Specialized Transportation: Everything You Have To Know


When I think about specialized transportation, I get to think about the myriad ways that have been developed for load transportation. Even the conventional load transportation with Class 8 truck requires a high level of coordination, experience as well as organization. On the other hand, the specialized transportation is way more complex.

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Thereupon, I have dedicated this article to revealing all details about specialized transportation; you will have the chance to read everything that you have to know about each type of specialized transportation.

As the backbone of U.S. economy, the trucking industry is helping many other industries. Still, there are some combinations that the trucking industry is making in order to keep all customers satisfied, those combinations include the use of ships and railroads.

So, start reading this article and find out everything that you need to know about specialized transportation!

What Is Specialized Transportation

Specialized transportation is way more beyond just a simple process of load transportation. In fact, specialized transportation is more like a business philosophy, a philosophy that more and more trucking companies are implementing these days.

By implementing new types of specialized transportation, trucking companies meet bigger challenges, but as well that way they are attracting new loyal customers.  A successful trucking company is the one that is always flexible, and ready to provide every type of specialized transportation to their existing, and their potential clients.

When speaking about specialized transportation, I would like to put the attention more on truck drivers. Truck drivers that want to start a career as a specialized trucker will have to know that besides obtaining Class A CDL drivers license, they will also have to obtain adequate endorsements. The type of endorsement that the truck driver will have to obtain, depends on the type of specialized transportation that he wants to join.

Source: www.aggman.com
Source: www.aggman.com

Henceforth, specialized trucking is attracting more truck drivers than the conventional type of trucking is, because with the specialized trucking they get the chance to earn more money.

But still,  not every truck driver can fit in the specialized transportation. Being a truck driver for any kind of specialized transportation requires a lot of experience, continual training, as well as education.

That is why many trucking companies before the selection period, that is to say before hiring the new truck driver for a particular type of specialized transportation, are giving them test period. During this test period, truck drivers that want to start a different trucking career have the chance to show their abilities.

So, now let’s turn the focus on the types of specialized transportation!

Types Of Specialized Transportation

At the very beginnings, the trucking industry was witnessing only two types of load transportation, which were the flatbed and dry van means of transportation. But as the time was going by, new inventions and implementation of new technologies allowed the development and manufacturing of specialized trucks and trailers.

To be sincere, these days if a trucking company wants to be ranked among the best it has to provide a wide choice of services for their clients. The trucking industry is serving almost all other industries in the USA, starting from the food industry up to the construction industry.

So, all these industries have different requests and needs. In that direction, the best that trucking companies can do is to get a diverse fleet of trucks, trailers, and experienced truck drivers.

Source: www.techcrunch.com
Source: www.techcrunch.com

Thereupon, the most frequently used specialized transportation methods in USA are the following ones:

  • Flatbed and drop deck;
  • Dry bulk;
  • Car transportation;
  • Hazmat transportation;
  • Load combination vehicles;

In this day and age, if you find yourself in the position of a customer that has large, heavy, and odd shaped loads, then you won’t have to worry about anything. You can simply search for one of the best nationwide trucking companies, and by doing so you will find out which company can be the perfect fit for you. All best nationwide trucking companies are equipped to handle the needs of their customers.

Since I’m speaking about the process of finding the best specialized trucking company, I would like to add up a simple advice for all of you out there who are looking for one: Always look and pay attention to details, for time-efficient and accurate delivery service.

1. Car Transportation

Car transportation or car shipping, has seen its beginning since car manufacturing took place. Thereupon, car manufacturers were in need of transporting their cars, from state to state, that is when the trucking companies saw the light at the end of the tunnel and began making a lot of money.

Did you know that car transportation is, in fact, one of the most dedicated types of trucking, which can bring you big profit?

Well, nowadays trucking companies are making more money than before.

Speaking of car haulers, I must mention that they are just a small part of the trucking industry, but still they are growing and reaching the market.

Source: www.mattsmoving.com
Source: www.mattsmoving.com

Hence, three of the most successful driven car transportation trucking companies in the USA, are the following:

  1. United Road;
  2. Jack Cooper Transport Inc.;
  3. Cassens Transport Co.;

What made these car transportation trucking companies successful, is the quality services that they are offering to their clients. The core of every top ranked car transportation company are their drivers.

