A heavy haul any way you weigh it.
Because of the extreme weight, Bennett driver Dan Shipman says he has to plan his stops cautiously. “The last thing I want to do is slam the brakes on and burn the brakes out,” he describes. “Within a mile I’m already starting to slow down.”
These moves are different than other types of trucking. “You’re wide. You’re heavy. You have to follow permits,” he says. “There’s a lot more involved than jumping in a truck and driving off.”
Shipman describes the job as a very slow, draining drive. His maximum speed is usually 53 mph and he has to remain aware at all times. “It’s always something on these drives,” Shipman says. He constantly checks to make sure the machine is secured; when things get loose, they get damaged.
Communication is key for success.
Bennett’s own, Amy Stookey, says the communication goes both ways in this relationship. The assignments aren’t always turnkey. Stookey describes how she works with Liebherr to anticipate issues before they become problems out on the road. “There have been times when I’ve had to go back to Liebherr and say, ‘We’re going to have to lose some weight or we’re going to have to add an axle. Because this state will not let us in and I cannot find a route around it.’’” She says.
Open communication with the customers receiving the cranes is equally important. Shipman keeps buyers well-informed throughout the drive by telling them when he departs, notifying them when he’s an hour from arrival and by responding quickly to inquiries. If anything goes wrong, Shipman alerts the buyers immediately. With an investment this big, he’s found that they want to know without delay so they can fix the problem.
Offering service that raises the bar.
Liebherr relies entirely on Bennett’s expertise for the tricky routing and permits the drives require. Behind the wheel, drivers like Shipman are often the buyer’s main—and often only—contact. As the face of Liebherr, Shipman knows his attentiveness to the equipment and communicativeness with the customer reflects on the manufacturer.
It all comes down to trust. Stookey sums it up this way, “They (Liebherr) know what they’re getting. They know it’ll be Dan. They know he’ll take care of the equipment. If there’s a problem, he will call.”
Keeping it safe from top to bottoms and start to finish.
Safety surrounds these moves. Stookey sets a tone that encourages drivers to take their time and do it right. “Just focus on what you’re doing. That’s my biggest key. I tell it to myself, too!” Slow down. Pay attention,” She says. “The other stuff doesn’t matter.”
It’s a philosophy that’s served Liebherr and Bennett well for over 5 years now. Shipman attributes their stellar track record to attitude. “It’s going to get there. As long as I do my part,” He says. “You just have to be aware. And you have to watch for both sides—the other drivers and you.”
Expertise and adaptability drive success.
Watching one of these 100-ton cranes raise massive machinery thousands of feet in the air is an amazing thing—but transporting them cross-country can be equally amazing. Over the course of roughly 40 moves, the team has a perfect track record. Not an easy feat considering these vehicles aren’t designed for long hauls. According to Shipman, tires blow and in one instance, the clutch fans went out causing the engine to overheat.
Experience helps, but Shipman admits, things happen out on the road that you can’t predict, and you just have to be aware and adapt. “I’ve been driving trucks for 17 years. I’ve been around long enough time to know you don’t know it all,” he says.
Turning buyers from anxious to amazed.
A lot is riding on these moves, and the entire Bennett team—from the dispatcher to the driver—is there to rise to the challenge on every one. Stookey says, “We take the job extremely seriously. They’re going to get hands-on from me, and I will walk it every step of the way.”
It all comes back to communication. According to Shipman, “The owners want to stay in the loop about where you are and if you’re having any problems with the crane.” He says they’re always happy when he arrives. They usually meeting him in person, often take pictures and always thank him over and over.
For Bennett’s DriveAway team, there’s no higher measure of success than that.
Bennett DriveAway transports everything from alternative fuel vehicles to city transit buses and Class A motor homes anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada. For almost 40 years, our professional drivers have delivered vehicles on time and in perfect condition. Learn more about the range of rolling stock we move and way we do it at https://www.bennettig.com/service/driveaway-services/