What Does Out Of Gauge Cargo Mean (OOG)?

If you are coordinating larger scale cargo movements, then this will be essential reading.

We will be taking a deep dive into Out of Gauge and project cargo movements, establishing the key factors for a successful import or export.

Out Of Gauge (OOG) Cargo Meaning

Out of Gauge (OOG) cargo is any cargo that can not be loaded into six-sided shipping containers simply by being too large. The term is a very loose classification of all cargo with dimensions beyond the maximum 40HC container dimensions. That is a length beyond 12.05 meters – a width beyond 2.33 meters – or a height beyond 2.59 meters.

Out of Gauge Cargo

Credit: msc

Dealing With OOG Cargo:
What You Need To Know

When dealing with OOG cargoes, undertaking detailed scoping and planning activities is by far the most important action. The provision of accurate information to your forwarder is essential. So what detail is most helpful?

A Defined Scope of Work

Provide as much information as you can, as early as possible. Things like origin, destination, commodity and the term of carriage are a great starting point. If you can provide even more detail, all the better – such as the handling capacity of origin and destination parties, site requirements, site access, cargo sensitivity or if cranes will be needed.

1. Technical Diagrams – Give technical detail about the load prepared by an engineer. This will identify the cargo dimensions, center of gravity and lifting points. These diagrams will assist to determine the appropriate equipment and lashing required – to haul, lift and secure the cargo. Technical diagrams will also be used by a vessel or aircraft load master when developing a load plan.

out of gauge technical diagram sample

Out of gauge Technical Diagram Example

2. Timelines
– Communicate when the OOG cargo will be ready to move and if the cargo has to be delivered by a certain date. Deadlines when communicated in advance – can be reviewed and action taken to ensure they are met.

3. Operational Skill and Appropriate Resourcing – A project cargo specialist, armed with a detailed scope of work, technical diagrams and defined timeline, can start operational planning. ICE have a vetted network of suppliers, who specialize in different tasks and operate through various regions. This works in our clients’ favour, ensuring cost-effective handling, by competent suppliers.

4. Designing a bespoke OOG solution –  A detailed operational plan will establish the framework for OOG cargo handling. This plan needs to be developed considering the unique requirements of the project. The more complex a project, the more substantial the plan must be. The plan must address all operational inputs required; from the point cargo is made ready at the origin facility to the point cargo is delivered to the destination facility.

The Operational Activities

1. Origin Site Capability – This is the location from which cargo will need to be collected. Coordination with key contacts on-site and even site visits may prove a useful undertaking and will inform planning around cargo collection. Stakeholders will need to understand the site capacity – things like if cranes are available, whether there are made roads on-site, if site inductions will be needed, operational hours etc.

2. Transport – With a clear understanding of the origin site, transport can be effectively planned. Technical diagrams and site requirements will inform the type of equipment used to haul the OOG cargo – examples include multi-axle trailers, extendable trailers etc. Mobile cranes may also need to be coordinated, where lifting cargo to appropriate trailers.

Low loader truck for out of gauge cargo

Low loader truck for out of gauge cargo


3. Cargo Handovers (Terminal Facilities) – Delivering cargo to terminal operators and cargo handlers (CTOs) on wharves and at airports, ought to be a relatively simple process. These facilities handle vast volumes of cargo daily and have considerable experience and expertise with OOG handling. Some terminals may have restrictions around operating hours – prior coordination with key CTO stakeholders will alleviate any such issues.

4. Cargo Surveys – Once cargo has been delivered to CTOs, securing/ lashing activities will occur. Cargo will likely be secured to Flat Racks (sea freight), Mafis (sea freight) or Unit Load Devices (air freight). In instances where cargo dimensions or weights are outside standard equipment capacity, cargo may be secured directly to the vessel or aircraft. Third-party surveys ought to be coordinated when cargo is lodged at origin and at the first point of rest at destination. These survey reports will provide a record of the cargoes condition – if damage has occurred in transit then the report will make this clear and corrective action can be taken.


Mafi’s or Roll Trailers are platforms ranging from 12m – 24.4m and are towed on or off RORO vessels, using a specialised vehicle. Roll Trailers can carry up to 140 tonnes and are used for various kinds static cargo.

5. Crane Lifts
– Accurate technical diagrams and lifting guides will minimise risks associated with required crane lifts. Suppliers will need to be carefully vetted, to ensure they have the requisite competency.

out of gauge cargo being lifted by crane

6. Customs Formalities – This is a fundamental activity and if improperly administered, could have substantial financial implications. At ICE, our in-house Customs Brokers review the legislative requirements for the commodity being moved and will look to audit all shipping documentation, to ensure this is in order. Our clients enjoy certainty that a clearance will occur inline with planning. 

OOG Container Types and Transport 

There will be a number of factors that will determine what service is appropriate for OOG and project cargo. Things like – urgency, cargo size, budget, origin and destination.

So, what are the options?

1. Open Top & Flat Rack Containers – These are alternative to General Purpose containers, used for OOG movements. This type of equipment lends itself to side or top loading – ideal for awkward, over-dimensional cargo. If necessary, two or more Flat Racks can be connected to accommodate larger cargo.

2. RORO Services – RORO or Roll-On Roll-Off services are preferred where cargo can be driven. The vessel has multiple adjustable decks to accommodate cargo of all sizes – from a new Toyota (ex. Japan) to a Turbine for a Power Station (ex. Germany). The vessel will dock, its ramp extends and this allows cargo to be driven or dragged from or into the stow.

3. Vessel Charter – In circumstances where cargo volume permits, a full vessel charter will be the most effective means to move considerable non-containerized cargo. These vessels are equipped with fixed cranes and can discharge cargo from the vessel stow. Review ICE’s recent vessel charter here.

4. Aircraft Charter – When cargo movements are time critical, full aircraft charters can move considerable volumes within days. Review ICE’s recent aircraft charter here.

OOG and project cargo options

Click to expand

Conventional Cargo Movements

If you are handling shipping containers LCL (low container load) movements and air freight consignments, there is no doubt – attention to detail and an established process is the difference between success and failure.

When transacting across foreign jurisdictions, prior to any cargo movements – planning is fundamental. To better understand where unexpected costs can scale, read our discussion on the Hidden Costs of Shipping.

Key Takeaways

  1. Take the time to understand the full scope of work;
  2. Engage all stakeholders as early as possible; and
  3. Ensure that your nominated freight forwarder has an appropriate skill set.


Marcus Mangiafico, International cargo express


This article was written by Marcus Mangiafico, ICE Project Officer. To discuss anything related to out of gauge cargo, get in touch on 03 8374 8208 or  



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One Comment


Very useful materials gained from this article regarding OOG, thanks very much Mr.Murcus for this wonderful food of knowledge.


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