In order for a car-hauler driver to operate in a safe and time-efficient manner, he has to be comfortable with technology, as well he shall have spatial skills, and last but not least, he shall be the agile climber.

Yet, one more thing that car-hauler drivers must have is a diplomacy which they might have the need of in exceptional circumstances.


Furthermore, the advanced technology and the reliable cloud-based IT capabilities, have also contributed in a great measure to the success of car transportation trucking companies these days. The advanced technology that car-hauling drivers are using allows their customers to know virtually what is the exact location of their cars.

Moreover, there are two types of car transportation services that the trucking companies are offering, and those services are:

  1. Door to door- simplifies the auto transport process;
  2. Terminal to terminal- with this kind of service you will achieve significant savings;

Also, besides choosing the type of services, whether you want it to be door to door, or terminal to terminal, you can also choose whether you want your cars to be transported with open, or enclosed trailer.

2. Dry Bulk Transportation

If you’ve been wondering how the dry materials, such as are the flour, sugar, or cement get to their final destination, then you should know that is done with the help of the dry bulk transportation.

Later on, since dry materials come in large quantities, this has been found as one of the best means of transportation.

Source: www.opwglobal.com
Source: www.opwglobal.com

Dry bulk trailers are providing safe load transportation thanks to the materials that it has been manufactured with- aluminum and steel. In general dry bulk trailer are capable of transporting loads that are from 560 up to 3100 cubic feet. Not only that dry bulk trailers can handle large amounts of loads, they can also handle different kind of materials that include:

  • Sugar, Grains, Flour;
  • Dry chemicals;
  • Cement, Lime, Grains;

Therefore, if you’ve been asking yourself whether dry bulk trailers are allowed to transport hazardous materials, then you should know that the answer to your question is negative. The freight that dry bulks are transporting is in general not hazardous.

Source: www.greshamtransfer.com
Source: www.greshamtransfer.com

Thereupon, dry bulk transportation is expanding in a great measure, because these trailers allow safe transportation, but also because these trailers allow fast loading and fast unloading.

Did you know that dry bulk transportation is inter-connected with the food industry? Of course, it is. Dry bulk trailers are engaged in the transportation of sugar, grains, flour, and so on.

3. Load Combination Vehicles: Double or Triple Trailer Transportation

Since there are a lot of loads that have to be transported we can witness that more and more trucking companies have started with the implementation of load combination vehicles. In general, trucking companies are using double or triple trailers.

Thereupon, double and triple trailers at the same time can contribute to saving money and time. If you are considering to buy some of these load combination vehicles, then you shall know that you are going in the right direction. And why is that so? Well, because load combination vehicles will allow you to save money and at the same time serve your customers more efficiently.

Moreover, trucking companies are mostly using load combination vehicles when their truckers have to transport larger amounts of loads on a long distance. Still, one thing you should know, double and triple trailers do require a special permit to drive. That is so because these long vehicle combinations can increase the risk of accidents on the road.

Source: www.riglogistics.com
Source: www.riglogistics.com

On the other hand, if you are a truck driver and you want to change the direction of your career and start driving double or triple trailers, then, first of all, you should know that besides the regular Class A CDL license, you will also have to obtain certain endorsements.

Hence, there are several types of double trailers:

  1. Rocky Mountain Double Truck:
  2. Turnpike Double Truck
  3. Second Version of Turnpike Double Truck

Above all, double and triple trailers not only that are more difficult for driving because of their weight, but for the same reason, these trucks are considered as dangerous because of their excessive size.

Source: www.pinterest.com
Source: www.pinterest.com

Speaking of the rules and regulations that double and triple trailers must meet, I must mention that also among all 48 states only 13 of them are allowing their movement on their highways.  Those 13 states are Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Nevada.

Thereupon, most of the states have set the max length of double and triple trailers to be 105 feet.

4. Overweight and Oversized Load Transportation

Every now and there, you will come to encounter on the highways specialized trucks that are transporting overweight, or that is to say over-sized loads. First of all, what you should know about these trucks, is that there are strict controls when it comes to the weight and the axle loads of these vehicles.

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In order for a wide road network safety to be achieved, each state has managed to set rules and regulations that the truck drivers that are driving this kind of trucks must follow and respect.

Altogether with the rules and regulations, that oversize load trucks must obtain before they get on the road, is an over-dimension permit.

