10 Things You Should Know When Shipping Heavy Equipment

Shipping Heavy Equipment

Heavy machinery shipping can be challenging and requires an equipment shipping company with experience in heavy haul. In contrast to LTL and FTL freight shipping methods, heavy equipment transport services demand specific shipping solutions, such as oversize load permits and special heavy haul transport trailers.

Remember, you’re shipping agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, and construction equipment, and these cranes, containers, tractors, forklifts, excavators, and dump trucks represent significant investments that deserve careful heavy equipment shipping methods.

How Do You Ship Heavy Equipment?

When a load is considered oversize, a heavy equipment transport company is hired to facilitate the move. These companies use their expertise and network to get your load to its destination. Heavy equipment can be transported via ship, truck, airplane, and other methods. The process of shipping heavy equipment depends completely on the materials being transported.

To ensure you have peace of mind and your heavy equipment transport needs are met, here are a list of things you should know to prepare you for your next heavy equipment transport experience.

1. Heavy Equipment is a Broad Term

Heavy equipment shipping refers to a range of machinery and types of equipment used in many industries. It’s defined by size and weight and would include machines requiring special carriers beyond traditional flatbeds. Some examples are:

There are dozens of types of heavy construction equipment alone. Because of all the commercial, residential, and industrial projects requiring heavy equipment and machinery to do the job, you will probably need heavy equipment shipping services in the future. Whether on a construction site, a busy highway, or a large-scale landscaping project, there is a good chance you’ll need heavy equipment and a shipper to haul it where it’s needed.

2. You’ll Need to Gather Some Information Beforehand

Although heavy equipment shipping is an efficient and trouble-free process with an experienced transport company, you must supply some information when arranging the heavy equipment shipping services, including:

The Equipment’s Dimensions

Your shipper needs to know the equipment’s dimensions, and they depend on you to measure it accurately. It helps them arrange the shipping services, and incorrect measurements can delay the shipping process. If you are unsure how to measure the machinery, your shipper can help. Also, supply the equipment’s make and model and any modifications.

Any Special Loading Equipment Required

The heavy equipment transport company needs to know if your heavy machinery will require specialized loading equipment. If it does, discuss this with them and avoid issues and delays on pickup day.

Get Any Special Permits in Advance

International heavy equipment shipping typically requires special permits. Oversized loads exceeding specific weight limits also require permits. Obtaining these permits in advance can avoid shipping delays.

3. Check the Manufacturer’s Recommendations for Securing the Machinery

Before moving heavy machinery, consult the equipment manual to see if the manufacturer provides recommendations for transporting it. The instructions on securing the load might go beyond ordinary advice since, in some cases, ignoring the manufacturer’s guidelines could void your equipment warranty.

The manufacturer has probably designated specific points on the equipment to attach tie-downs for securing it. Using these attachment points can ensure the equipment’s safe arrival.

The manufacturer might list other preparation measures, such as draining fluids, disconnecting the battery, or covering specific vulnerable equipment parts. Because the manufacturer knows the equipment best, it’s a good idea to follow their suggestions.

4. Determine The Best Shipping Method

Container shipping might not sound like a logical choice for shipping heavy equipment. Still, some companies provide crating and packaging for all industrial market sectors and can handle almost any type of equipment. Container shipping uses standard-size containers of 20, 40, 45, and 53 feet built to international standards. They offer convenience between shipping, rail, and truck companies. Since the equipment is entirely sealed during transit, containers provide the safest equipment hauling process.

Roll-On/Roll-Off is a cost-Effective Shipping Method. Also known as the RoRo method, the Roll-On/Roll-Off shipping method is popular for international and domestic heavy equipment shipping. As the name suggests, RoRo involves driving the machinery onto a flatbed truck at the pickup location and rolling it off after arriving at its final destination. RoRo is speedy, efficient, and less expensive than other shipping methods.

Flat rack containers are also an excellent, flexible shipping method when transporting heavy equipment. Since they only have walls or support posts on the ends, they allow loading from the top or sides. Since flat racks are an open-air method, they are cheaper than container shipping, but the heavy equipment will not be protected from the elements.

The LoLo method, short for lift-on/lift-off, is the practice of loading and unloading containerized cargo over the top of a shipping vessel using cranes or derricks. LoLo ships typically have onboard cranes and can accommodate larger container capacity, allowing for heavy equipment transport. One advantage of LoLo is vehicles are not driven onto the transporting vessel, taking a smaller toll on the environment.

5. Get Peace of Mind with Freight Insurance

Ask anybody in the shipping industry, and they will tell you the same thing: It’s not a matter of if you will sustain freight damage and loss; it’s a matter of when. Because of this reality, you should understand the fundamentals of trucking insurance.

The carrier covers freight shipments with liability insurance, and the amount of coverage is determined by the cargo’s type or freight class up to a certain dollar amount per pound of freight. Liability policies will vary, so it’s critical to know the carrier’s liability for freight loss and the amount covered before you arrange your heavy equipment shipping.

In some cases, the carrier liability coverage could be lower than the equipment’s actual value of the freight. Freight insurance can protect your business from losing or damaging your shipment while in transit. Of course, you will pay for coverage, and the premium is usually based on the declared value of the shipped goods. Third-party insurers provide most freight insurance plans.

