As we march into the 21st century, one might say that technology will ever continue fabricating new methods of making the world and everything in it smaller. Yet anyone who knows the unembellished reality of modern-day logistics will tell you products don’t always come in bite-sized containers, and most equipment doesn’t fit in the large ones either. What happens when what you’re making is bigger than what they make to move it? While the avenues one could take to ship large object (or perhaps a high volume of smaller ones) number many, the most approachable is likely Flatbed Shipping.
All flatbed trucks share the commonality of a level platform lacking walls and roofing. The only typical variety is the option between the sort with a rigid body and those with detachable, articulated cargo components. The obvious advantage is the freedom of proportion; any sized object with basilar dimensions not much larger than the area of the flatbed could feasibly be loaded. The loading of the truck itself is also generally an easier task since it could potentially be performed with a crane. Of course, the drawback of this design is that the shipment must be able to protect itself from the environment.
Flatbed shipping is also not without its limitations, namely its legal restrictions. Once the shipment has grown past the size of the truck, it is constrained by the size of the road the truck travels on. The safe area is generally considered to be 8’6” in width and in height. Anything past these dimensions will almost definitely fall into the domain of over-dimensional loads, or what are commonly known as “Wide loads” or sometimes Heavy Hauls. For this reason, it is particularly important to be very specific in communicated the exact dimensions of the shipment to the potential logistics company. They know precisely what their equipment can and cannot legally handle. The specificity of the proportions remains critical even when there is room to spare, since that room may be filled by a partial load from a different customer. Once the truck arrives, the sender is always liable for ensuring the cargo equal to or smaller than the appropriated space that was agreed upon when the contract was made. Overages will most often result in expensive fees and delays.
As always, carefully weigh your transit options against each other giving considerations to cost, availability, and the limitations of the option. Flatbed shipping will be most appropriate when you need to ship some that:
- is large,
- needs to be loaded by crane,
- construction equipment,
- building or infrastructure components and high volumes of stackable and well-packaged products.
Keep in mind that the shipping requirements are often something considered in product design and should undoubtedly be considered in yours if you are the responsible party. When in question, it may be best to contact the shipping company directly and request their assessment of whether you will require flatbed shipping.