Source: www.cpcs.ca
Source: www.cpcs.ca

Yet, one more thing that you should know about over-dimension vehicles is that there are two types of loads that they are transporting:

  1. Indivisible loads – that is to say the loads that cannot be divided into more sections so that it can be transported;
  2. Divisible loads – this category includes the transportation of loads that can be divided into separate units;

So, when over-dimensional vehicle driver must transport both indivisible, or divisible loads first he must get over-dimension permit. That over-dimension permit  must meet the correct dimension limits, there are different permits for indivisible and divisible loads.

Source: www.mhglb.com
Source: www.mhglb.com

Now, you must be wondering which are the requirements that over-dimensional vehicles must comply with. Thereupon, the over-dimensional permit includes pre-travel route checks, special rules about vehicle lighting, as well as emergency service notifications.

Furthermore, what every truck driver that is operating with an over-dimensional vehicle must take few important things into consideration before starting with the route.

Those few important things include a well-designed route because over-dimensional vehicles cannot fit every road (since there are cables, banners, lawful construction), also you will have to avoid operating such vehicle at night.

In addition, this type of trucking has a lot of restrictions; these restrictions do not allow oversize vehicles to operate when there is a heavy rain, or a fog (that is to say a visibility that is less that 350metres).

5. Hazmat Transportation

Since 1975 the hazmat transportation has been and is still regulated by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act- HMTA. In fact it is a principal federal law that regulates the hazmat transportation, and sets strict rules that each trucking company that is transporting this type of loads must comply with.

This federal law was issued because if any slight error happens, or if an accident takes place, it can lead to life risks, property damages, as well as environmental disasters.

The United States Secretary of Transportation is the department that is responsible for the regulations for hazmat load transportation.  Thereupon, the illegal dumping of hazmat loads is highly prohibited, as well truck drivers shall pay attention not to spill the loads.

Source: www.danielstraining.com
Source: www.danielstraining.com

We all know that in the last decade the trucking industry has expanded a lot, but how many of you actually know how many shipments of hazardous materials are hauled on a daily basis?

I do believe that you will be amazed when I tell you that in fact trucking companies in the USA are transporting more than 500.000 hazardous  shipments every single day.

What will amaze you even more, is that around 50% of those loads are in fact corrosive and flammable, which gives you a crystal clear picture of the reason why there are so many rules, regulations, and requirements for hazmat transportation.

Of course, the biggest responsibility lays in the approach of trucking companies, or more precisely in the approach, experience, and training of truck drivers. Trucking companies are aware of the fact that the truck drivers that they are hiring must have the adequate abilities altogether with a Class A CDL and the needed hazmat endorsements.

Source: www.danielstraining.com
Source: www.danielstraining.com

So, when a customers wants to hire a trucking company for transportation of hazmat loads, they are in general looking for:

  • Insurance;
  • Safety;
  • Licensing;
  • On-time delivery;

These points are of a great importance, because the hazmat carriers are required to meet stricter criteria when it comes to safety, then let’s say the conventional load carriers. All the safety rules are being regulated by OSHA. OSHA as the main federal agency is responsible for over-the-road operation.

So, all of you hazmat carriers that are out there, please comply with the rules and regulations that apply to hazardous load transportation, and keep everyone on the road safe and sound!

6. Livestock Transportation

Unlike before, livestock nowadays is mostly transported by trucks. The trucking industry in the past decades has developed specialized trailers that allow safe transportation of animals, which is commonly known as cattle transportation.

These days all people that are part of the trucking industry can proudly say that thanks to livestock transportation development they have managed to create interconnected road system, in remote as well as in local areas.

Later on, the most important factor that contributes in a great measure to the animal safety during transportation, is picking the right size and design of the trailer. The trailer must be suitable, that is to say, compatible with the number of animals that need to be transported.

Source: www.pinterest.com
Source: www.pinterest.com

Livestock transportation is more complex than it might seem at first sight. Still, the hardest part of the job goes to truck drivers, they have to care about the animals that they are transporting. Truck drivers should bring the animals to the final destination without any injury.

Yet, you as a truck driver should be aware that there are different rules and regulations for different types of animals.

For example, if you are assigned to perform transportation of bobby calves then you should know that the trailer should have a solid protection from the wind, also they should be fed in a range of 6 hours.

When it comes to the specification of cattle trailers I must say that have evolved into lightweight triple axle units.

