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Specialized Freight Carriers: Does Your Cargo Need Specialty Transport?

Does your business ship high-value or unique commodities? Then you should be utilizing specialized freight carriers. Transporting goods, like refrigerated foods or wide loads, requires specialty shipping to protect their integrity and your investments.

Standard shipping services aren’t designed for specialty freight, like temperature control and high towing capacity. That’s why it’s crucial to use specialized freight trucking companies with the fleet and equipment to transport your fragile, heavy, and high-value cargo safely.

If your goods can’t be exposed to the outdoor elements during the trip, they can become compromised or ruined with the wrong mode of transport. As a business, it’s imperative to protect your commodities to maintain a positive professional reputation and support the bottom line.

Here’s a guide on specialized freight services to determine which is best for your cargo.

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Understanding Specialized Freight Trucking and When Your Cargo Needs It

Image of heavy construction machinery being hauled off on a flatbed truck

There are multiple types of trucking transport, and specialty cargo transportation is one of them.

Specialized freight trucking accommodates your unique commodity needs, such as expedited shipping, chemical transport, and heavy machinery parts.

Below are the different types of specialized freight services so you can better decide on what your business needs.

Dry Vans

Dry vans are ideal for shipping dry freight, such as plastics, clothing, and non-perishable items, because it isn’t temperature-controlled. However, if you require expedited shipping, dry vans may not be the best option because it’s a slower shipment process than other modes.

Dry vans are typically slower since they’re smaller fleets compared to semi-trucks. They also don’t typically carry time-sensitive materials. If you’re looking for specialized freight carriers for simple dry goods shipments on a standard schedule, this is the most cost-effective option.

Dump Trucks

Also known as dump trailers or dump lorries, these shipment trucks are usually used in the construction industry. Materials like demolition waste, dirt, and sand are practical for dump trucks because they have large tires, which are durable for driving on construction sites.

Expedited Loads

If you need specialty shipping in a hurry, then expedited loads are your best option. This transportation method offers direct routes to accelerate your shipment’s arrival at its needed designated time. Since this transport doesn’t reload its trucks, your freight or commodities can be delivered more quickly if you need a time-sensitive solution.

Flatbed Transportation

Are you transporting oversized or irregularly shaped cargo? Then flatbed specialized trucking should be your shipment option as long as they can withstand exposure to the outdoor elements. Flatbed transportation doesn’t have an enclosure like a dry van.

However, these trucks are designed for easier loading and unloading because of their flat surface. Flatbed trucks are ideal for heavy equipment transport, such as steel, lumber, and pallet freight.

Hazmat Commodities

When shipping hazmat commodities, you must use specialized freight carriers. Flammable materials, explosives, oxidizers, and radioactive materials require cargo tanks and specialty equipment to carry them. These drivers are qualified with specific training in procedures to transport hazmat materials safely and securely per federal regulations.


Transporting a variety of large freight? Consider hoppers for your specialized loads as long as they’re dry bulk commodities. Hoppers are specialized freight trucking because they can discharge cargo from the bottom and sides for onsite deliveries.

Goods, such as corn, rice, sugar, and wheat, can be transported more easily from farms to food processing facilities with hoppers because of its unique fleet design. Builders can also benefit from hoppers with gravel and cement arriving at construction sites directly.

Tanker Transport

As mentioned above, tankers are the safest option for secure and reliable transportation of hazmat commodities, such as chemicals and gases. However, tanker transport is also beneficial for liquids, dry, or bulk goods since you can request time-sensitive specialty shipping.

Temperature-Controlled Transportation

Image of a white Reefer Truck driving down the road

While it may seem obvious that perishable commodities requiring refrigeration need temperature-controlled transportation, there are multiple types to choose from. Specialized cargo, including pharmaceuticals, flowers, and chocolate, need a truck that maintains specific internal temperatures to prevent spoilage.

Here are the different types of temperature-controlled transportation methods available:

Passive Shipping

Passive shipping systems can maintain internal temperatures for a predetermined amount of time. This type of transport anticipates the minimum and maximum temperatures used during shipment. It’s the more cost-effective option as long as your freight can withstand limited temperature regulations for shorter transit times.

Active Shipping

The difference between passive and active specialty shipping is that no qualifications or approvals are required beforehand to maintain a specific internal temperature. These trucks typically feature advanced temperature controls and remain locked during transport. While it’s more costly than passive shipping, active cold chain systems are better suited for longer transit times.

Refrigerated Shipping

Also known as reefs, this type of specialized freight trucking has built-in refrigeration. Its cooling systems keep your cargo at a regulated temperature during transport. Dairy products, meat, fish, and pharmaceuticals can benefit from this shipment method.

Frozen Shipping

This type of specialty cargo transport is straightforward. It’s like refrigerated logistics, except it has frozen temperature-controlled trucks. This fleet has built-in freezer systems to maintain extremely cold regulated temperatures of perishables during transport. Commodities like cooked foods, ice cream, and meat are best for frozen shipping.

Ambient Shipping

Ambient Transportation offers multi-model specialty shipping services. This includes air, road, sea, and warehouse freight shipments. If you require multiple transportation areas and distribution, this combination of import and export services may be warranted to ensure you have an efficient network delivery.

Step-Deck Transportation

Do you plan on shipping tall cargo? Then you should use step-deck transportation to prevent exceeding legal height limits on traditional trailers. Step-deck trucking prevents you from needing certain permits to ship tall freight since they typically sit lower to the ground.

Items such as machinery parts, tractors, and agricultural equipment can benefit from step-deck specialty freight services because it’s also forklift accessible. However, you should always research your area and destination’s vertical clearance regulations beforehand to ensure compliance.

Additional Tips for Contacting a Specialty Service Freight Company

Image of a man smiling while holding a clipboard in front of a transportation truck

Now that you know why high-value cargo transportation is crucial for businesses, here are additional tips when contacting specialized freight carriers. The first step is understanding if you need a freight broker vs. a 3PL logistics company.

A specialized freight broker is a liaison between shippers and carriers. They’re responsible for streamlining communications between them to ensure your shipment process is seamless. If your business needs consistent systematic assistance within the entire logistics process, including packing, delivering, and warehouse management, a freight broker can be beneficial.

A 3PL logistics company is only responsible for your shipping needs. They’re a third-party logistics provider, including freight forwarding, load management, dispatch, and warehouse deliveries.

Additionally, you should also research multiple specialized freight carriers and compare quotes. This helps ensure you get a fair rate and the company is a good fit for your unique cargo needs.

Let Us Take Care of Your Specialty Freight Transportation Needs

At Lone Star Logistics, we provide specialty cargo transportation, including wide loads, heavy loads, escorts, and custom routes to accommodate your unique commodities. As specialized freight carriers, we are dedicated to client satisfaction for all cargo types.

With the technology to track and trace your freight with timely route updates, you’ll always know where your products are.

Fill out a Shipper Request Form to schedule your specialty shipping today!

Have questions on which transportation service is best for your cargo?

Our 24/7 bilingual support team can answer any questions you have. Call 833-562-3722 or email

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