What are abnormal loads for transportation purposes?

Many of you will have seen the lorries on the motorway bearing the sign ‘abnormal load,’ but (apart from the obvious) do you know what it actually is? This blog post will provide a little more explanation.

By definition, an abnormal load applies to any vehicle transporting goods where any of the following applies:

– It is over 44,000kg in weight.

– The width is more than 2.9 metres.

– The ‘rigid length’ is more than 18.65 meters.

– The weight relative to the ‘axle load’ (10,000kg or more for a single non driving axle, or, 11,500kg for a single driving axle.)

Transporting an abnormal load is not as simple as putting a parcel in a van. There is a regulatory and legislative process associated with it, because of the ‘oversized’ nature of the goods being transported.

Moving abnormal loads requires disclosure to authorities such as the police, highways agencies and owners of fixed structures (e.g. Network Rail for Railway bridges or level crossings.)

Time limits also must be considered. Generally, as soon as you know you will be applying to move an abnormal load then you should seek consent. It simply cannot be arranged overnight. Most people, companies or organisations who regularly move abnormal loads are aware of something called ESDAL (Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads.) This allows users to plan routes that their abnormal load journey will take, notify the relevant authorities as required by the regulations and the facility can give foresight of any issues or problems which might arise on the journey. If ESDAL is not used, then someone must fill out an abnormal loads movement application form.

Many Abnormal loads require an escort on the journey. The purpose of this is to guide them through the journey. It also serves as a safety feature to alert other road users that an oversized vehicle is on the road. In certain cases (known as “Special Orders”) the transporting of abnormal loads will require a police escort to complete the journey.

Transporting Abnormal loads can get complicated, especially when travelling through different areas / regions, or across different types of roads (e.g. moving from motorway to minor roads.) Therefore planning is essential as alluded to already.

Some people blur the difference between freight and abnormal loads. Simply put, freight is not usually an abnormal load although there can be vast quantities of freight making it a large overall total. Another difference is the role courier or delivery companies can play. Abnormal loads cannot be transported by couriers because they usually require specialist vehicles and equipment. Freight on the other hand can and this is why we offer a freight service at Rock Solid Deliveries.

To talk to us about your freight requirements, or any of our other delivery services, contact Adrian now by emailing or calling. We look forward to hearing from you!


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