Shipment sizes play an important role in the trucking industry, both from a pricing and a planning standpoint. For those freight shipments that are large in size and weight, there are special rules and regulations that trucking carriers must follow when on the road. These cargo shipments are called over-dimensional freight, which is also called O-D in the industry. The factors that go into over-dimensional freight include the cargo’s length, width, height, weight and the overhang on the vehicle.
What are the exact definitions for an over-dimensional freight on a truck? The truth is that all depends on the state. Each state has different laws regarding this very matter (and sometimes it might vary per county, city and route sometimes).
Oversized and heavy haul shipments typically require special permits in each state, because the limits vary in each state. For example, in Pennsylvania the limits are 150’ for freight length, 16’ for width and 15’ for height. In Kansas, the length limit is 126’ for length, 16’6” for width and 17’ for height. In California, the length limit is 136’, 17’ for width and 17’ for height. And in regards to weight, it depends on the truck. An 8-axle truck in Kansas must not exceed 150,000 pounds and that same truck in California must not exceed 181,000 pounds. Thus, numerous permits will be needed for over-dimensional shipments across states.
These permits exist so that each state can bring in additional revenue. The trucking companies pay each state for the permits. And this cost gets passed onto the freight forwarder and then the shipper in the form of increased trucking rates.