Like most carriers, Henderson Heavy Haul Trucking faces three challenges when spec’ing their trucks: dependability, serviceability, and cost. And when you’re moving loads that can be more than 240 feet long and weigh upwards of 160,000 pounds through unpredictable weather, you better be able to depend on each moving part along the way.
“Living in Colorado, they say if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes, so we have to spec the trucks to go from one extreme to the next,” says Mark Weisgerber, operations manager at Henderson Heavy Haul.
After founding the business in Denver, Colorado, about 35 years ago, owner Cliff Henderson moved the operation to Grand junction, Colorado, located about halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City. From the very start, Henderson relied on Kenworths, beginning with a fleet of Kenworth W900B trucks. Currently, Weisgerber runs a fleet of 38 Kenworth trucks, most of them four-axle tractors.
While Weisgerber and the Henderson crew specialize in transporting heavy equipment, its mainstay business is hauling oversized components used to construct wind turbines throughout U.S. and around the world. This type of cargo calls for the right planning, preparing, and execution, considering that the blades for the windmills can be as long as 240 feet, with the total length of the truck, trailer, and load at 270 feet. The tower sections measure 90-plus-feet-long and weigh 160,000 pounds each — a load that is altogether 200-feet-long and weighs about 260,000 pounds.
“Probably the most impressive load that we have moved to date is a Sky Pool that was manufactured in Grand Junction and moved into the United Kingdom,” says Weisgerber. “It was 20 feet wide, 165 feet long, 16 feet tall, and was 270,000 pounds total gross.”
During the move from Grand Junction to Houston, Texas, wildfires were raging and changed Weisgerber’s plan, forcing his team to reroute the entire load at the last minute to make it in time for the ship bound for the U.K.
“The challenges are similar on all loads, but the time of year has a lot to do how hard it could be to get something moved, from construction, to weather, to the total unforeseen fires,” adds Weisgerber, “but weight, width, and height are factors all year round.”
But, as in many cases, it comes down to the drivers who move the loads, and ensuring they are comfortable and able to do their jobs as effectively as possible, which can reduce operational costs.
“Operating newer equipment does not only lower the cost of operation, but it also gives off a sense of pride with the drivers that computes into more and better production. The real cost that a company has is not only the breakdown, but more to the downtime of the truck being in the shop and the loss of revenue while the truck is being worked on,” says Weisgerber.