Traditional freight consists of pretty much what can fit in a traditional trailer.
Anything else beyond this falls into the status of specialized freight. This type of freight is a pretty broad definition and includes everything from livestock to fragile electronics. It can include hazardous chemicals, and it can include a collection of vehicles that might be too big or unusually-shaped to fit in a basic trailer, such as car haulers.
Hauling specialized freight usually requires additional liability as well as different driving skills. It may even require different types of vehicles, such as a flatbed, a dry van, or a reinforced trailer that can support the extra weight. Customized coverings may be handy to secure large loads.
Carriers also might even need groups of similar vehicles if there’s a large load of a particular item to move, such as multiple pieces of equipment for oil and gas machinery. There also may be additional safety regulations and equipment required for hazardous or oversized loads.
Some freight companies offer specialized freight options as part of their options. Others focus only on specialty freight services, showing potential customers and brokers that they’re experts in accommodating all types of out-of-the-ordinary shipments.
Specialized freight regulations
Because specialized freight services can require additional paperwork to be done properly and safely, federal and state regulations and definitions have been developed.
According to the North American Industry Classification System, examples of special freight items include forest products (timber); dry bulk items; bulk liquids; used household and office goods; and general freight that isn’t used goods.
Current rules generally focus on long-distance specialized freight – there are different rules for local specialized freight at the local level, which can include garbage hauling. If garbage needs to be transported an unusually long distance, such as to an out-of-state landfill or recycling center, then it would be considered specialized freight trucking under current rules.
Specialized freight carriers should be aware of other modifications from traditional freight options. For example, traditional trailer haulers are required to stop for extended breaks for safety reasons.
However, if someone is hauling live cargo such as animals, or something especially valuable or hazardous, they may not be able to take the full time for these required safety stops. The freight company may provide other options, such as multiple drivers so they can switch off.
How to transport specialized freight
Companies or individuals wondering how to move unusual items – everything from a customized motorcycle to temperature-controlled items that require refrigeration — can inquire with different companies about their specialized services and request a quote.
Freight companies that offer these types of services, like Tri-State Motor Transit, should be familiar with many of the different ways to safely and legally handle these materials, including what types of vehicles will be optimal to best transport them. For instance, a refrigerated trailer might be the best for something that needs to stay cool until it reaches its destination.
Potential customers can also ask questions about the hauling process — if the freight company will simply take their item to its destination or provide ‘white glove’ service to get everything unloaded and unpacked.