Logistics reports: What is Over Dimensional Freight?

There are also load per axle limits. However, a load that exceeds the per-axle limits, but not the overall weight limits, is considered overweight. Examples of oversize/overweight loads include construction machines (cranes, front loaders, backhoes, etc.), pre-built homes, containers, construction elements (bridge beams, generators, windmill propellers, rocket stages, industrial equipment).

The legal dimensions and weights vary between countries and regions within a country. A vehicle which exceeds the legal dimensions usually requires a special permit which requires extra fees to be paid in order for the oversize/overweight vehicle to legally travel on the roadways. The permit usually specifies a route the load must follow as well as the dates and times during which the load may travel.

Over dimensional freight is any item that exceeds one or more of the standard legal size criteria for each state and province. While these can vary depending on the jurisdiction, a general guideline for legal parameters is: 53’ long, 8’ 6” wide and 13’ 6” tall (on the trailer). The height limit will vary depending on countries.

Cargo that exceeds any these parameters and is non-reducible in size, is considered oversized or over dimensional and requires a permit before being shipped. Cargo that is taller than 16’ enters a new category called “super status.”

This requires a different type of permit and often a pole car will need to dry run the route before the shipment commences. Super status shipments are complicated and require an experienced driving team.

Process for Shipping Over Dimensional Freight

Usually your transport company must conduct a detailed route survey that takes into account all expected obstacles for a particular shipment. This can be complicated as different countries  have different regulations for transporting oversized items.

For example, some countries may allow travel at night with over dimensional freight, whereas others may require that you park your truck for the evening or weekend. Depending on how disruptive the cargo might be to other vehicles on the load, quite often the truck will not be allowed to travel during peak rush hour times within city limits.

Pilot Cars/ Escort Cars/Pole Car

Depending on the nature of the cargo we may have one or two pilot cars, with a height pole attached to the lead car for cargo that is over height. By running a quarter mile ahead of the truck, the pole car can give ample warning to the truck driver if the pole hits some low hanging power lines or other unforeseen infrastructure.

Over Dimensional Freight

Transporting over dimensional freight requires concentration and experience, drivers must be looking farther ahead down the road than the average vehicle and assessing potential obstacles at all times. It also requires a team of professionals on the road and in the office to successfully deliver the cargo to its destination


In Most East Africa countries Goods or items of up to 25,000kg of oversize cargo will attract a levy of USD 50. Oversize cargo exceeding 25,000kg but less than 50,000kg will be charged  USD 100 and oversized cargo exceeding 50,000kg will be charged  USD 250.

On  dimension-based charges,  cargo exceeding 2.65m maximum of the overall vehicle width projection will be charged USD 50 while cargo exceeding 4.20m maximum overall vehicle height, laden or unladen, measured from the road surface, will be charged USD 100 while .

Cargo exceeding 12.50m maximum overall length of a rigid chassis goods or passenger vehicle shall be charged USD 150. That exceeding 17.40m maximum overall length of articulated vehicle including semi-trailer will be charged USD 200. Those exceeding 22m maximum of the overall length of a combination of motor vehicle and draw-bar trailer or vehicle shall be charged USD 250.


This article first appeared on Procurement & Logistics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s