our expert guide to fully understanding abnormal load transport

Our expert guide to fully understanding Abnormal Load Transport

Published on 10 June 2024 - 7 reading minute(s)

As impressive as they are essential for moving outsize loads, abnormal load transport and heavy haulage quite often requires logistics and equipment that is highly specialised. From technical specifications to wide load regulations that can vary from country to country, driving outside the norm is not something to be taken lightly. It demands flexibility, innovation and know-how ౼ just a few of Michelin’s strong points.

The exciting routes for abnormal loads

Essential for transporting heavy equipment, wide loads play a vital role in economic development. Airbus, for instance, recently opted for more economically and environmentally efficient road transport over ocean solutions. The EU, on the other hand, announced a massive increase in installed wind turbine capacity, expected to rise from 204 GW in 2022 to over 500 GW by 20301. What could possibly handle such a load? Driven by industrial growth, increasingly large infrastructure projects, and current environmental and economic considerations, abnormal load transportation has a crucial role to play. Faced with these opportunities, the Dutch company Van Wieren chose the MICHELIN X® MULTI range for its heavy haulage fleet, recognizing the pivotal role these tyres play in the efficient transport of abnormal loads.


Report from the Dutch company Van Wieren

What makes an abnormal load abnormal?

Sections of a wind turbine, parts of an aeroplane, unusual-sized vehicles, prefabricated house structures ౼ the list goes on! Whilst meeting an abnormal load being transported by road is not all that common, such movements are meticulously regulated according to the territories - starting with Europe.

In France for example, the Ministry of the Interior defines an abnormal load transport as "a heavy goods vehicle with a load of goods, machinery (agricultural, forestry, public works, etc.) or vehicles exceeding the dimensions and weight authorised by the highway code". This means a truck width of over 2.55m, a length of over 16.5m, weighing over 44 metric tons. Not to mention a classification into three categories, the last of which has a maximum weight of 72 tonnes and a length of more than 25 metres2.

In the UK, the base weight is also 44 tonnes, but abnormal load regulations include an additional specificity: a load in excess of 10 metric tons per non-driven axle and 11.5 tonnes per driven axle. The dimensions are also different from France, with a width of over 2.9 metres and a length of 18.65 metres3. These are dizzying figures, which also mean that drivers and fleets alike need to prepare well in advance when it comes to plotting the route when transporting large loads.


key fact about vehicle dimensions in europe

Exceptional regulation for exceptional convoys

Handling such road transport missions demands meticulous notification to the authorities, often necessitating a police escort along the route to ensure safe transport. Providing comprehensive notices and adhering strictly to wide load regulations becomes imperative to navigate these routes securely. 

Harm Van Wieren, Director of Operations for the company which bears his name, and specialising in the transport of abnormal loads, is well aware of the authorisation requirements that govern his activity: "In Germany, for example, you can only use a bridge at certain times, you need a police escort, or roadblocks". Speed, too, is regulated according to the type of road (motorway, urban road etc).

MICHELIN tyres for abnormal loads

That's where Michelin and its expertise comes in. Reliable in a wide range of weather conditions, MICHELIN X® MULTI tyres are suitable for nearly all types of truck and commonly used for heavy haulage. The only difference lies in the number of axles required to support the load, depending on its size and weight.

Thanks to POWERCOIL, INFINICOIL, and DURACOIL technologies, the MICHELIN X® MULTI’s ultra-robust frame maximises payload capacity, enhances retreadability, and optimises mileage efficiency (At least a 15% increase in mileage, more depending on the products)4 ; while the REGENION technology offers versatile usage and exceptional grip.

Van Wieren Special’s teams have also set their sights on MICHELIN Remix (retreads). With improved mileage performance, these tyres create an economic-ecological advantage for a company with 40 tractor units and 60 semi-trailers in its fleet. "We're talking about five metric tons less raw materials and six tonnes less C02 produced each year for this company alone, which has 1,100 tyres," according to Steven Knol, Michelin business manager.

“MICHELIN Remix tyres save Van Wieren up to 5 tonnes of raw materials and almost 6 tonnes of C02 every year." 
Steven Knol, Michelin business manager

The challenge of abnormal load on construction sites

Tough as ever, the tyres on low-loaders are also put to the test. Wide load vehicles travelling to construction sites, for example, encounter various bumps and scrapes on a regular basis. For this side of the fleet, Van Wieren Special has once again placed his trust in Michelin, this time turning to the MICHELIN X® MULTI T2. Capable of withstanding mega-loads (up to 100 tonnes), this new range benefits from a tread packed with new technologies. The results: fitments such as the 205/65 R 17.5 and 245/70 R 17.5 can support more than 8.2 and 12 tonnes per axle respectively.

Transporting the heaviest loads is a challenge that demands precision and safety, requires specialised equipment and meticulous attention to wide load regulations. MICHELIN's innovative tyre technologies provide a reliable solution, guaranteeing the safe transport of abnormal loads over a wide range of terrain.


1 Commission sets out immediate actions to support the European wind power industry, Press release from the European Commission, 24 October 2023 
2 Official administrative information site for businesses, entreprendre.service-public.fr 
3 Official site of the British government  
4 Internal comparison tests with other tyres carried out between 2015 and 2019. To see the details, click here https://business.michelin.co.uk/tyres/michelin-x-multi-f-d-t-z-z2-22-5  
5 Quote from the article's video. Data based on the annual consumption of Michelin
Remix tyres by the carrier. 

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