Lesson 5: Trucking Services - Specialized Services

Large tires are being transported on their side on a flat deck trailer. An oversized load banner hangs from the back of the trailer.

Many types of freight are non standard, and this is where specialized modes of transportation and specialized equipment come into the equation. Though there are many types of specialized and niche services, we'll cover a few here.



These shipments are typically over 55,000 LBS (or over the applicable regional weight restriction) and need special equipment built for overweight shipping. For example, overweight shipments can sometimes be moved by quad axle flatbeds, which can move 88,000 LBS of cargo in certain cases.



These shipments will not fit in or on 53' long or 8.9' wide trailers, and require specialized equipment, specialized permitting, or both. Many will also require escort vehicles with special lights and markings to indicate to other motorists that an oversized load is near. Extendable trailers can also be used to accommodate the shipments over 53' in length.

A truck and trailer waiting to be loaded with their oversized load.


Project Freight

Certain construction projects or events that may require a combination of special services over a period of time are typically referred to as project freight. For example, shipping multiple pieces of wind turbines out to a location for assembly could be considered project freight. As another example, the construction of a new high-rise condominium in the core of downtown that requires multiple oversized and overweight I-beams could also be considered project freight.


White Glove / Delicate

A combination of project freight and driver assist, with the goods typically being delicate or requiring extra care when handling, and delivery into a specific location. This often includes things like expensive medical equipment or art, and are often to higher security locations such as government offices, museums, and more.


Hazmat or Dangerous Goods

Drivers are specifically trained based on a UN code or MSDS information sheets for these shipments. Additionally, trucks moving Hazmat class goods are required to have place cards on them that match the hazmat goods they are hauling.


Liftgate or Tailgate

This service is commonly used for delivery of LTL freight to retail storefronts or other businesses without dock-level facilities. A liftgate would be required at these locations in order to move product (potentially full standard pallets) down to ground level. This service is usually used in combination with driver assist since the driver will be using the liftgate to help load and unload the trailer. E-commerce will also use this for larger home deliveries.

A collage, the left images showcases Wellington Motor Freight helping to move a helicopter, and the right image showcases a Wellington Supply Chain straight truck utilizing it's liftgate that is lowered all the way to the ground.


Driver Assist

Most commonly used alongside liftgate, but could also be any physical assistance required of the driver with loading or unloading beyond using a liftgate. Normal truckload deliveries with a dock do not require a driver to assist in any way.


Driver Team

Drivers are governed by hours of service regulations and mandated breaks for safety reasons, and this means that shipments will stop for rest multiple times on longer journeys. Having two drivers helps shipments move faster since drivers can rotate and continue nonstop. For some high-value shipments, this helps mitigate the risk of theft as well.



Any method of moving a shipment faster. This could be air shipments, team truck services, sprinter van services, etc. The medical and e-commerce industry are two of the biggest expedited users, but these days everyone wants their shipments faster. Expediting is becoming the new norm.


Product Specific Equipment

This can include auto haulers, tankers, live bottom trailers, and more. Product-specific equipment is used to service a specific industry only. For example, tankers move bulk liquids and live bottom trailers are ideal for deliveries being dropped directly on the ground.

A Wellington Motor Freight rolltite is being loaded with large spools of industrial material as part of a larger project. The driver is assisting with the product being loaded.


If a shipper requires a specialized service, these may be considered an assessorial on their cost or the quote may have been built custom and include everything in advance. It will depend on if the specialized service is in addition to an otherwise normal FTL move, or if it is a specialized project entirely. Regardless, in most cases, the more specialized the work, the more the shipper can expect to pay.

It is also worth noting that not all carriers or brokers have a full understanding of specialized freight, and many will interact with one or a few types of specialized movements, but not all. Some may rarely interact with specialized freight at all and are unfamiliar with required permitting and legalities. On the other hand, some trucking companies handle many specialized projects and have better knowledge, resources, and equipment to coordinate complex shipments including cross-border ones. If a shipper is in need of help with specialized freight, it would be a good idea to inquire about past experience with similar specialized projects of the company they are interested in partnering with. Due diligence is key when it comes to specialized freight needs.


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