Special transport

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Special transport or heavy and oversized transportation is a type of transportation that became an active business domain in Europe.

When a load cannot be dismantled into units that can be transported without exceeding the limitations in terms of the dimensions and/or mass, it is classified as an abnormal load. Another definition can be summarised as following: an abnormal indivisible load ('AIL') is one which cannot be divided into two or more loads for transporting (on roads).[1] Also, break bulk is used to define the freight that cannot be loaded into any ocean container or too large for air cargo.

Trucks must have special signs of "convoi exceptionnel" and lights that warn the oversized cargo. The escort car has also special signs, depending the country within it operates.

Special permits are issued by local authorities to allow a transporter to operate on a public road for a limited period and for a certain and given route.[2] These permits can be annual in different European countries like Hungary, Austria, Germany, France etc.

In Romania, if the total dimensions (truck+load) exceed 16.5 by 2.5 by 4 metres (54.1 ft × 8.2 ft × 13.1 ft) × 40 tonnes (39 long tons; 44 short tons) (or if it does not fit into a tilt truck), then a transport is considered out of gauge. A table of maximum dimensions and weight as well as best practices is available for European countries on the following industry resource site.[3] Transporting oversize loads requires, in some cases, escorts and police (for total weight of more than 80 tonnes (79 long tons; 88 short tons) or width over 5 metres (16 ft)). Also, a route survey is mandatory if the height is over 4.5 metres (15 ft).

Romania has an active market for special transporters where, as mentioned above, companies such as Schnell Trans, deal with international transportation projects. Trailers suitable for special loads have different characteristics depending on the number of axles, height from the ground to the platform, extensions or load capacity. Each of these trucks can carry loads such as trams, energy transformers, construction machines, metallic structures or wooden boxes/crates.[4]

Due to its strategic location, there are many Dutch based Special transport companies, but due to the relatively small size of the country, these companies, such as Van der Vlist have often started to spread further afield to increase their market, and take advantage of the freedom of movement offered through the EU.[5] Heavy transport companies tend to focus on Renewables, Civil & Infrastructure, Offshore, Oil & Gas, Heavy Engineering and Power Generation industries such as UK based Collett & Sons Ltd or Dutch company Royal Wagenborg. Other companies across Europe have also collaborated to form the Route To Space Alliance[6] specifically for providing specialist logistics for AIL's in the Aerospace and Astrospace industries.

Any road transport is framed by the CMR Convention[7] which relates to various legal issues concerning transportation of cargo, predominantly by lorries, by road.


  1. ^ "Special Types (STGO) and abnormal loads". Commercialmotor.com. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Abnormal Loads Homepage". Abnormalloads.co.za. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  3. ^ "Best practices for transporting abnormal loads in Europe". Returnloads.net.  ]
  4. ^ "wooden crates | Break bulk". Breakbulks.com. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  5. ^ "Van der Vlist European Offices". 
  6. ^ Grieves, Shell. "Route To Space Alliance". www.route-to-space.eu. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  7. ^ "Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) – (Geneva, 19 May 1956)". Jus.uio.no. Retrieved 2012-03-10.