6. Understand Factors that Impact Heavy Equipment Shipping Costs

Your shipping quote for heavy equipment transport services will depend on several factors:

  • Weight of the equipment
  • Shipping method
  • Distance between the pickup location and final destination
  • Special permits, if any
  • Purchasing freight insurance
  • Equipment dimensions (Some larger equipment might require a longer route)
  • Delivery timing (Faster delivery typically equals higher cost)
  • Time of the year (Weather issues can cause costly delays)

Remember, if the vehicle size exceeds 80 000 lbs in weight, 48-53 ft in length, 13.6 ft in height, or 8.6 ft in width, pilot cars are required, increasing the shipping rates.

7. Some Common Heavy Equipment Transport Costs

The shipping rates for moving heavy machinery range from $5 per mile for short-distance deliveries (under 500 miles) to $1.75 for long-distance shipments (over 2,000 miles). Check out the rates below:

  • Up to 500 miles: 1-2 days in transit = $4-5 per mile
  • 500 – 900 miles: 3-4 days in transit = $3-4 per mile
  • 900 – 1500 miles: 4-5 days in transit = $2.50-3.50 per mile
  • 1500 – 2000 miles: 5-7 days in transit = $2-3 per mile
  • More than 2000 miles: 7-10 days in transit = $1.75 per mile

These are merely estimates, so talk to an experienced heavy equipment shipping company for a free quote.

8. Heavy Haul Trucking Requires Special Trailers

Heavy equipment shipping is made possible by the various types of equipment hauling trailers available from heavy haul trucking companies. Here are four of them, accompanied by a brief description:

1.    Flatbed Trailers are available in a standard flatbed and extendable flatbed trailer for longer equipment. A flatbed trailer has no roof or walls, making it easier and faster to load and unload from all sides.

2.    Lowboy Trailers, also known as drop deck trailers, are excellent for hauling freight exceeding the legal 8’6” height maximum. The trailer has a well in the center and two higher decks on either end. You can legally ship equipment as high as 12 feet with the drop deck.

3.    RGN Trailers (removable gooseneck trailers) have a detachable front end, making them perfect for loading and unloading large, heavy equipment. The bottom of the trailer drops down to create a ramp for driving equipment directly onto it. RGN trailers usually have many axles to support heavy machinery. They also as a drop deck or double drop deck trailer.

4.    Step Deck Trailers are similar to drop deck trailers in that they can haul tall equipment that surpasses state height regulations. Step decks have a raised bed at the front end for smaller items and a long flat open flatbed for the heavy equipment. Ramps are added to aid with loading and unloading.

9. The Advantages of Heavy Equipment Shipping

At some point, your business will likely need to do a heavy haul project requiring special permits and shipping equipment. It can be time-consuming and expensive if you have multiple projects and use a small trailer truck. And if you’re doing heavy equipment transport internationally, things can get even more complicated.

A reputable shipping company will eliminate or reduce the stress of state regulations and the documentation involved in acquiring the special permits for oversized loads. A reliable transport company can handle the shipping process from pick up to delivery, and they will ensure you have the necessary permits.

Here is the rundown of the benefits that heavy equipment transport can provide for your company:

It Eliminates the Need to Purchase Expensive Shipping Vehicles

Buying new shipping equipment is hard on a budget, and the payback can be extended. Partnering with reputable shipping companies and using their shipping services and equipment makes the most financial sense. They already have everything needed to meet your expectations and take on the burden of repairing and maintaining the shipping equipment.

A Heavy Equipment Transport Company has the Right Experience

Heavy hauling is not a game that inexperienced shippers should be playing. Experience is essential when moving heavy equipment and machinery over any distance. Many roads are not meant for oversize loads and require an alternate route. States and countries have different limitations and restrictions for heavy equipment transport.

Reliable trucking companies have skilled and experienced drivers who understand heavy equipment transport. They assess and choose the best routes, ensuring your heavy machinery gets to its final destination quickly and safely.

Acquiring Special Permits and Escorts is No Longer Your Responsibility

Depending on your location, you might require permits to guarantee a safe and legal shipping process. Permit requirements vary depending on the state and country in which you operate. A heavy equipment shipping company removes the burden of permits and documentation. They will help you determine whether your load is oversize by taking accurate measurements and choosing the right trailer to accommodate it. If it is an oversize load, the shipping company will make the arrangements for escort vehicles, ensuring the trip is safe and legal.

 10. Choose Your Heavy Equipment Shipping Company Carefully

There are several heavy haul trucking companies from which you can choose. However, Titan Worldwide sets the industry standard for long-distance heavy equipment transport, providing third-party logistics that include shipping services, heavy haul transport, transport planning, technological resources, and expert advice from over a decade of industry experience. Whether construction-related heavy equipment, oversize loads, overweight loads, or super loads, Titan Worldwide can handle it safely and accurately.

We can fulfill your shipping needs. Transporting heavy equipment and machinery can be a challenging aspect of any project. Having the right heavy machinery in any industry is a prerequisite for success. Titan Worldwide will not only transport heavy equipment to where you need it, but we will also handle the planning at an affordable cost.

Contact Titan Worldwide today for a shipping estimate—domestic or international—and we will work with you to make it happen!

Author: Justin Tyme
Justin Tyme is a seasoned marketing expert with a focus on the supply chain, logistics, and heavy machinery transportation sectors. He serves as the Senior Director of Marketing at Titan Worldwide, where he manages the company's content marketing strategy and lead generation. You can connect with Justin via his email.
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