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The overall size of the vehicle is largely tied to the load in question. There are many factors that might limit the weight of a vehicle, including local infrastructure, road conditions, local laws and even the overall quality of the vehicle itself. Generally speaking, the size to payload needs can be defined as in the table below:

Type

Axles

Max Gross Weight (Tonnes)

*Estimated Payload (Tonnes)

Typical Length (Meters)

Body

Single Unit Truck

2 axles / 4 wheels

3.5

1

Various

  Image Modified

Single Unit Truck

2 axles / 6 wheels

7.5

3.5

Various

Image Modified

Single Unit Truck

2 axles / 6 wheels

18.8

12

12

Image Modified

Single Unit Truck

3 axles

26

18

12

Image Modified

Single Unit Truck

4 axles

36

25

12

Image Modified

Tractor Trailer Truck

3 axles

26

18

16.5

Image Modified

Tractor Trailer Truck

4 axles

38

24

16.5

Image Modified

Tractor Trailer Truck

5 axles

40

24

16.5

Image Modified

Tractor Trailer Truck

6 axles

41

27

16.5

Image Modified

Close coupled trailer

Various

40

26

18.75

Image Modified

*The estimated payload is the weight of goods that can be carried without exceeding the maximum gross vehicle weight. Where law does not specify a maximum gross weight or local circumstances allow, this payload may be increased. For high volume / low weight cargo, the load may reach maximum capacity before weight limits are met.

Generic Body Types

The desired vehicle body/trailer type will vary according to the goods or materials being carried, the terrain, the distance, and the prevailing security conditions on the ground. There are many variants of body/trailer type available. Generic body types might include:

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Cartons / sacks – when loading cartons or sacks into the bed of a truck, avoid stacking in pyramid or forming piles. Cartons and sacks should be stacked in even rows, as low to the bed of the truck as possible. Stacks should be arranged in interlocking "brick” format to avoid stacks from coming apart, and where possible, stacks of cartons or sacks should be secured with netting, tarp or rope, especially if the truck bed has no sides.

Bulky items – bulky items such as timber, generators, or other large equipment should be firmly secured to bed of a truck using rope or chain of appropriate strength.

Loading Vehicles

Unlike sea or air cargo transportation, humanitarian actors will almost certainly be involved with the direct loading of cargo vehicles at some point. Loading of cargo onto a truck may appear fairly straight forward, however there are several things that shippers may need to consider. Frequently, third-party transport companies and private vehicle hires may understand the loading needs of their own vehicles, but in the event agencies are self-managing loading or the third-party service does not have the capacity to mange loading, organizations may have to take the lead.

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When loading all vehicle types, ensure that cargo weight is also centred centered in along the short edge of the bed as well. Cargo weight too far to one side or another can lead to instability in the vehicle, impacting turning or even leading to vehicles tipping over.

Correct Loading

Incorrect Loading


Weight in Movement

Cargo on the back of a vehicle can be heavy or bulky, and while drivers may understand the overall weight of the vehicle while stopped or at low speeds, increased speed can cause the weight of the cargo to act on the vehicle in unintended ways. Forces acting on the cargo during transport are caused by different movements made by the vehicle. The acting forces are:

  • Deceleration
  • Acceleration
  • Centrifugal force (outward)
  • Gravity
  • Vibration

These forces may cause sliding, tipping and wandering. Cargo loads should always be properly secured, and vehicles should take extra caution when going around corners, going over bumps or small hills, or when starting or stopping.  

Image AddedCargo Tie-Downs

Any place where a rope or chain passed over cargo and is secured to both sides of the vehicle is referred to as tie-down. A general guide for how many tie-downs to use can be seen below:

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