Heavy Haul Transport In Canada: What You Need To Know

The basic ins and outs of heavy haul transport are generally the same in the United States and Canada, with a mix of trailer types—flatbeds, RGNs (removeable goosenecks), enclosed trailers, lowboys, double-decks, car transporters, and others—available to move loads. However, there are some key differences in Canada when it comes to permits; weight, length, and height limits; and other factors.

Fortunately, FR8Star is ready to connect you with vetted transport companies that have extensive experience moving cargo across Canada. Read on to learn more about Canadian heavy haulage and how FR8Star makes it easy to ship farm machinery, construction equipment, trucks, and more.

Hauling All Shapes & Sizes

It’s important to keep in mind that just as states in the U.S. have their own distinct rules and regulations, the same goes for Canadian provinces. There also exceptions to many of these laws. For example, in Alberta, for a load to be considered legal, the truck and trailer combination plus load can’t be longer than 23 meters (75.5 feet), wider than 2.6 m (8.5 ft), or taller than 4.1 m (13.6 ft). And in Ontario, while width and height are the same, the combination can’t be longer than 22.86 m (75 ft), a small but important detail.


Weight is a bit trickier, because the maximum legal weight allowed depends on the number of axles as well as their exact configuration and spacing. For example, in Ontario, a four-axle truck may have a max weight limit of between 28,600 and 38,300 kilograms (63,052 and 84,437 pounds), depending on the front axle’s weight rating and the base length of the vehicle. The more axles there are, the more complicated it can become, so it’s important for the transport company to be familiar with provincial policies.


There are also regulations, exceptions, and restrictions that apply to moving loads on certain days, at specific times of day, during certain seasons, or when there is significant traffic congestion. It’s important to plan your route ahead of time and know which provinces and cities you’ll be passing through to ensure you’re always in compliance with regional and local transport laws.

Permits & Escorts

For oversize/overweight (OS/OW) loads, it may be necessary to get a permit and possibly an escort vehicle or two. There are single trip permits available for one-way hauls, project permits that last up to six months that allow for back-and-forth trips, and superload permits that apply to vehicle and load combinations that are over 120,000 kg (264,555 lbs) in weight, 5 m (16.4 ft) in width, or 45.75 m (150 ft) in length.


However, some transport companies may have annual or enhanced annual permits because they make so many repeat trips with oversize loads. In Ontario, annual permits cover loads of 63,500 kg (139,994 lbs) that are no wider than 3.85 m (12.6 ft), no longer than 25 m (82 ft), and no taller than 4.26 m (14 ft). Enhanced annual permits raise weight and length limits to 78,000 kg (129,994 lbs) and 32 m (105 ft).


Keep in mind that depending on how complex the load is or how intricate the configuration of the truck and trailer combination, it could take days, weeks, or even months to receive a permit. Be sure to leave enough time for paperwork processing, route planning, and more to ensure your load gets where it needs to be safely and on schedule.

Heavy Haul Costs

The cost of heavy haul transport varies widely based on several factors. For example, shipping a compact wheel loader on a flatbed without needing special permits or equipment will be less expensive than shipping a large dozer on a lowboy, which may require an oversize permit and one or more escort vehicles.


Cost also changes along with the ebbs and flows of fuel prices, truck and trailer availability, and other circumstances. Distance is another factor as many transporters calculate cost based on a per-kilometer basis. In the end, you’ll need to supply your chosen transport company with accurate dimensions, pick-up and drop-off locations, and other valuable information to not only ensure a smooth shipment but also know exactly how much it’s going to cost.

Crossing The Border

If your load is being transported from the U.S. to Canada or vice versa, it’s also important to think about what documents you’ll need when it crosses the border, another issue that a transport company on FR8Star can easily address for you. For example, you may need a bill of lading, proof of delivery, and/or certificated of origin no matter which way the load is going. You may also need a Canada Custom Invoice when going from the U.S. to Canada or a commercial invoice when going from Canada to the U.S.

Let FR8Star Help

While you’ll still need to prepare your equipment for transport and gather the necessary information about the load, FR8Star can handle the rest. After you submit your load, you’ll receive free estimates. You can then compare transport companies based on tier ranking, customer ratings and reviews, and more to find the right one for you. FR8Star will connect you with the transporter, and then you can finalize the details and get your load on the road.

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