Source: www.hankstruckforum.com
Source: www.hankstruckforum.com

One more thing that I would like to mention is that trucking companies are allowed to transport only healthy animals.

What makes livestock transportation a complex process is due to all the paperwork that truck drivers must fulfill. There are a lot of legal liabilities as well as restrictions that imply to livestock transportation.

On the other hand, if an accident happens the truck driver will have to call a veterinarian straight away.  If we take an overlook on livestock transportation we can notice that experienced truck drivers are the only ones that can contribute to the successful, safe and on-time animal delivery.

7. Container and Intermodal Transportation

The container and intermodal specialized types of load transportation are interconnected. Often these two types of specialized transportation are considered to be a single one.

Let’s make it simple. We all know that container transportation is one of the safest ways of specialized transportation, and that is why it started experiencing fast development. By choosing this type of specialized transportation many customers have forgot what damage and loss of cargo look like.

Container and intermodal specialized transportation besides being one of the safest ways of load transportation, nowadays thanks to the continual developments that have been made, it has become as well the fastest way of load transportation.

Source: www.asc-logistics.ru
Source: www.asc-logistics.ru

If we take a closer look on the overall process of intermodal specialized transportation, we can see that it is comprised of cargo transportation via trucks, ships, as well as via freight trains. Since the intermodal containers are made of steel and have a hard construction, they can handle the whole process of transportation without any damage.

However, the concept of this type of intermodal specialized transportation is not new in the trucking industry. The very beginnings of intermodal transportation saw the light back in the 18th century. This type of specialized transportation has completely revolutionized the load transportation.

Since its very beginnings, USA has started taking intermodal container transportation for serious. These days we can see that intermodal specialized transportation has developed new door to door services. This way there is an easier handling between the modal systems that this specialized transportation is using.

Source: www.bsale.com.au
Source: www.bsale.com.au

Why is intermodal specialized transportation an attractive way of moving goods?

Intermodal transportation is an attractive way of moving goods because of many reasons, one of those reasons is that this specialized transportation type is environmentally friendly.

Nevertheless, if you have a lot of loads that have to be transported to a longer destination point, then without a doubt intermodal and container transportation are the best choice that you can make.

8. Household Good Transportation

Looking for personal moving solutions? If so,  you should pay more attention when reading this sub-heading. Trucking companies have developed a new specialized transportation service, which is the household good transportation because nowadays people in the USA are moving more than ever (due to changing jobs).

So, before you start looking for trucking companies that are providing moving services, first you will have to learn the following things:

  1. When booking a moving truck you should know that the maximum weight allowance is 18.000 pounds;
  2. Second of all, you should keep in mind that the weight tickets are required;

Now that you know these facts, you can start looking for the perfect trucking company.

Source: www.prnewswire.com
Source: www.prnewswire.com

Thereupon, trucking companies have set special offers for the customers that are looking forward to moving. Most moving trucking companies developed a variety of services that can meet the demands of local moves; this category comprises family homes, dorms, condos, apartments and so on.

More precisely the process of household good moving includes high protection of your belongings. That is to say, the trucking companies are protecting the goods by wrapping it for free, and not only that many trucking companies have included unwrapping in their package price.

Source: www.lifehacker.com
Source: www.lifehacker.com

Hence, trucking companies that provide household good transportation are providing many overwhelming aspects of the process of moving, one of those aspects is the truck rental option that they are providing.

Since there are people that are moving household goods on long distances, the best choice that they can make is to rent a truck.   The positive thing about renting trucks is that the longer period that the customer rents a truck the cheaper it will be. You can rent a truck for a day, week, or a month.

So if you are looking for moving trucking companies, you can find out more by reading our article: 10 Best Moving Truck Rental Companies.

9. Oilfield Trucking

In general oilfield trucking is the last part of oil transportation process. The reason why this specialized transportation is not that developed in comparison to other types of specialized trucking is because it is the most limited option to transport oil.

The process of oil transportation is not easy at all, it includes various transportation as well as storage technologies. When speaking about oilfield specialized transportation many people think of it as a midstream.  Oil transportation requires various technologies and means of transportation because oil is produced in remote locations, far away from where it should be consumed.

Souce: www.torqenergy.com
Souce: www.torqenergy.com

When it comes to oilfield transportation, tanker trucks can be used both for first leg of crude deliveries, as well as for the final touch, that is to say for transportation of refined oil to their final destination where it should be consumed.

