Unusual Shipments: What makes them so special?


Unusual Shipments: What makes them so special?

In the world of transportation logistics, there are a lot of interesting shipping requests. Ever heard of the show “Shipping Wars”? It was an entire series dedicated to the shipment of unusual things. The show followed independent truckers that would bid on loads that traditional carriers either could not or would not haul. All products need to get to their destination somehow, right? From fragile to frightening, safe to hazardous, the shipping industry has seen it all! Read on for some of the most unusual shipments we’ve researched and some we have even helped arrange shipping!

Transporting an entire bank

It certainly isn’t new that the United States Post Office receives its fair share of unique shipments. Back in 1913, parcel post service was implemented in the United States. The shipment of packages between two places was ideal for rural Americans, though city residents used the service at a high rate as well.

According to KSL.com, shortly after package service was implemented, young businessman W.H. Coltharp of Vernal, Utah, wanted a bank exterior made out of durable fire bricks from Salt Lake City. After discovering that the freight cost would be four times more expensive than the cost of the bricks, Coltharp decided to have the bricks mailed via the US Postal Service to save on the expense. Genius, right? Crate by crate, the bricks were shipped…all 80,000 of them! Imagine the US Postal Service’s relief at the last delivery.

Chickens, Snakes, and Bees…oh my!

According to Purdue University, Americans consume around 8 billion chickens per year. Chickens are typically transported live from their growing facility or farm to a processing plant to get ready for consumption. For people living on the Eastern Shore, Georgia, and Alabama, all of which are ranked in the top 10 chicken producing states in America, seeing live chickens being transported via truck may be pretty normal. However, for many it is probably an unusual shipment to witness.

A post from More Than Shipping stated that in 2010 a live 70-centimeter boa constrictor was found on a vessel loaded with Yucca Trees (another unusual shipment). But that’s not all – bees, alligators, and whale sharks have all been delivered by truck! Many safety precautions must be taken when dealing with specialty and unusual freight, and not just with shipments that can sting or bite.

Safety First

Another category that may not seem unusual but requires special handling is hazardous materials. Gases, liquids, solids, oxidizers, poisons, or corrosives all fall under hazardous materials. Since shipment of these types of materials are so specialized, there are additional requirements in place that are monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). This helps assure compliancy and safety across the board.

What makes an unusual or specialty shipment so special?

At Trinity Logistics, we identify specialty freight as a shipment that does not neatly fit into one category. We have had a good share of unusual shipping requests come through and have been able to help our customers with many of them.

One of our most memorable shipments was when we helped facilitate an overnight, expedited shipment of the New York State seal that is five feet in diameter to be installed at a courthouse. We’ve also helped customers arrange transportation of frozen kangaroo meat, goat milk, and movie sets! So, no matter the kind of freight you have, its size, or shipping requirements, we can help arrange your freight so it can get to its destination.

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Originally written November 7, 2017. Updated September 8, 2020.