Abnormal truck and trailer transport
Transporting abnormal loads like earth moving equipment, mobile cranes and other equipment across borders from South Africa into the rest of Africa is a crucial aspect of the continent’s infrastructure development and construction industry. The main points of delivery are Mining operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. Most equipment is arriving by ship, docking in Durban harbour or Richards bay port.
Given the size and weight of these heavy machines, specialized trailers are utilized to ensure safe and efficient cross-border transportation. Crossing borders in Africa come with many unique challenges that transport companies are all too familiar with but clients, and in particular foreign clients from Europe or the USA may not be accustomed to. Notwithstanding these challenges, the transport logistics industry does what is required to deliver abnormal loads safely to the various destinations.
When does a load become an abnormal load (Typical 50 Ton step deck trailer)
The legal dimensions are:
Length: 18 500mm (this includes any projection)
Height: 4300mm (loaded)
Wheelbase: 10 000mm
Legal axle masses are:
Weight on front/steering axle: 7700kg or manufacturers rating
Mass on Group drive axles: 18000kg
Mass on Group trailer axles: 24000kg
Gross combined mass: 56000kg
Types of Abnormal Load Trailers for abnormal loads Transport
Lowbed trailers, also known as low-loader trailers, are widely used for transporting abnormal loads and heavy earth moving equipment across borders. They are characterized by their low platform, which allows for easy loading and unloading of tall and oversized equipment. The carrying capacity of lowbed trailers can range from 40 to 150 tons, making them suitable for moving various types of machinery. The heaviest carrying capacity abnormal load trailer in our fleet is 75 tons.
Flatbed trailers are another popular choice for transporting smaller earth moving equipment or components like steel tanks, generators, spare parts for cranes etc which are not necessarily abnormal loads. They offer a simple and open platform without sides or roof, providing flexibility in loading irregularly shaped equipment. Flatbed trailers typically have carrying capacities ranging from 20 to 40 tons.
Extendable trailers, also known as telescopic trailers, are designed to adjust their length to accommodate different size loads. A good example would be the transport of pipes where up to 20m or longer pipes need to be transported. This versatility makes them suitable for transporting a variety of machinery with varying dimensions. Extendable trailers can carry loads up to 50 tons or more.
Step-deck trailers, or drop-deck trailers, have a lower deck height in the front and a higher deck in the rear. This design allows for easy loading of taller equipment at the rear section while accommodating taller equipment at the front. Step-deck trailers typically have carrying capacities ranging from 20 to 40 tons.
Multi-axle trailers are specialized trailers with several axles designed to distribute the weight of the equipment evenly. They are capable of carrying extremely heavy loads, with some models having carrying capacities exceeding 200 tons. These trailers are essential for transporting large and heavy mining equipment.
Challenges and Considerations
Cross-border abnormal load transportation requires adherence to various regulations and requires permits for each different point of exit or entry. This can vary quite significantly from one African country to another. Transport companies must ensure compliance with relevant customs, transportation, and safety regulations. Delays at border posts can result in excessive standing times which are billable to the customer. While every effort is made to cross the borders as quickly as possible, in certain instances, lengthy standing times can result.
Some regions in Africa may have inadequate road infrastructure, posing challenges for transporting abnormal loads. Transport companies need to assess routes carefully and plan for potential obstacles.
Due to the high value of earth moving equipment, security during transportation is crucial. Escort services and tracking systems are employed to safeguard against theft or unauthorized use. Diesel theft is a common occurrance and political unrest can also be a factor.
Customs and Duties
Importing earth moving equipment or any other abnormal load into different countries may involve customs duties and taxes. Transport companies must be aware of the applicable fees and ensure proper documentation. Oure logistics team are able to manage your permit and documentation requirements but you may also provide the required documentatyion and permits.
Africa is one of the last frontiers for industrial developments and is it continues to develop its infrastructure and construction projects, the efficient transport of mining equipment and other abnormal loads plays a pivotal role in supporting the continent’s growth.