Louisiana approves tandem load hauling for drayage trucks

A new law authorizing tandem loads of 20-foot containers went into effect in Louisiana on June 17.

Drayage trucks hauling freight to and from Louisiana shipping ports are now able to pull a tandem of 20-foot containers under a new law aimed at addressing supply chain concerns across the state.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law on June 17 after it passed both chambers of the state’s legislature.

The law aims to reduce the number of containers delayed at shipping facilities across Louisiana by using fewer trucks to haul them, along with increasing the volume of shipments amid a growing shortage of drivers, said Louisiana State Sen. Gary Smith, who introduced the bill.

“Constituents are trying to get products and supplies, and everywhere you turn around the people they are trying to buy them from are waiting on products and supplies so they can sell them,” Smith testified in the state legislature in April. “One of the problems we are having is we just don’t have enough trucks to bring all of these trailers. That is what is creating the backup.”

According to the bill’s guidelines, tandem trailers along with their tractors can’t exceed 140,000 pounds or 40,000 pounds per tandem axle spread. The combination of trailers also can’t surpass 83 feet in length.   

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will issue special, biannual permits for tandem loads for state-maintained roads. Interstate highways are federally regulated. The new tandem loads law is authorized through July 2026 after which it will be reviewed, according to the bill.

Louisiana transportation officials have expressed skepticism toward the tandem loads bill. 

In response to questions sent via email to the department, LDOT spokesman Rodney Mallett told FreightWaves reporter John Kingston the department is primarily concerned about axle loads and gross weight. 

“More specifically, it sets a precedent for divisible loads being allowed this heavy,” Mallett said. 

Around 28 states allow commercial trucks to haul double trailers, though each state has specific regulations for length, width, height and weight.

Watch: July 1 deemed “bloody Friday” for shipping stocks.

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