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Large loads

Within international road freight transport not only trucks with standard trailers run on roads and highways but often there are also special giant trucks with cargoes that a usual truck is not able to transport.

These are large cargoes and they are divided into:
a) cargo with extra large dimensions
b) heavy cargo

Large cargo transport is a transport within which the cargo exceeds by the law determined dimensions. It means that at least one of the following dimensions is exceeded:

Heavy cargo transport - the weight is the main parameter. We can use this term when the total weight of the truck and trailer exceeds 40 tonnes or 8 tonnes per one axle. Not everyone can carry out this type of transport.

A company that want to focus on large cargo needs to have excellent knowledge of local conditions, roads, and legislation and it must have practical experience and technical equipment because this is non-standard transport. It is necessary to take into account the safety of all traffic participants and to not damage the road or traffic signs and other equipment placed along the road (billboards, telecommunication and electricity cables, etc.).

In some cases preparation of large shipments takes several weeks or even months. The first step after receiving an order is to select suitable technical equipment. A company uses its own vehicles or subcontractors. The next step involves the preparation of a route or several routes that are suitable for such specific transport, which also means an inspection of the selected route and precisely prepared photo documentation.

Then the company addresses other subjects participating in this kind of transport. These may be telecommunications and energy companies the cables of which are situated above the road and present obstacles to the transport. Sometimes it happens that it is necessary to suspend the supply of electricity and cut the cables. Specialized companies working under the supervision of the road administrator are called to remove and re-install traffic signs.

Of course, we cannot forget about escort cars, the deployment of which is obligatory when it comes to the transport of larger cargoes. These are procured either by the company itself, or the company addresses a specialized company licensed to escort extra large and heavy cargoes.

The determined route has to be approved by the relevant authorities. The acquisition of all permits takes several weeks. The most important parameter that the road administration authority pays attention to is the load that bridges are able to bear. If the transport involves an extreme weight and there is no other route available, a bridge must be supported by special supports to prevent its collapsing due to the transport of a large cargo. Bridges are regularly inspected and measured because their bearing capacity decreases as a result of their use.

Height may represent another problem. The clearance under bridges over highways reaches 5 to 5.2 m maximum. In the case of new structures the clearance may amount to 5.5 m but some underpasses are only 4.7 m high. Therefore a transport company dealing with large cargoes must look for a route without such barriers.

Sometimes event width may be a problem. Lanes of 3rd class roads are 2.5 m wide, 1st and 2nd class roads and highways have 3 m wide lanes. But if, for instance, the cargo is 8.5 wide, they must remove all traffic signs and crash barriers along the road and bridges.

Such transport requires police assistance. Some parts must be totally closed by the police because the truck cannot stop in order to let other cars pass by. Therefore the number of escort cars must be determined precisely so that there are enough to block all access roads. The speed of the truck is limited as well – in case of transport of larger cargoes it may reach 30 km per hour maximum.

The client often does not know at all what the transport of large cargoes means. Weeks of planning, removal of various traffic signs, installation of supports for bridges, tens of kilometres driven to establish the situation... It often happens that the distance between the place of loading and the place of unloading is only 100 km but the most suitable route is 300 km long. The client´s idea of the price for the transport may greatly differ from the actual price. Up to two thirds of the price are spent in order to obtain all the approvals and permits.

In case of extremely large cargoes it is necessary to determine also a precise time when transport may take place and usually it is during the night when traffic is not so dense. But in such cases it also means higher rates for the staff – night hours are charged at different rates.

If the client wishes so, we are able to ensure also this kind of transport through our partners.

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