When shipping freight, you need to know the maximum size of your shipment. This helps ensure that your freight is shipped legally and safely.
The cargo section of a quote request allows for the correct dimensions to be entered. These determine whether your cargo would fit in a passenger plane or in a cargo-only airplane.
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A freight’s length is the distance from the front of one cargo unit to the rear of the last one. It is measured in feet or meters, rounded to the nearest whole number.
For most types of freight, the usable capacity is a function of volume (length times width times height) divided by equipment size. For example, if you have a shipment that is 46’ in length, 8’ in width, and 7’6” in height, then it would be best to ship with an FTL dry van that can hold a maximum payload of 45,000 lbs.
The dimensions of your cargo are a key part of the evaluation process, especially for air shipping. The correct dimensions are entered into the Cargo section of a quote request to determine whether the cargo can fit in a passenger plane or needs to be loaded onto a cargo plane. In addition, rail cars are designed to accommodate different container sizes – for example, 53’ containers on the bottom and 40’ containers on top- to maximize train length for cargo.
If your shipment exceeds 12 feet wide, it will need to be transported on a special permit-required flatbed truck. The width limit was established to accommodate standard highway lanes, which are typically about 10 feet wide. The dimensions of the cab (day or sleeper) and mirrors are considered in the total vehicle width. Many states also require a travel escort for oversized loads to warn the driver of low wires, bridges, traffic jams, and other situations requiring extra caution and vigilance.
Most LTL freight trucks have wells designed to accommodate 40′ and 45′ containers, maximizing the container volume-to-train length ratio. However, depending on the manufacturer’s design, some wells may be capable of holding 53′ containers.
When preparing a quote for air shipping, it is important to provide accurate cargo dimensions in the Cargo section. This will help Flexport accurately evaluate the cost of your shipment. The correct dimensions will determine whether your cargo would fit in a passenger plane or if you need to use a dedicated cargo-only aircraft. In addition, load restrictions are usually based on an axle weight basis. If the shipment does not exceed the weight limit, adjusting its dimensions may be enough to avoid the need for additional equipment or permits.
If you’re looking to transport freight in an airplane, the dimensions of your load will determine whether it can be transported in a passenger plane or in a cargo-only plane (called a “freighter”). During the quote process, you can enter the exact dimensions of your cargo in the Cargo section. This is essential for accurate quotes and to avoid any overage charges that can occur when your shipment’s cargo exceeds the acceptable dimensions.
For trucking, maximum freight size varies by country and truck type. The legal maximum width in the US is 8 1/2 feet for semi-trucks. A flatbed truck can be wider but must have one or two pilot vehicles in front and behind to travel on highways. This is because if a vehicle is over 8 1/2 feet wide, it is considered an oversized load and requires special permits to travel on highways.
The legal height of a truck depends on the state and the road type. For example, California has unique height restrictions on some state routes. In general, the maximum height of a tractor-trailer combination is 13 1/2 feet when including the height of the cab. Many tractors, both sleeper and day cabs, reach this height while less standard trailers, like reefer and flatbed trailers, can be lower.
As a general rule, most trucks can carry up to 45,000 lbs. of freight. However, this is based on a perfect load with no empty space. This is why it’s important to have accurate measurements of your cargo and to use a freight volume calculator to evaluate the amount of weight you can expect to ship.
When it comes to air freight, the cargo height is much more limited than on the ground. Different maximum dimensions for cargo can be loaded into different types of airplanes, and these limits depend on the size of the aircraft. To get an idea of the maximum dimensions that can be shipped in an airplane, you can check with the airline that will be carrying your cargo. You can also find out by calling the airline directly or using online resources.
For freight transporters, weight and dimensions are the main factors that determine whether a shipment is classified as freight. That’s why precise cargo measurements are important – not just for the accuracy of your shipping charges but also to ensure that your freight can fit on the truck or container.
If you have irregularly shaped items, measure them as if they were standard rectangular boxes. Use a tape measure to find out the height, length, and width in inches, and then multiply those measurements by each other (h x w x l) to get the cubic size.
Then, convert that measurement to weight by multiplying it by the density factor: For domestic shipments, every 192 cubic inches equals one pound; for international shipments, every 166 cubic inches or 367 cubic meters equals 166.7 kilograms.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most carriers look at the space your package takes up rather than its actual weight when determining pricing fees. This is called dimensional weight or dim weight, and it’s often higher than your parcel’s true weight. You can calculate your dim weight by using a freight dimension calculator.
Generally, if your shipment has a dimension of over 150 pounds, most carriers will consider oversized. Oversized shipments may require special permits for truck transportation and may need to be loaded onto a flatbed or other specialized vehicle.
When it comes to trucks, different states or provinces have different rules about what qualifies as a heavy load. Typically, this includes anything that exceeds the maximum truck weight limit, but it can also include the dimensions of your shipment. For example, in the United States, a wide load is any cargo that’s wider than 8 feet.
Having accurate measurements for your freight is important, but so is knowing how to properly stack it. For example, if you have two containers of different sizes on a railroad car, knowing which container is higher is crucial so that the bottom one doesn’t hit the roof and create a potential safety hazard.