Oil specialized transportation via trucks has both pros and cons. Let’s start with the positive impact that tanker trucks have in the oil industry. As I mentioned before, tanker trucks can transport crude as well as oil.

Most frequently oil industry is asking for help from the trucking industry when other forms of oil transportation are not available.

On the negative side, tanker trucks are the least preferred method of oil transportation. Oil specialized transportation is hazardous, it is one of the reasons why trucks are not the most preferred method of transportation.

Oil transportation via truck is not as safe as the other methods are, also it can contribute to air pollution, and many other factors.

Thereupon, the safest and most economical type of oil transportation is via pipeline. Still, in the USA there is a shortage of pipeline capacity and that is why there is need of tanker truck implementation.  Moreover, in the last years, we can witness that oilfield specialized transportation has increased by 38%.

Source: www.sretransport.com
Source: www.sretransport.com

Tanker trucks, just like rail cars, are able to perform transportation of various forms of petroleum. Class 8 trucks, or more precisely, tanker trucks can deliver fuel straight to the gas station, as well as directly to the customers. Although it might not be the safest way of oil transportation, still it is the most cost effective way of delivering fuel to customers.

10. Flatbed and Drop Deck Trucking

Although flatbed trucking might seem to you as one of the easiest types of trucking, it is not. In fact, flatbed and drop deck trucking are one of the most physically demanding jobs for trucks drivers.

Moreover, flatbed trucking is also one of the most developed and one of the fastest growing sectors in the trucking industry. Starting from the smallest load, up to the most demanding one flatbed and drop deck trailers can transport it all.

If you want to learn what are the benefits and drawbacks of flatbed and drop deck trucking, continue reading, this sub-heading will reveal you all.

Source: www.apsheavyduty.com
Source: www.apsheavyduty.com

Versatility and variety of trailer types are just the main reasons why this specialized transportation is developing so fast. The flatbed trailer as well as the drop deck trailer, are designed to be open. Its design has made the loading easier for truckers.

Yet, one more reason why this specialized transportation is more and more present is due to its capacity to transport any kind of loads. Flatbeds can transport much bigger loads that other conventional trailers can.

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Hey! I'm George J.Magoci and I will send you a FREE eBook where you can learn 12 secret steps how to make $950 more truck/month.

Nowadays trucking companies have equipped their fleets with all different types of trailers. For example, if a customer requests a heavy equipment transportation, then, in that case, an adequate trailer would be the removable goose-neck trailer. Also, the step deck trailer is the perfect option for the transportation of heavy and in-conventional loads.

In addition, the step deck trailer has a special pattern for the transportation of tall cargo. This type of flatbed trailer can transport loads that are  10′ 2” high.

Source: www.fontainetrailer.com
Source: www.fontainetrailer.com

Many trucking companies have faced customers that do not want to accept flatbed transportation for their loads because they are not so sure about the safety. But those people are so wrong. Although the flatbed trailer is open, it doesn’t mean that it is not safe; before the transportation process starts truckers tie down the loads with chains or straps that prevent any sliding, or flying off the trailer.

Flatbed and drop-deck trailers are offering an option of covering the loads with tarps, all that with the purpose to protect them from the weather conditions.

So, although flatbed trucking is the oldest and the most conventional way of load transportation it is still the best pick of transportation by most customers, because it is one of the cheapest too.

Yet, it all depends on the needs that the customer might have. But when we summarize all things we can see that flatbed and drop deck trucking are providing load safety in the same amount that the other types of specialized transportation are providing.


All in all, I hope that this article will help your way, whether you are looking forward to transporting loads, or you are looking to increase your fleet by buying specialized trailers.

However, if you own a trucking company and now you want to enlarge your fleet by implementing some of the specialized types of transportation, then you should take into consideration that besides that you will also have to get ready for providing training for the truck drivers that are going to operate with those trucks and trailers.

On the other hand, if you are a truck driver and you want to turn a new page in your trucking career, then you should make a detailed research, and find out which type of transportation would fit you the best.

Yet, if you are in the third category, that is to say, if you are on the customer side, then  you shall take all these  facts and figures into consideration, because they will be of your great help on your way of finding the perfect specialized trucking company, the one that will meet your needs.

Later on, if you have any experience with some of these types of specialized transportation that I have explained in this article, please feel free to share it with us in the comment box below.