Skip to main content

OD & Heavy Haul Transport

Transporting large over-dimensional cargo is no small feat — it requires in-depth knowledge and expertise. OD Transport, also known as over-dimensional transport, allows you to move large objects across distances. An experienced heavy haul transport company will not only have the experience to effectively deliver your large cargo but also have the tools and relationships to make everything go more smoothly.

Heavy haul transport includes everything that is larger than usual, such as oversized cargo, wide loads, and large pieces of machinery. Heavy-haul loads are overweight and sometimes abnormally shaped. Over-dimensional transport can also include conventionally sized loads that are overweight due to the material being transported.

Transporting big and overweight cargo requires skilled, competent, and legally authorized operators and businesses. Top heavy haul transport companies are aware of what is permitted and how to follow all laws and regulations. Lifting power lines, clearing barriers out of the way, using escorts, designating special routes, or all of the above may be required for transporting large cargo. Heavy hauling transport operators must be adept at handling the intricate planning and permission procedures involved in the specialized shipping business, as well as driving the trucks and trailers that move the heavy goods.

Murphy offers heavy haul services to help you transport any size load that the road can handle. We have experienced transportation professionals as well as a range of flatbed carriers and trailers. These include tri-axle, tilt-bed, and multi-level trailers to get your oversized loads to their destination safely and efficiently.

  • Any size that the road can handle
  • Tri-Axle, Tilt-bed, Multi-level trailers
  • Permit, Routing, and Escorts
  • Member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
Heavy Haul Transport

What Makes it Heavy Haul Transport

Heavy loads are those that exceed the regulatory restriction for the majority of roads. State-by-state variations in the definition of a large load include anything wider than 8.6 feet, taller than 13.6 feet, length than 53 feet, or weighing more than 80,000 pounds gross.

Heavy-duty mining or military equipment, airplane parts, wind turbine blades, and other items can all be transported by heavy-haul truck drivers using step-deck or drop-deck vehicles. There are various sorts of specialist trailers and trucks that can be used to transport heavy loads. Some have a removable gooseneck and resemble a standard tractor-trailer (also known as an RGN trailer). Others arrive in various pieces, with motorized pusher wheels at the very back, or in various articulated trailer sections.

One of the factors for determining if a load is oversized is axles. The axles decide your legal load capacity whether your heavy haul trucking trailer is a flat deck, step-deck, or double-drop. Depending on the kind and quantity of axles, the type of route, and other factors. Federal and state legislation establishes weight restrictions for oversized loads. Because you can haul greater weight by adding axles, heavy-hauling equipment is available with 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, and 20 axle configurations. The weight that an axle may support legally depends on its location, how many are close together, and its function. All of this goes into professional OD transport, and as a proven heavy haul transport company, Murphy Rigging understands how to ensure things are done properly.

Top Considerations for OD Transport

It is safe to say that transportation and rigging safety is the most important aspect of any over-dimensional transport project. While there are many other considerations for any heavy haul transport project, there are a few others that are perhaps the most important to consider.

Heavy Haul Transport Costs

The rules governing the transportation of oversized freight in OD transport are not always the same. In fact, it’s common for the regulations affecting your load to change more than once during a single voyage. As a result, in order to maximize your budget, you must have a clear understanding of how the size of your goods affects transportation costs. For example, a single additional inch in the cargo’s height, width, or length might result in an increase of thousands of dollars in the freight rate.

The formal definition of oversized products is when their total loaded dimensions surpass 8 feet 6 inches in width, 13 feet 6 inches in height, and a weight exceeding 80,000 pounds. That being said, the cost of obtaining licenses can vary significantly between different states and even municipalities.

A few key factors to consider include;

  • Extra charges for over dimensional transport loads
  • Permit acquisitions
  • Fuel costs
  • Escort and safety services

Working closely with a reputable transportation company like Murphy Rigging and our business partner Murphy Logistics is essential to avoid being caught off guard by pricey permits and “super load” categorization.

