Freight Tips and Tricks: Overlength Freight


Next up in our ongoing Freight Tips and Tricks series, we’re talking about overlength freight. Here are the most important things you need to know.

A Change in Overlength Freight Rules

Over the past few years, the freight industry has seen quite a few changes as a result of trying to keep up with increased demand, decreased workers, and the need to move freight more efficiently. One of the most significant changes we have experienced is the change to carriers’ overlength freight rules.

Essentially, carriers wanted to charge shippers for freight that took up more space on the trailer, thus encouraging shippers to package things in crates or pallets as much as possible.

What This Change Means

As a result, the majority of carriers – if not all of them – changed the length cut-off for freight. Prior to this change, the cut-off length varied from 12’ – 20’ depending on the carrier. After the change was made, just about every carrier had a cut-off of 8’.

That means anything shipped via a common carrier that is over 96” in length is considered “overlength” and will incur additional charges. The majority of Acadian’s rolls measure more than 96” in length, increasing freight charges for us across the board.

Even though these changes took place a few years ago, the overlength rules set forth are still in place. It’s important to check a carrier’s rules tariff prior to booking a shipment to make sure you book it correctly and avoid surprise charges.

But, be aware that there is some variance in how each carrier defines overlength and how it gets billed. Some carriers have one fee applied to anything over 8’ and some carriers have incremental fees based upon the length of the freight.

How to Know Whether You’ve Correctly Booked a Shipment with Overlength

Some quoting systems will determine automatically if the shipment is overlength based on the dimensions you input. Others will require you to choose the appropriate charges based on the length of the freight.

Regardless, you must know the dimensions of each item in your shipment. Just because the fabric you ordered is 96” wide doesn’t mean the roll will not be considered overlength. In some cases, the roll itself measures 100” as the core sticks out about 2” on each end.

If you are shipping multiple items, the carrier will determine overlength fees based upon the longest item in the shipment. If your shipment consists of a 72” long roll and a 125” long roll, you will be charged overlength based on the 125” roll.


Don’t know the dimensions of the roll you are shipping or which overlength tier to use? We’re here to help! Simply ask our team or view the roll weights and dimensions for all of our products here on our website.