Understanding Freight Costs on Bulk Storage Vessels

Freight costs can be significant so should be understood when making a decision to buy a bulk storage vessel.  In this article I’ll review the typical costs associated with shipping 18,000 gallon and 30,000 gallon storage units.

The cost to ship an 18,000 gallon or 30,000 gallon skid unit or bulk storage vessel to your location can run as little as 5% or as high as 15% of the cost of the storage unit.  That means you could pay as little as $5000 or as much as $20,000 for freight depending on a number of factors.

The factors effecting the total freight price will include the distance from the point of origin to your site, size of the tank, availability of interstate travel and resulting permitting and escort/pilot car requirements.  Weight maximums are usually not a factor in determining cost of freight for storage tanks of this size.

The distance can easily be determined once you find out the FOB location.  Plug that city/state and your destination into Google Maps to get the number of miles.  Generally speaking, 18,000 gallon skids and storage tanks will cost $4.00-$5.00 per mile while a 30,000 gallon skid or tank will be around $8.00-$10.00 per mile.

The size of the skid or tank will also be a factor.  For a 30,000 gallon storage vessel the freight hauler may charge more for the use of a stretch trailer.  (Click here to view a 30K skid loaded and moving out on a semi)  And because this larger tank may exceed state length and height requirements, it may be classified as an oversized load adding to permitting costs and costs associated with the addition of an escort/pilot car.  In comparison, the 18,000 gallon tank can be carried on a standard trailer and usually stays below the length and height maximums.

Finally, availability of interstate travel will affect the freight cost. If the shipping destination isn’t close to a major interstate or has to travel some distance on two-lane or multi-lane non-interstate, there’s a good chance that an escort/pilot car will be required and result in an increase to freight.

If the storage vessel gets classified as an oversized load, keep in mind that there will be restrictions placed on the time of day that it can be moved.  Most states will require daylight travel only, Monday through Friday, and no travel during holidays.

One final thought, costs can vary quite a bit between freight carriers so it’s a good idea to get several quotes.

There are many resources available to get information on permitting and escort/pilot car requirements.  A couple are listed below for your reference.

Resources:  Heavy Haul Trucking Oversize Permits & Escort Info          ParkerPilot Pilot Cars

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