Transporting abnormal loads

Transporting Heavy Earth-moving Equipment

Watch the video on: Transporting abnormal loads, like Komatsu yellow equipment is a specialist task.

Eddie Nordeje from ENB Logistics is interviewed on the restrictions, logistics and pitfalls of transporting such large abnormal loads for MMI, Zimbabwe.

As the dealer for Komatsu equipment in Zimbabwe, MMI frequently sells yellow metal equipment to customers.  Once an order has been placed and the machine is ready for transport to Zimbabwe, MMI arranges transportation of the unit from South Africa to Zimbabwe.  Owing to the size and weight of large machines, such as earthmoving equipment, no ordinary truck or transporter is suitable for the job. You need to have a transporter who has the expertise to uplift and safely deliver the machinery out of South Africa into Zimbabwe.

What documentation is needed to transport equipment cross-border?

Transporting earth-moving machinery requires the relevant permits to travel inter-provincially within South Africa, and the correct certifications to enable the truck to cross South African borders into Zimbabwe.

  1. The exporting party is required to supply the transporter with the relevant paperwork to enable them to clear customs out of South Africa.
  2. The customer in Zimbabwe is responsible for the customs costs to clear the equipment into Zimbabwe and, if this is not paid timeously, border crossing officials will probably delay the truck with its load at the border crossing.
  3. Ideally, customers should submit their proof of payment of required fees to MMI before the unit reaches the border, as this enables MMI to include the relevant documents in the special pack supplied to the transporter.

What type of vehicles can move Abnormal Loads of Heavy Equipment?

There are various sizes and designs of trucks that accommodate the different dimensions and weights of machinery for transportation.

For example, a Step Deck Trailer can handle a unit up to 2.6 metres in width, with a maximum weight of 26 tons.  This type of trailer is lower than a traditional flatbed trailer and enables loading and easier transportation of taller machinery.  Any unit bigger than this would require a Low Bed Trailer designed for heavier and larger units.

In addition, abnormal load transportation attracts escorts for the primary vehicle, with load width dictating the number of escorts:

  • Load less than 3.4 metres wide – no escort required.
  • Load over 3.4 metres wide – one transporter escort must be present for the entire journey.
  • Load over 3.8 metres wide – two transporter escorts are employed.
  • Load over 4.2 metres wide – in this instance, two transporter escorts plus two Police escorts must be used.