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Challenges of Transloading Utility Poles

Utility transloading is the process of moving the poles from rail cars to hauling trucks. The best rail-car unloading services will also bring your poles to your material yard.

Despite the importance of their part of the utility supply chain, it is prone to potential challenges just like every other stage.

Many of the obstacles that you face when hauling utility poles or hauling utility transformers may also impact transloading. Additionally, some unique considerations affect this part of the process.

Here are some of the top challenges of utility transloading.

Material Size

Utility transloading involves utility poles, pipes, and transformers. None of these items are small or light. All are very large and require specialized hauling equipment to pick up after rail transport.

Typical North American transloading companies may not be able to deal with very large equipment. You must find a specialty hauling company to help with rail-car unloading in the utility industry. Finding the right equipment or company to help is no easy task.


How far is the final destination from the transloading site? The distance of travel will impact the difficulty of the task, as well as the price and the potential for other issues. As you can imagine, a long haul that crosses several state borders in the United States will be more challenging than one that’s only a dozen miles away.

While the distance varies by project, it is often substantial for transloading. You must haul your utility equipment from the transloading location to your material yard.


Where is the rail-car unloading happening? Which state or states? The precise location dictates several other factors.

For example, you’ll have to consider the weather. A hot, humid Florida summer poses specific challenges that differ immensely from a frigid, snowy Minnesota winter. The general weather climate poses a host of challenges, as do specific weather events like hurricanes, snowstorms, etc.

Aside from the weather, you must consider the local regulations of the state/community. Each state has its own laws, and counties within states may also have various regulations. When it comes to utility transloading, you must be sure to follow all regulations including obtaining the correct permits.

Common Delays

No matter how good your planning is or how reputable the company is, there are always potential delays that can impact your utility pole transloading.

It’s crucial to consider all potential delays and how they can affect your project timeline overall.

Here are some of the most common issues that you can face:

  • Severe weather issues

  • Problems with permits

  • Poor road conditions or extreme traffic

  • Truck breakdowns

  • Issues with the driver

  • Miscommunication (like improper location or timeline)

Hiring Multiple Trucking Companies

Not all utility hauling companies offer transloading services. Finding a solution for both transloading and general utility pole hauling can be a challenge. This is why many times, utility managers end up hiring two separate companies, one for rail-car unloading and one to transport their utility poles to their material yard.

Hiring two different companies only add time and stress to your project. You’d have to double the research and work out two separate agreements.


Rail-car unloading the utility poles is one part of getting them to your final location, but once they are there you need to get them off the truck.

That’s one major issue that utility managers face, most transloading companies do not unload your wood poles, steel poles, or concrete poles.

Instead, you’re left figuring out how to unload them yourself. Most times, you’ll need to rent huge equipment and potentially even hire help to unload them. Ultimately, it costs you more money and takes away time from your project.

The Right Transloading Company Makes a Difference

When it comes to common transloading challenges, some (like the weather) are not in your control. However, one aspect you can control is who you hire to get the job done. Choosing the right utility transcoding company makes all of the difference.

  • Asset-based services (not brokers)

  • Industry experience with several types of poles

  • A comprehensive service area

  • Excellent customer service

  • A dedication to safety

  • Self-unloading services

Choose Blackwood Resources for Rail-Car Unloading Utility Poles

For transloading services, you can count on, turn to Blackwood Resources. We offer comprehensive utility hauling services, including rail-car unloading.

As an asset-based hauling company, we own our specialty trucks and directly hire our drivers. This way, we ensure you work with dedicated, highly-trained drivers and operators who are as committed to safety as you are.

We’ve already hauled over 100,000 tons of utility materials, and we are here to help you with all of your utility hauling needs. From rail car to your material yard, you can count on us for exemplary service.

Our team is here to help with your next project. Learn more about our specialty hauling services and how we can help today. Contact us at or 812-676-8770 to learn more about our services or to schedule your haul.



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