Need to Transport an Abnormal Load? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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If you are starting out as a construction business, you are in an industry that is concerned with large objects like trains, planes, trams, buses or you are an oil company – it is likely that you will need to transport these heavy items from A to B. However, if you are new to these industries then it is imperative that you find out how to transport heavy haulage, and more specifically, abnormal loads. Read on to find out more.

What is abnormal load haulage

Summarised by GOV.UK, abnormal loads are defined as the following:

  • A load with a weight of more than 44 tonnes
  • An axle load with a weight of more than 10 tonnes for a single non-driving axle and 11.5 tonnes for a single driving axle
  • A width of more than 2.9 metres
  • A rigid length of more than 18.65 metres

This is for companies travelling throughout the UK with abnormal loads, however, these may differ if you are shipping these loads internationally. If your loads adhere to UK rules but not to rules abroad, then you need to obtain an abnormal load trailer keeper’s certificate which you can show at the border.

Abnormal or heavy haulage loads can be anything from the mundane to exciting, like transporting new trains to stations, aircraft to airports, large industrial machines, motorhomes, large yachts and oil tanks. Essentially, if it complies with the regulations above, then it is an abnormal load.

In the past, police have escorted abnormal loads on motorways and through cities. This is to implement traffic controlling methods and to ensure that they are transported safely – especially if the load is potentially dangerous like an oil tank. However, this is no longer required unless specially requested by the company.

Who should you contact for transporting heavy haulage?

It is imperative that you notify the authorities before transporting heavy haulage across the country. This may be to the police, highway authorities, and bridge and structure owners like Network Rail. Make sure to put aside enough time before you transport the heavy haulage. For example, a Special Order Application must be completed 10 weeks before the scheduled date of the move.

What is involved in the ESDAL?

ESDAL or the Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads is a system that is specifically made to help drivers and companies transporting abnormal loads. Through ESDAL, you can be notified about whom to contact before you travel.

However, before you start using this service, you need to register with ESDAL. ESDAL is not only helpful for companies transporting abnormal loads, but also, it is helpful for police officers and owners of bridges or owners of structures on or adjacent to the Highways England Network.

For instance, ESDAL allows you to do the following:

  • Effectively sort, manage, and make decisions when you get notifications about abnormal loads in the area
  • Be aware of abnormal load movements in the area
  • View maps of proposed routes
  • Identify any potential ‘problem structures’ en route
  • Add any constraint information that may create restrictions for hauliers planning to use these routes
  • Build a library of ‘preferred routes’
  • Collaborate online with hauliers and provide feedback

The ESDAL will give you peace of mind about routes and also can allow for communication between yourself, highway authorities and private owners of routes. What’s more, the ESDAL will improve safety in regards to transporting abnormal loads as it can help drivers prepare for any possible restrictions that may occur.

How much does transporting heavy haulage cost

If you are looking to hire a heavy haulage company to help you transport your abnormal load, you need to take into consideration how much it will cost. Of course, each company will differ depending on their initial quote and prices, plus other factors that will affect the price will be length of journey, travelling overseas and the current cost of fuel. Generally speaking, a heavier load is conducive to a pricier heavy haulage quote as transporting heavier items burns more fuel.

Plus, abnormal loads will be more expensive than other heavy haulage costs because of the restrictions and the need to notify the authorities. And, not every heavy haulage company will offer abnormal load haulage as a service. This is why you need to choose a heavy haulage and abnormal load company that have plenty of experience, like us at SG Haulage.

Why you should hire a heavy haulage company

As mentioned above, if you are planning to transport an abnormal load, you need to choose a reputable and professional company to help you. Whether you are transporting parts for festival stadium or you are an oil company that needs to transport kerosene up the country, it is vital that you choose a heavy haulage company who can keep proceedings safe, help you notify the authorities and get items there in a timely manner.


Heavy haulage drivers will know England like the back of its hands – from highways to A roads and country lanes, if you are uncertain about the route you need to take your haulage and abnormal loads, then an experienced driver can help.

Having an experienced heavy haulage company can offer a wealth of benefits. These can include, troubleshooting any potential problems, safely handling your load, navigating the country and assisting you with any concerns you have.


The stringent procedures surrounding the transportation of abnormal loads is due to the fact that these potentially aren’t the safest pieces to transport. Not only can they clog up highways, but their large and cumbersome nature can distract drivers and at times prohibit them from seeing other vehicles on the road. Traffic jams can lead to a host of different problems including frustrated drivers and potential collisions.

Choosing an experienced heavy haulage company to help you transport an abnormal load and guarantee that your loads will be moved safely and efficiently. The drivers will know when it is the best time of day to travel, as well as troubleshooting any potential problems that could create issues with travelling the load. For example, traffic calming methods like fewer lanes, speed limit changes and travelling through residential areas.

Peace of Mind

Transporting abnormal loads is not the easiest, which is why it can lead to a host of potential problems and, as a result, a range of stresses for both yourself and the drivers. This is why you should choose a well and highly trained heavy haulage company. Simply put, despite you wanting to save extra costs, it is not worth the stress, and you can have the assurance that your abnormal load will arrive at its destination efficiently and safely.

SG Haulage, Abnormal Load and Heavy Haulage Company

If you are planning on transporting an abnormal load in and around the East Midlands, then here at SG Haulage we can help. We pride ourselves on offering both a service that is a cut above the rest and fair affordable prices, not putting your business out of pocket. Located in Lincoln, we have experience transporting plant and agricultural machinery, containers, vessels and cabins.

If you are looking for an experienced heavy haulage company, then we fit the bill! Offering 25 years of experience navigating UK roads, transporting haulage of various sizes and satisfying customers across the country, we can handle your haulage needs with professionalism and ease, standing us apart from our competitors.

We aim to be your first choice for the transportation of abnormal loads around Lincoln, Nottingham and Grantham, helping you get your abnormal load across the country and, if needed, internationally. With a 23 strong fleet of vehicles designed to move various cargoes of all shapes and sizes and registered with ESDAL, we can help move gas turbines, modular homes and large yachts. To find out more about our services, simply contact us today.