Lumber Transport Services

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Atlantic Project Cargo recognizes the critical role lumber plays in the success of your construction operations. Our extensive experience and comprehensive services ensure that your materials, such as lumber, receive the best care, regardless of size. Our team can haul raw materials using our vast network and knowledge of laws, regulations, and permits.

HOW IS LUMBER USED?

Lumber, a naturally renewable resource, is vital in various construction applications. Manufacturers use it to build homes, furniture, and infrastructure such as bridges, rail tiles, pilings, and much more – due to its strength, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Also, lumber is crucial in other industries, such as manufacturing paper, creating decorative items, musical instruments, and specialized sports equipment. Its wide range of applications underlines its importance in our everyday lives.

VARIOUS TYPES OF LUMBER

  • Softwood Lumber: Generally sourced from coniferous trees like pine, cedar, and spruce, and it is typically used for construction;
  • Hardwood Lumber: Durable hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and walnut, help create furniture and flooring;
  • Plywood is created by gluing thin layers of wood veneers;
  • Particle Board: Another engineered wood, that comes from wood chips, sawmill shavings, or sawdust and has a synthetic resin or other suitable binders;
  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a high-grade composite material that often performs better than solid wood;
  • Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is engineered lumber similar to particle board. It’s formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands in specific orientations;
  • Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is made by bonding thin wood veneers in a large billet. It is also engineered wood with consistent strength characteristics.

MOVING LUMBER ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Hauling lumber across the US is a logistical hurdle, requiring the right transportation and careful adherence to regulations. The method chosen depends heavily on the size and quantity, as well as budget and urgency.

For smaller shipments or shorter distances, standard flatbed trucks are often the go-to option. These vehicles can handle various lengths and offer easy loading and unloading.

For larger quantities or longer journeys, there are trailers specifically designed for lumber transport. These include maxi trailers for longer pieces and center beam railcars for maximum efficiency and stability.

Regulations play a crucial role in ensuring safe and compliant transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs weight limits, vehicle safety standards, and driver qualification for trucks carrying lumber. Additionally, each state may have its own specific regulations regarding weight permits and oversized load restrictions.

Here are some key regulations to remember:

  • Weight limits
    The gross weight of a truck and its cargo cannot exceed 80.000 lbs. on interstate highways;
  • Width limits
    Standard trucks are limited to 8.5 feet wide, but wider loads require special permits;
  • Length limits
    Most states have a maximum length limit of 53 feet for trucks and trailers, but longer lumber requires special escorts or permits. 

 

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING OF LUMBER

Shipping lumber across international borders adds a whole new layer of complexity to the already complicated process. The broad distances, diverse regulations, and unique challenges of ocean and air travel demand careful planning and specialized transportation.

Ocean freight remains the dominant mode for large-scale international shipments. Container ships offer a cost-effective solution for transporting significant quantities of lumber. Standardized containers simplify loading, unloading, and multimodal transfers. For particularly bulky or oddly shaped lumber, open-top containers or flat-rack containers provide more flexibility.

Air freight becomes an option for smaller shipments or time-sensitive deliveries. While more expensive than ocean freight, air cargo planes can expedite lumber deliveries across continents, making them ideal for niche markets or urgent projects.

The International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC) ISPM 15 standard is paramount, mandating that all wood packaging materials must be treated (fumigated or heat-treated) to eliminate invasive pests and diseases. Each country has its own import regulations regarding specific wood species or certifications.

Read more about cargo fumigation in our article “What Is Cargo Fumigation?”

FACTORS AFFECTING THE COST OF LUMBER SHIPPING

The final price tag depends on a complex interplay of several factors, making it crucial for businesses and individuals to understand what drives the cost.

Transportation Mode

  • Distance
    The farther the distance, the higher the cost.
  • Mode of transport
    Truck transport is typically the most expensive per mile for long distances, while ocean freight becomes more cost-effective for bulk shipments. Air freight is the most expensive option but offers the fastest delivery times.

Lumber Characteristics

  • Species
    Different wood species have varying densities and weights, impacting transportation costs. Heavier hardwoods like mahogany will cost more to ship, than lighter softwoods like pine.
  • Dimensions
    The size and shape of the lumber also play a role. Longer or wider pieces require special equipment or permits for transport.
  • Quantity
    Bulk shipments are generally cheaper than smaller shipments.

Regulations and Permits

  • International shipping
    Importing and exporting lumber involves adhering to various regulations and obtaining permits. Phytosanitary certificates, fumigation requirements, and country-specific restrictions can add to the cost. 
  • Oversize and overweight permits
    If the lumber exceeds the standard size or weight limitation, obtaining special permits for road or rail transport can incur additional fees.

Market Conditions

  • Fuel prices
    Periods of high fuel costs can lead to higher shipping rates.
  • Supply and demand
    During peak seasons or periods of high demand, shipping companies may raise their rates.

Additional services

  • Packaging and crating
    For delicate or valuable lumber, special packaging, and crating may be necessary to protect it. 
  • Insurance
    Protecting your shipment against potential damage or loss is essential.

By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions to optimize your costs. Remember, partnering with experienced shipping companies provides valuable expertise and access to competitive rates.