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In the shipping world, “large items” is a broad term. In fact, there is no standard for what qualifies as a large item. Largeness is in the eyes of the shipper. But generally speaking, large items in the shipping and logistics industry mean heavy and oversized freight that may have unique shipping needs. Below, we will discuss how to ship large items in more detail.

What Are You Shipping?

First, you have to figure out if what you’re shipping is considered a large freight item. Shipments that weigh over 150 pounds, are longer than 108 inches or have a combined girth and length of more than 165 inches are considered large freight items.

If you are planning to ship:

  • An ACME anvil to a certain Wiley Coyote.
  • 14 pallets of shrink-wrapped holiday decorations.
  • One 18’ long pipe to some guy named T. Hawk.

Then all of these and more would certainly qualify as large items, but in different, distinctive ways. Shipments that fit the large freight description above can be categorized even further based on different shipping modes, such as LTL, truckload, partial truckload and more. You will have choices to make about the kind of trailer, truck, and space you’ll need to complete your shipment. Let’s take a deeper look at these various freight shipping options for large items.

Less-Than-Truckload Shipping

If you’re looking for a cost-effective mode of transportation for shipping a pallet or two and know you won’t need the whole trailer for it, then less-than-truckload (LTL) will be the perfect fit. Shipping LTL is an excellent choice for shipments over 150 pounds but under 15,000 pounds. Your freight rate will be determined by your shipment’s freight class. Additionally, your shipment will share the truck space with other shippers’ freight, which can help lower your shipping costs.

Full Truckload Shipping

Consider shipping with full truckload if your freight is time-sensitive or if your shipment needs the whole space in the truck due to sheer size and weight. This can be a speedier choice, since all the freight in the truck belongs to one shipper and is headed to a single destination. TL shipping is also the ideal freight designation for shipments requiring refrigeration, climate control, flatbeds or other special accommodation for oversize or overlength freight, which we’ll get into shortly.

Partial Truckload Shipping

Partial truckload shipping is a sort of in-between LTL and TL option for shipping large items—anything from 6 to 18 pallets within the 8,000 pounds to 27,000 pounds range. Partial truckload does not rely on freight class classifications, has competitive rates against LTL and often has quicker delivery times.

Overlength and Oversize Freight Shipping

Some large items require specialized shipping services, such as overlength and oversize freight. Overlength shipments are good for unusually long freight that doesn’t take up much room in the trailer. This can be anywhere from 96 inches to 144 inches (or between 8 feet and 12 feet). Make sure to check with your carrier about their overlength limitations ahead of time.

Additionally, oversize freight can have restrictions, too. Trucks can have limitations on the size of the things they’re able to carry, as well as road restrictions based on an area’s infrastructure and their ability to handle shipping large items. Here are some quick rules for oversize freight:

  • Exceeds 8 ft. 6 in. (2.59 m) in width
  • Exceeds 13 ft. 6 in. (4.11 m) in height
  • 34k lbs. to 80k lbs.; depends on number of axles

Oversize freight needs specific transportation equipment. Ask your freight agent what the best course of action may be for your cargo.

Don’t Break Your Back Shipping Freight

Shipping large items means that you will likely need accessorial services. Make sure you choose the right services to help handle the load. There are several to consider:

First Mile—This service includes anything from dismantling and packaging a piece of freight before it’s moved from point A to point B, to inside pickup, the labor of lifting and carrying it, liftgate, etc.

Final Mile—Final Mile is a service that can include unpacking and item, carrying it where it needs to be, removing packing materials, etc. This can be paired with white glove services.

Liftgate—At pickup and delivery. This service is perfect for large, bulky shipments and shippers with no access to a fork lift or loading dock. This helps get your large item into and off of the truck.

White Glove—If you’re shipping large items like furniture, antiques, or any other valuable items, white glove service would be your best option because you will receive packaging, moving and loading of your cargo as well as inside pickup and delivery.

Understanding accessorials and their importance in the shipping process before filling out a freight quote will help you avoid a surprise billing adjustment after the shipment is delivered and completed. It will also help you secure the most accurate quote estimate. Many shippers often mistake some accessorials as already included services offered by the carriers and don’t request them when filling out a quote or request them later during pickup or delivery. Not understanding what accessorials you need or requesting them too late in the process will result in costly billing adjustments. Consulting with a third-party logistics company (3PL) helps clear any confusion you might have about which accessorials will be necessary for you or not.

Let FreightCenter Help

For over 20 years, we’ve been helping individual shippers and small businesses everywhere ship large items safely, efficiently, and affordably. FreightCenter’s in-house shipping agents will help you determine what vehicle type and services are right for you as well as help you find the best carrier at the best rate. We’re the pros you can rely on to find the right solutions to ship large items. To learn more about the best way to ship your freight, get a free online quote or chat with one of our expert shipping agents at 844-212-7447.

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