common way to transport pipes of all sizes. However, loading something round onto something flat requires some careful considerations.

The following steps lay out how flatbed pipe loads should be stored on a trailer.

  1. Clear any debris from the loading surface of the trailer.
  2. Lay down any required dunnage. Dunnage is packing material, usually made of wood or plastic, that is used to protect the pipes from damage.
  3. Load the pipes. This is usually done with a crane or forklift. When you have different sized pipes, load the heaviest at the bottom of the trailer. The lighter pipes go on top.
  4. Secure the pipes according to FMCSA regulations. Use straps for pipes made of steel, aluminum, and PVC. A combination of straps and chains should be used for concrete pipes.
  5. Check the load. Make sure the pipes have been secured properly and are free of damage.

It’s also important to follow some general safety tips while loading your trailer, such as:

  • Wearing safety glasses and gloves.
  • Taking care not to overload the trailer.
  • Making sure the pipes are not damaged during loading.

Following these tips will go a long way toward getting your haul from point A to point B without issues. It’s also a good idea to load the trailer on level ground. This will minimize the risk of load shifting while the trailer is in transit.

How Do You Strap Down a Pipe?

Knowing how to secure pipe on a flatbed is a crucial element of safe hauling. This is especially important for concrete and steel pipes, which are heavy and can cause significant damage if they shift in transit. 

Some of the best practices for securing pipes on flatbed trucks include:

  • Use straps or chains that are strong enough to support the weight of the pipes.
  • Secure the pipes at regular 10’ intervals per FMCSA specifications
  • If you’re loading pipes laterally, use a chock block and strap/chain the pipes internally at opposing 45 degree angles at the front and rear of the load. This will pull the load inward and prevent shifting.
  • Whenever possible, use a trailer equipped with a headache rack.
  • Use dunnage to keep your pipes from being damaged in transit.

Now that you know how to strap down pipe on a flatbed, you can just worry about getting to your destination as quickly as possible, right? Not exactly. It’s equally important to observe precautions while pipe hauling.

Safety Considerations During Pipe Transportation

A warehouse worker performing inventory on several kinds of pipes.

Safety doesn’t stop once the pipes are securely loaded. There is still the drive of hundreds or even thousands of miles to consider. Following certain guidelines will go a long way toward making sure that your load of pipes arrives undamaged during the pipe transportation procedure.

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Maintaining appropriate speed and following traffic regulations: When transporting pipes, it is important to maintain a safe speed and follow all traffic regulations. This will significantly lower the risk of injury to yourself and other drivers.
  • Tips for handling curves, turns, and inclines during transportation: When transporting pipes around curves, turns, and inclines, it is important to take extra caution. Slow down and use caution when approaching these areas.
  • Dealing with bad weather conditions during transport: Rough weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice, can impact pipe transport. It is important to be aware of the weather conditions and take precautions to ensure safe transport.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure safe transport of pipes.

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Best Practices for Unloading Pipes

When unloading pipes, it is important to use the correct unloading techniques for the type of pipe being unloaded. 

Here are some best practices for unloading pipes:

  • Use a qualified crew: The crew unloading the pipes should be qualified and experienced in handling heavy loads.
  • Use the right equipment: This can vary depending on the type of pipe(s) you’re hauling. For example, use a forklift for long, heavy pipes, and use a crane for large, bulky pipes.
  • Unload the pipes slowly and carefully: Don’t rush this process, or you may risk damage to the pipes or injury to personnel.
  • Have the right PPE: Ensure the safety of workers through Personal Protective Equipment by using safety glasses, gloves, and hard hats.

Some additional tips for unloading pipes safely include:

  • Inspect the pipes: Always check for any damage in pipes or straps that could affect unloading.
  • Check the load: Make sure there are no loose straps or chains that pose a danger to unloading efforts. 
  • Awareness and preparation: Be aware of other people and vehicles in the area, and be prepared to stop if necessary.

Practicing caution can be the difference between dropping off your payload without incident and causing a potentially damaging accident.

Professional Pipe Transport Services: Heavy Haul and Oversized

Proper pipe transport techniques and safety measures are important to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of pipes. At Heavy Haul and Oversized, we offer a variety of shipping services tailored to hauling large items such as pipes. 

These include:

If you’ve been looking into pipe hauling companies, Heavy Haul and Oversized is the perfect choice to handle your pipe payload. Give us a call at 866-902-2713 or complete a quote request form to learn more about our services and to get a quote today!

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