Route and Timing

When it comes to heavy haul transportation, route and timing go hand in hand. This is because the timing requirements will influence what routes are even available. When there are no time constraints, the safest and most efficient route may be selected. When time is of the essence a more direct, albeit more expensive route may be required. An established heavy haul transport company will understand this and be able to provide guidance on the best route and plan for your delivery.

Comprehensive route planning based on data that must be gathered at the state, county, and municipal levels is required to move your OD transport and freight efficiently. These agreements must be made well before a shipment is scheduled to load, unlike a standard shipment, which can be moved with as little as 24 hours’ notice.

Some of the top route and timing considerations include;

Oversized permits

Budgeting enough time for permit acquisition—which can take up to a week or more—is fundamental for OD transportation, even if the length of this process varies depending on the locations/roads your freight travels and the complexity of your load.

Travel curfews

Certain places have unique restrictions or curfews preventing routine OD transport activities. Some of the most common include;

  • High commuter restrictions – avoiding OD transport loads in the presence of commuter traffic
  • Nighttime-only restrictions – restricting OD travel to overnight hours only
  • Daytime-only restrictions – restricting OD travel to daytime hours only
  • Holiday restrictions – restricting OD travel during holidays
  • Weather-related restrictions – restrictions that create travel challenges including harsh weather like strong winds, slippery roads, and below-freezing conditions)
  • Road construction restrictions – unpredictable traffic pattern changes or road closures

Route due diligence

Though you may not have accounted for them in advance, certain things like route surveys, bridge inspections, and communication with authorities can hamper your plans. Due diligence is required to address these issues.

Local resources

Some or all portions of your heavy haul transport route may require calling upon local resources to ensure safety and adherence to rules, laws, and regulations. Some examples of this may be;

  • Securing a police escort
  • Lining up pilot car services
  • Seeking engineering consultation
  • Consulting with utility companies 

These can not only keep you safe and in line with all requirements but can also prevent accidents such as damage to infrastructure or utilities.


Regardless of the amount of freight a truck is hauling, seasonal weather fluctuations have an impact on how well they travel. When extreme weather conditions like strong winds, winter storms, and slippery roadways appear, both standard and OD transport loads are subject to safety hazards.

The movement of oversized freight is often the first to be affected when these situations occur and weather patterns make things harder.

Even in the best of circumstances, safety is a problem due to the sheer scale of heavy haul transport projects. Companies commonly witness supply chains halt unnecessarily if they fail to recognize this and arrange for seasonal weather changes. Fortunately, Murphy works with you to be as prepared as possible for these unforeseen challenges.

OD Transport Project Size

Companies that are used to delivering standard-sized freight frequently run into problems when transporting OD products because of the complexity of OD transport projects. Knowing what to watch out for is practically impossible without the benefit of experience. As a result, many businesses neglect to account for the height restrictions they may encounter at each stage of this procedure.

Some businesses experience physical spacing challenges with their loads in the front and back end of the heavy haul transportation process. Even when it is too late, the project can be derailed if these considerations are not taken into account. An illustration of this may be when the total size of your shipment is greater than the height of the doors at your destination. To account for the increased dimensions a trailer will add to your shipment, keep in mind that the truck or trailer alone can add 12 to 60 inches, depending on the equipment used.

Another thing to think about is width. There’s a chance that the roads, overpasses, doorways, and yard gates where you pick up or drop off your load are too small. You also might not have enough space to unload at the delivery location. Fortunately, the Murphy Rigging team also offers experienced heavy machinery installation and general rigging services to help you safely unload and even install your large equipment once it reaches the new location.  

During the engineering/development stage of your OD transport project, reputable heavy haul transportation firms like Murphy Rigging make certain to conduct thorough route measurements and engage specialists and authorities as needed.

Plan Your Next Heavy Haul Transport Project

Murphy Rigging is a heavy haul transport company comprised of veterans in the OD transport industry. We have worked with countless businesses to ensure the successful delivery of goods, machinery, and equipment. We have seen it all, so we know how to prepare you for the unexpected, while also planning for every contingency possible. In the end, your safe and successful heavy-haul transportation results are what get us up every day. Reach out to our team to learn more about how you can get started with your OD transport project.