The US Department of Transportation has decreed that no vehicle should weight more than 80,000 lbs on the roads. Some exceptions apply, but what that means for us is that our shipping container (which is currently in Michigan, and is almost ready to be sent to Burundi) had to be under 40,000 lbs, so that the truck, which weighs 40,000 lbs, could take it to the ship when the time comes.
So how in the world do we figure out how much 40,000 lbs is? Well, as we packed things into the container, we weighed them - either in bulk, by driving a trailer filled with our stuff over one of the CAT weigh stations you might see at truck stops, or by stepping on a bathroom scale as we carried each item into the container. There is obviously a lot of wiggle room in these weights, and so it was with much intrepidation that we had our container weighed the week before we flew to France. Based on what we had added up, I was estimating we were between 36,000 and 42,000 lbs of gross weight (including the 8,400 lbs of the container itself). If we were over, it would mean unpacking part of the container and filling it in with a frame of wood to keep things stable and tight since we had packed it to the brim already (3 days before our departure for France, to boot).
|Container packed with 1/2" to spare|
|Front-loader pushing the container onto the bed of the semi.|