One of the most complex and time-consuming types of shipments is that of heavy haul. If you are unfamiliar with this term, let us shed some light on it for you.
The term "heavy haul" simply refers to the shipment of an item that is larger than normal and requires special equipment, such as a flatbed, to transport it safely. Needless to say, this type of shipment usually involves more complicated processes than a standard load.
However, that doesn't mean that heavy haul shipments have to be frustrating or time-consuming. On the contrary, as with other modes of transportation, following a series of best practices can significantly reduce mistakes, improve service, and ensure that the delivery gets do where it needs to be, and gets there on time.
In this blog post, we will take a look at a few of the most important heavy haul best practices that can benefit any shipment, regardless of size, location, or type of materials involved.
Understand the Hurdles of the Standard Heavy Haul Shipment
The more you know about your opponent, the better the chances you will have for success. The same is true with heavy haul shipping, however, the opponent that shippers must face are not people. The hurdles that exist with this complex mode of transportation is the very methods that must be employed.
A heavy haul shipment has four unique hurdles or individual mandates that impact the shipments ability for efficient transportation. These four hurdles include the gathering of permits, the ability to understand the regulations for special equipment or materials, driver restrictions, and the correct handling of all loading and unloading procedures.
Before you attempt to route or otherwise plan any heavy haul shipment, it is critical that you do your due diligence in these areas. By taking a more proactive approach to understanding the possible situations that may impede your heavy haul shipment, you'll be more than well-equipped for success.
Inquire About Billing
Many people assume that all heavy haul shippers have the same methods of measuring and rating the freight they are transporting. And to an extent, this holds true from a certain point of view.
Depending on the equipment used in the transportation and the route that will be taken, a carrier will estimate each shipment differently. Case in point; let's say for the sake of argument that “company A” is transporting an earthmover that requires a flatbed. They set up their heavy haul shipping through their TMS to be estimated, and then they receive 3 completely different shipping rate quotes.
The main reason why freight estimates can vary significantly with heavy haul is due to the individual carrier’s availability of equipment and the special handling procedures involved.
Therefore, the second best practice for any heavy haul shipment is to inquire about each carrier's billing methodology before agreeing to work with them. In some cases, a carrier will provide an initial estimate that is nowhere near the total of the final bill.
So, before you sign on that dotted line, clarify the carriers billing details first.
Plan the Complete Heavy Haul
When a shipper rates and estimates an LTL shipment, it's usually a simple affair.
This is generally not the case with heavy haul shipping. If there is a delay or other problems, the shipper is the one who is expected to eat the cost.
For this reason, it is important that a heavy haul shipping plan is complete and in place before it ever touches a truck. This plan should include things like the pickup, loading and unloading phase, handling requirements, and obtaining the right permits and licenses.
Of course, every heavy haul is different and each may require other considerations when drafting this initial plan.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Most LTL shipments, parcel shipments, or other small freight movement tasks go off without a hitch. This is usually not the case with heavy haul shipping (are you seeing the pattern here?).
By creating a backup plan, shippers will be better prepared to handle the inevitable. This includes things like a secondary carrier on standby, correctly filled out permits, and a secondary plan for delivery and offloading of the shipment.
When in Doubt – Work with a 3PL
When it comes to heavy haul shipping, sometimes even the best-laid plans just don't work out the way they should. Because of this, many shippers depend on the professionalism and experience of a 3PL. Some of the best 3PL’s have been working with heavy haul carriers and customer for numerous years. They have a thorough understanding of the complexity involved in the movement of large equipment with even larger requirements. After all, the entire purpose of a 3PL is to ensure that all shipping processes run as smoothly as possible.
If you are new to heavy haul shipping, or simply want to avoid the headaches, you need a 3PL. Contact the heavy haul shipping experts here at Redwood Logistics to help you with that. Drop us a line today and let us help you navigate the often confusing world of heavy haul shipping!