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.
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.
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.
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.