Everything You Need To Know About Transporting An Abnormal Load

Everything You Need To Know About Transporting An Abnormal Load

So, you work in an industry that transports large, cumbersome loads from A to B.

In most cases, it’s perfectly possible to use vans and lorries to transport such goods – but it depends on the type, size and weight of the consignment in question.

Any long, heavy or wide goods, unable to be split into several loads without undue expense or risk of damage (commonly referred to as abnormal loads), can pose a problem.

If you’re new to the industry, you’re probably wondering what abnormal transport is and how it works, right? Well, you’re in luck.

Here haulage experts, JB Rawcliffe & Sons Ltd, explain everything you need to know about heavy haulage and abnormal loads – including the legislations currently in place, the costs involved, and the perks of enlisting the help of a haulage company.


What is an abnormal load?

According to GOV.UK, an abnormal load is a vehicle that has:

  • a load that weighs more than 44,000kg
  • an axle load of more than 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle (or 11,500kg for a single driving axle)
  • a width of more than 2.9 metres
  • a rigid length of more than 18.65 metres

This includes (but is not limited to) transporting new trains to stations, aircraft to airports, industrial machines to factories, motorhomes to caravan sites, yachts to harbours, and oil tanks to businesses up and down the country.


Who should you contact if you need to transport a wide load?

If you need to transport any type of heavy haulage – either in the UK or internationally – you must notify the authorities.

Make sure you give early warnings to the police, highway authorities and bridge and structure owners, such as Network Rail, as you’ll need to allow time to get the necessary clearances. For instance, a Special Order application form must be completed 10 weeks before the scheduled date.

Highways England’s electronic service delivery for abnormal loads (ESDAL) is a brilliant tool to use. It allows you to plan your route and notify the relevant authorities of your proposed movements, find out about any potential route problems in plenty of time, and save vehicle details and routes for future reference.

Another great thing about ESDAL is it ensures safety for drivers, enabling them to prepare for possible restrictions that may occur along the way.


What is the legislation for moving an abnormal load, and why is it in place?

The legislation that covers the movement of wide loads is the Motor Vehicle (Authorisation of Special Types) General Order 2003, or STGO for short.

The STGO stipulates that hauliers planning on transporting abnormal loads are responsible for informing the highway, bridge and police authorities of their intentions.

Why? Well, pre-notifying bridge owners will allow them to check that the movement of a long, heavy or wide load will not place undue stress on structures being crossed. Plus, the transportation of said loads must not cause a hazard or harm to other road users.


Is a vehicle escort necessary?

The simple answer is it depends on the width, length and weight of the load, the proposed route, and the haulage company.

Generally, loads below 4.12m wide, 30m long and 100t don’t need a vehicle escort on roads.

Loads up to 4.6m wide, 30m long and 130t in weight can be transported on motorways without a police or private escort, although some haulage companies will request one or opt to self-escort – especially if there are mitigating circumstances.

For more guidance, refer to the Highways England voluntary code of practice.


How much does heavy haulage cost?

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to heavy haulage and abnormal load transport is the cost.

Of course, no two haulage companies are the same and their initial quotes and prices will vary, depending on:

  • The size, weight and length of the load – with large, long and unwieldy goods being more expensive to transport than smaller and lighter items.
  • The length of the journey – the further haulage trucks have to travel, the more you’ll pay.
  • The current cost of fuel – heavier items burn more fuel, meaning vehicles will need refuelling more frequently.
  • Any additional services – should you require an escort vehicle or permit, this will add to the overall cost too.

It’s worth noting that abnormal loads will be more expensive than other heavy haulage services, purely because of the dangerous nature of transporting wide loads, and the need to notify the authorities.

To find out how much it will cost you to transport consignments safely and efficiently, contact a couple of haulage companies, preferably those that offer abnormal load transport and have vast experience. Request a quote from each, and make comparisons between their services and pricing.

Here at JB Rawcliffe, we’d be more than happy to discuss your haulage needs in more detail and offer a fair price. Get in touch to find out more.


What are the benefits of hiring a haulage company?

Transporting abnormal loads is never easy and can lead to various potential issues if not executed correctly.

That’s why, when you come to JB Rawcliffe for abnormal load transport and haulage, you can trust that we will assist you with notifying the authorities and keeping proceedings safe. Ensuring your consignments reach their end destination on time and in one piece.

Our haulage specialists have an abundance of experience when it comes to transporting all manner of goods – from expensive equipment to priceless parts and irreplaceable industrial machines. Whatever you need to transport, we can assure you it will be handled with great care and transported using only the most dependable vehicles.

To find out more about our abnormal load transport service, don’t hesitate to call us on 01695 737 880.

JB Rawcliffe & Sons Ltd
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