For hauliers looking to maximise profits and keep a finger on the pulse of a healthy bottom line, diversity is king. While regular, well-paying clients are the Holy Grail, giving yourself extra opportunities to take on a job or return load is an important part in staying profitable. One way of doing that is to ensure you have the skills, capacity and knowledge to transport what are deemed as “abnormal loads”.
It’s not simply a matter of painting a banner on your lorry saying, “We deliver anything, anytime, anyplace”, because some goods require not only special capacity, but are also highly regulated – meaning you may need special training or licences to carry them.
If you’ve got the first part of the equation covered, and your vehicle is capable of transporting abnormal freight, you’re already one up on many other hauliers. You may well be able to gain some lucrative contracts, remembering to bear in mind that in order to maximise profits you would need to be able to take on a return load of equal value. But before you start counting the pounds and reprinting your business cards, it pays to recap just what you need to consider first. Understanding What Constitutes Non-standard Goods
There is strict governmental legislation in place that determines whichgoods fall outside the standard realms. Having any or multiple of the following features means there are rules and regulations imposed concerning who can and can’t transport them.
• Being wider than 2.9m • Weighing in excess of 44,000kg • Being of longer rigid length than 18.65m • A ratio of goods to axle load in excess of 1,500kg for a single driving axle and over 10,000kg for a single non-driving axle.
Responsibilities of the Haulier
If the goods you’re contracted to move fall under the above guidelines, it is your responsibility to notify the appropriate authorities,so it’s very important you’re aware of the specific regulations. (Remember, this includes the original job and any return load you may be contracted to carry.) Your first point of reference should always be the official UK government website, to familiarise yourself with the required paperwork and get pertinent information regarding the transportation of non-standard goods.
There you can also register for the ESDAL system (Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads), to facilitate the notification process and to plot your route. Notification includes police as well as bridge and highways authorities, who all need to be aware of all your planned movements.(Be aware that you need to allow up to three working days for your ESDAL registration to be processed.)
Finally, it’s important that you sign up to alerts to keep you abreast of any potential traffic or road works issues that might affect your movement along the planned route. Getting and Staying on the Move
Once you’ve gone through all the processes of registration, make sure you save your information so you won’t have to go through it all again next time. While the first time can certainly be a little time consuming, once you’ve got the hang of the system and regulations, it gets a lot easier and the effort is well worth it. Being able to take on a job or return load of abnormal goods will allow you to make some very good money and set you apart from the crowd of other hauliers. Don’t be normal, be outstanding!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and return loadjobs with available drivers. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.