Monday, June 17, 2024

From bull semen to space wires, truckers haul all kinds of cargo

In 2016, more than $50,000 worth of frozen bull semen was stolen from a truck in Turlock, California.

The heist included three tanks and more than 3,500 units of prized semen from an artificial insemination company that sold and shipped the product to impregnate cattle all over the world.

While most of the time trucks are hauling common goods such as food, retail products and construction materials, sometimes they may also end up carrying more unusual items.

On a recent r/Truckers forum on Reddit, dozens of drivers shared stories of the weirdest and most unusual freight they have hauled. 

Super-tiny loads

“[It] was a single pallet from a nondescript warehouse in North Dallas to Louisville. Total weight 378 pounds. Escort the whole way. Bill of lading was a bunch of numbers. Asked what I was hauling on delivery and they told me that they couldn’t tell me. Was told I couldn’t get out of the truck in either yard.”

“Took a single pallet of bottled water out to the Aberdeen, Washington, Walmart on my way down Interstate-5. This was hauling Walmart’s trailers and they would have had other trucks going there. Asked the store when I got there and no, they weren’t in need of more bottled water, so it wasn’t a desperate thing either.”

“Spools of wire to NASA to be used on a probe going to Mars. Was given a mission patch by the project manager.”

Dead animals

“Rawhide out of Milwaukee. Dead animal flesh with ammonia to prevent rot in your reefer. When you open the doors at the consignee, it will literally make you gag and vomit. The mix of ammonia and dead flesh and seeing the red pulp of blood leaking out of the trailer is disgusting. I’d head straight to washout and tip them extra.”

“I ran with drivers that said they had to haul [rawhide] during the pandemic when freight was slow. They got it out of Milwaukee too. They were open-deck flatbed drivers. They had to strap and tarp those hides. Since it was in February or March, the blood froze to everything on the trailer.”

Live animals

“I had a load of sea cucumbers once. Just piled in wooden crates, not refrigerated, the trailer stunk afterwards. I asked the customer what it was for. They ground them into powder and put them in nutritional supplements.”

“Live worms! Used to do refrigerated transport and one day had to deliver [eight] pallets of live worms packed in dirt that was just in cardboard boxes.”

“When I was dispatching, I had a call to pick up some oil field equipment with a catch. The rig had rescued an owl from an oil spill. They wanted the driver to bring the owl to the animal rescue center. The catch was the owl had to ride inside the cab with the driver because it was covered in oil and they didn’t want it to get hypothermia. Driver passed on that load.”

Top secret loads

“I can’t say when or where, but I delivered [one] pallet of 55 pounds. It didn’t even weigh that. It was a smallish piece of furniture for an office. The weirdest part of it is that the drop was in the middle of nowhere, like tens of miles away from anything else. I decided to run out there close and sleep, so I could get an early start in the morning. When I went in and did all the checks, security searches and such, they happened to mention that they had a guy posted all night watching my truck. It was 10 miles from the place I slept to the security gate. Also it was the type of place that required an extensive background that takes several weeks ahead of time.”

“Hauled a load that said Microsoft on the bill of lading from a small warehouse in Compton, California, to Louisville. I had an escort team of two ex-Marine guys with guns on them. They followed us (team drivers) all the way. Had an issue with trailer alignment pin breaking off and had to wait at a Love’s in Oklahoma City for a shop to open in the morning. My company asked me to inform the escort team if they wanted to go to a hotel for the night. They were like, ‘Nope, we go wherever this load goes until it’s delivered.’ That night they parked their Ford Explorer directly behind the trailer doors and slept in their vehicle. Had to plan and communicate all the way with them. If we had to stop to [pee], we had to call them and let them know the exit and where we were stopping. Man, I was glad when that load finally got to its destination. That was a stressful load.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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