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Qualities shippers should look for in a heavy/specialized carrier

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Specialized freight is
often unique, high-value and critical to the shipper or consignee operation,
unlike many other commodities. Carriers with a history and reputation of safe,
on-time and claim-free deliveries are the carriers a shipper should consider using
to move their freight. A shipper’s evaluation should include people, processes
and performance.


Driver qualifications
The carrier’s drivers
should be able to demonstrate their experience in handling the specific type of
specialized freight to be hauled. Depending upon the commodity, it can take
years of experience handling increasingly complex types of freight to be
recognized as a skilled and successful heavy haul driver. It takes more than
passing a class or going through a training course to qualify a driver to
transport over-weight and/or over-dimensional loads.

A specialized carrier
should have programs in place to make sure its customers have the benefit of a
process to ensure that only qualified drivers are handling their specialized
commodities. Such a process may require a driver to have experience with
generic flatbed or stepdeck loads before moving up to multi-axle or more
specialized trailers. Landstar, for example, has seen success from its use of a
graduated process allowing its operators to progressively elevate the level of
specialization they are eligible to provide its customers, up to and including
having a long combination vehicle (LCV) certification.

Access to capacity
Another important factor a
shipper should consider when choosing a heavy/specialized carrier is the
carrier’s access to capacity and specialized trailers. Any qualified heavy haul
transportation provider should have access to a wide array of equipment such as
flatbeds, stepdecks, double drops, multi-axles, lowboys, extendable trailers,
and so on. Additionally, all equipment should adhere to the carrier’s
inspection requirements to ensure a safe, compliant and successful transit.
Given their importance, these shipments warrant a level of due diligence of any
provider.

Planning, permitting and securement knowledge
The carrier’s staff, as
well as the drivers, should be knowledgeable of the planning, permitting and
route survey process, as well as each state’s rules and regulations regarding
issues such as weight/dimension limitations, drive-time restrictions and escort
requirements.
Proper securement will vary
based upon commodity, which requires the operator to possess the correct
equipment to secure the cargo effectively while meeting regulatory standards.

Customized transportation solutions
Shippers turn to heavy haul
transportation providers to manage the logistics of their oversized,
specialized freight because these types of loads may require a lot of planning
and coordination that often requires expertise or is too labor intensive for a
shipper to handle on their own.
The “one size fits all”
approach does not work with oversized, overweight or specialized shipments. A
qualified carrier will have the people and a proven process to help a shipper
develop a customized transportation plan fitting the requirements of their
shipment. 
Supplychain Dive.

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