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International Forwarding Association Blog » Specialized transportation » Oversized Cargo Transportation Challenges That Forwarders Face

Oversized Cargo Transportation Challenges That Forwarders Face

Transporting oversized cargo presents a diverse set of challenges that require comprehensive planning. These challenges encompass damage risk during transit, regulatory and compliance issues, pricing complications, and the need for customized logistics solutions.


Damage during Transit

The irregular size and weight of oversized cargo make it susceptible to damage during loading, unloading, and transit. Delicate machinery, in particular, may suffer structural harm or internal damage if not properly handled.

To mitigate these risks, freight forwarders employ a variety of risk management strategies. For instance, they may conduct thorough cargo inspections before and after transportation. Here, they can use advanced technologies like ultrasound or thermal imaging to detect any hidden defects or damages. Additionally, to safeguard cargo integrity, they might invest in specialized packaging solutions such as impact-resistant crates or vibration-dampening materials. Lastly, ground forwarders often engage in cargo load testing to identify any potential stability or security issues. This includes subjecting oversized items to simulated transport conditions such as shaking, tilting, and exposure to different weather scenarios.


Regulatory and Compliance Issues

Navigating the regulatory landscape is another significant challenge. Large cargo often requires special permits, including oversized/overweight vehicle permits for delivery to the airport. Additionally, there are stringent safety standards for loading and unloading oversized cargo that ground forwarders must strictly adhere to. These include guidelines for the appropriate use of loading ramps and special platforms to maintain stability. Cargo must be secured with locks, straps, and braces on these structures to prevent any movement that could lead to accidents. The angle of the ramps is also regulated to provide a gradual incline and reduce the risk of cargo sliding or tipping. The alignment with the aircraft’s cargo bay is also meticulously checked for a seamless transition. And to ensure aircraft stability, ground forwarders are responsible for positioning the cargo within the aircraft’s hold in a way that it maintains balance during flight and complies with center of gravity requirements.


Pricing Complications

The transportation of oversized cargo is inherently more expensive due to specialized handling and equipment, including custom-built loading ramps and reinforced storage facilities for large industrial machinery. Furthermore, when utilizing large aircraft such as the Antonov An-225 from airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle, forwarders incur additional expenses. These calculations include higher fuel consumption due to the cargo’s weight and dimensions, special route clearances, and escort services for ground transportation.


Customized Solutions

The uniqueness of oversized cargo shipments requires customized logistics solutions and detailed coordination. For instance, when transporting a large aircraft engine, freight forwarders might need to design a specialized cradle to ensure the stability of the engine during transit. The transportation of large marine equipment, like undersea cables, also requires bespoke solutions. In such cases, forwarders might develop specialized spooling mechanisms so that these cables are safely loaded and unloaded. And in cases like transporting oversized art installations, forwarders may collaborate with engineers to construct bespoke protective casings. These casings not only fit irregular sizes but also include environmental controls like temperature and humidity regulation to preserve sensitive artworks.