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If you sell or ship bulky or large items, you know how tricky shipping can be. Sifting through different carriers’ size restrictions, rules and various regulations can get confusing and very time consuming. Overlength issues can be common when you’re manufacturing and shipping larger items. But you don’t have to try to figure out overlength issues alone. We’re walking you through common overlength issues and how to handle them, so you can ship efficiently and affordably.

What Is Overlength?

Many shippers get mixed up between overlength freight and oversize freight. While oversize freight accounts for restrictions on width, height, and weight, overlength is only referring to the length of an item. The majority of carriers have an overlength limit of 8 feet (96 inches), meaning if your freight exceeds that amount of length when properly packaged, you’ll need to pay more for it. Other carriers have overlength limitations stretching out to 12 feet (144 inches). Always check with your carrier on their specific overlength limit.

Handling Overlength Issues

Individuals and businesses who ship items such as pipes or lumber will run into overlength scenarios often. One best practice for handling overlength issues is to see if there is any way you could shorten the length of your item. For example, if you are shipping lumber or pipes, shortening the length of your freight by shipping your item in pieces or halves may reduce the potential for an overlength issue. You could also consider cutting the pipe or lumber at any specific lengths needed for your customer. Doing it for them beforehand helps you manage shipping costs and helps your customer out as well, making your customer more likely to continue doing business with you in the future.

Packaging Properly

And just like everything in freight shipping, packaging is a key component. Proper packaging is a must for all freight. Shortening the length of your items can also help you consolidate the shipping of those items, as you can fit a larger bundle of shorter pipes in one package rather than shipping them each at full size and paying the overlength fees each time.

Depending on what you’re shipping, you will need to make sure you have the right packaging materials for your freight. That could include large crates, pallets, shrink wrap and more. You want to make sure your shipment fits on a pallet, shrink-wrapped without any portion overhanging from the sides.

Since items that are considered overlength require additional accommodations on the part of the carrier, overlength is classified as an accessorial and requires that distinction when filling out an LTL quote form. Any incorrect or inaccurate information found on an LTL quote form will impact what your final rate and costs and could also cause a headache-inducing rescheduling process because the truck that comes out isn’t prepared to handle your shipment. Carriers will always weigh, measure, and inspect your shipment before it is shipped using their sophisticated equipment. If there is any discrepancy between what the shipper reports and what the carrier reports, you will receive a billing adjustment. So, accurately packaging, measuring and weighing your freight is key.

Shipping Experts by Your Side

It’s too difficult and time-consuming for a shipper to reach out to multiple carriers and see what their overlength restrictions are. You can do that in a fraction of the time by partnering with a third-party logistics company (3PL) like FreightCenter. With a powerful transportation management system (TMS) centralizing your search for the right carrier and expert shipping agents personalizing your experience every step of the way, you don’t have to get caught up in the complexities of the freight shipping business. And, you can save money with discounted rates available only through FreightCenter.

Need solutions to shipping overlength freight? Start by getting a free quote or give us a call at 844-212-7447 and let our agents help.

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