What is heavy haulage?

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If you had to describe the last 250 years in one word, ‘progress’ would most likely be a good fit. From the industrial revolution to the invention of the internet, we’ve constantly outdone ourselves by creating bigger and better things in all areas of life.

Our buildings have reached new heights, our products have reached worldwide customers, and our businesses have grown to match the ever-changing economic landscape. Yet, with all of these giant operations running daily around the globe, there needs to be a concrete logistical plan in place to find success – getting things from A to B is still something you need to plan properly, no matter how large your business is.

With this in mind, if you’re running a large-scale operation that depends upon moving your product in bulk, you’ll be requiring the services of a heavy haulage company. Focusing specifically on heavy, bulk and abnormal load transport, a heavy haulage company is a crucial component to any company wanting to expand its horizons.

However, you may still be wondering: what exactly is heavy haulage and how can it benefit your business? Well, we at SG Haulage have put together this handy guide to show you how much the UK and the rest of the world relies on heavy haulage companies.

What exactly is heavy haulage?

The haulage sector holds a very specific yet essential place within the goods transportation industry and needs to be properly understood to comprehend its benefits. Unlike a courier service which will focus on transporting single items such as packages and letters, a haulage company is focused on the big-ticket items. This can include anything from parts of large-scale machinery to bulk products being transported to market, making haulage one of the most vital components to nearly any big operation running in the UK today.

However, although this gives you an overview of heavy haulage, there are actually multiple categories within the industry. Categories 2 and 3 are the most commonly used and cover a majority of products up to a certain weight. The vehicles within these categories are only allowed to drive at 40mph on the road and 35mph on the dual carriageway.

There are, of course, logistical challenges that need to be overcome when transporting heavy-duty products and components. Any haulage vehicles with loads exceeding 78 tonnes will need to give notice to the Highway and Bridge Authorities two days prior to their journey, this is the same for any loads that exceed 147 tonnes, with five days notice needs to be given.

However, despite the rules and regulations put in place to keep our roads safe, haulage remains the best way to transport bulk and heavy-duty goods. Also, a quality haulage will have all of these bases covered, meaning you as the customer won’t have to worry.

A quick history of road haulage

Here in the UK, the haulage sector has a surprisingly long and storied history spanning back to the industrial revolution. With the invention of steam, it became increasingly easy to transport multiple goods further, and the creation of the ‘steam wagon’ meant that goods could be easily transported from the factory to the railway station.

Of course, as innovations gave us the internal combustion engine and an increased reliance on vehicles, UK haulage began to benefit from a boom. Between 1903 to 1924, the sector grew by over 300%, helping to sustain the country’s growing GDP up until World War II.

During WWII, haulage played a huge part in the war effort, transporting goods and materials to where they were needed most. However, it wasn’t until after 1945 that the industry really came into its stride.With the boom of the personal vehicle during the 50s and the move away from the railway system, the UK Government put more of its efforts on road infrastructure and road safety regulations primarily focused on haulage safety. This lead to over 600,000 lorries on the road by 1960.

From then on, things have come on leaps and bounds for the industry as the global market has opened up. 89% of all land goods transported in the UK are be moved via road and the industry is a multi-billion pound sector.

What are the benefits?

As you can see, the haulage sector has been a hugely important factor in UK trade and transportation, and continues to be to this day. However, you may still be wondering exactly how a haulage company can help your business.

Beneficial to a range of industries

When it comes down to it, if you’re a business that requires a large amount of products to be moved, you’re going to need a haulage company. You may believe that large-scale industries such as the agricultural and food sectors are the only ones that would benefit, yet, you’d be surprised as to how a haulage company can help your operation.

Variety of loads

Of course, not every heavy-duty load is going to be a shipment of boxed goods and many loads can be different shapes or consistencies. A quality haulage company, however, will be able to expertly handle abnormal load transport and will move a range of products and materials no matter what size or shape they may be.

This can be especially useful for companies looking to transport plant machinery or large components essential for the job.


Although the act of transporting goods may seem relatively simple, there is actually a huge amount of logistical planning that is required for heavy haulage. Whether it’s liaising with the Highway and Bridge Authorities or collecting all of the paperwork required for European and international travel, the haulage sector is extremely complex.

Luckily, a quality haulage company will have the logistics covered, meaning you won’t have to deal with the nitty gritty of the industry. All the paperwork needed to legally travel in the UK will already be in place and international haulage companies will have the correct customs documents to ensure smooth travel throughout the EU.

What to look for in a haulage company

Of course, although a haulage company can offer businesses huge advantages when it comes to transporting their large-scale items, you’ll want to ensure that you’re working with a company you can trust.

To begin with, the best thing to start with is to source a quote from a few different firms. In doing this, you’re creating a picture of the local market, allowing you to cut out any haulage companies that seem to be charging too much or too little.

Next, it’s important that your chosen haulage firm understands your requirements to the letter. If your customers aren’t receiving your goods promptly, you could end up losing business, which is why it’s essential that you and your haulage company are on the same page.

Finally, reputation goes a long way in the haulage industry and the truly successful players are the ones with a proven track record in excellent service. Do a bit of digging online or ask around to try and get a better picture of a haulage firm’s prestige.

From heavy cargo to abnormal loads, SG Haulage has you covered

Let’s face it, the haulage sector keeps Britain’s commercial and industrial sectors as immensely successful as they are. If you’re looking to take the next step with your business or are in need of specialist help to move your goods, then look no further than SG Haulage.

We’ve been offering our industry-leading haulage and crane hire services throughout the UK for over 25 years, cementing ourselves as key players in the haulage sector. We understand how important your cargo is to you, which is why our fully insured and trained operatives will ensure your goods arrive safely and efficiently to their destination.

Whether you’re looking to transport your goods across the UK or across international borders, SG Haulage has you covered. For more information on our range of services, visit our website or get in touch with our team on 01522 702 443.