If you’re importing containers into the U.S., you may be limiting the weight of your containers in order to meet U.S. road weight limits. This is often a mistake as you’re likely shipping more containers than you need to and spending more for the entire import transportation process. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of the shipping overweight containers into the California Overweight Corridor and tell you what types of products make the most sense to ship overweight.
What is the California Overweight Corridor?
Sitting just outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Overweight Corridor (also known as the Heavy Container Corridor) is a 4-square-mile grid of local roads in which overweight containers (i.e., containers with a weight higher than allowed on U.S. roads; in many states the weight limit is 44,000 lbs) can be moved freely with trucks that have the proper permits. There are three permits that a transportation provider needs to operate within the corridor: one from the city of Los Angeles, one from the city of Long Beach, and one from the county of Los Angeles.
When you work with a 3PL provider that offers integrated logistics services within the Overweight Corridor, that 3PL can dray your container(s) to its warehouse within the corridor. Your product can simply be stored in the warehouse or it can be transloaded and/or deconsolidated. With these services, a few pallets from the heavy container are unloaded so that the container is now street legal and can be transported over the road for final delivery. The leftover pallets from your containers are then combined into a full truckload on a standard trailer.
Your 3PL will then return your empty containers back to the port after final delivery.
Why ship overweight?
The main reason for shipping overweight containers is the significant cost savings. In our experience, the overall throughput cost for import transportation is typically reduced by 15-20% when shipping overweight.
Steamship lines generally don’t charge more for containers loaded to their max volumes than they would for containers loaded to standard/U.S.-street-legal weight. It stands to reason that, if you can fit the contents of four standard-weight containers into three overweight containers, there are savings to be had.
Importantly, while you will have additional costs for drayage, transloading and final delivery of the split load, these costs are significantly lower than the cost savings you enjoy by shipping fewer containers over the ocean. The inset graph shows the savings (17.9%) that a company shipping 1,000 standard containers can enjoy by shipping overweight containers.
What types of products can benefit from the California Overweight Corridor?
Any product that has a high density but can fit within a container is a great candidate for import into the Overweight Corridor. The following are a few of the more common product types that we regularly handle.
- Construction-related products like tile, plumbing fixtures, steel products like nuts, bolts and pipes – basically just about anything you would find at a large hardware store.
- Lumber and wood products.
- Liquid products. The density of liquid makes overweight container shipping a great choice for products like beer, wine and spirits, as well as chemicals and many other products.
- Commodities like sugar, flour and grains.
- Heavy metals. Due to heavier environmental regulations in the U.S., many companies melt down lead overseas and ship the ingots here for smelting.
Lean on Weber Logistics for overweight imports
For shipments coming into the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach, Weber Logistics has the warehouse space, the assets and the permits to get your imported products to market. This includes special 4-axle tractors to pick up overweight containers at the terminal. From there, Weber can dray your containers – still at their maximum capacity – through the Overweight Corridor to our transload facility located within the Corridor. To learn more about how our Overweight Corridor services can benefit your supply chain, contact us today.