What You Need to Know about Shipping Heavy Equipment

On a jobsite, heavy equipment can be exceptionally useful, but transporting big machinery to and from the worksite can be difficult. Especially if you want your equipment shipped right — and safely — there are a number of factors to consider before transporting your machinery. Here’s what you need to know about shipping heavy equipment: 

1. Know the basics about heavy equipment shipping. Shipping heavy equipment can seem overwhelming. This is especially true when you are having it moved all the way to another state. The stakes are also higher when you are shipping heavy equipment; if the equipment gets damaged, it can cost thousands of dollars to have it repaired. 

This is why you should always start by doing research on any company that you are considering for your shipment by reviewing their website, reading customer reviews on sites like Google, and calling them with any questions that you might have. When you have them on the phone, make sure that you ask them about their insurance, including what is and is not covered. You will likely not be able to get an instant online quote for a shipment of this size, because there are many more details to consider, but speaking with the company about the specifics should help you get an accurate quote.

2. Know the kinds of heavy equipment that you can typically ship. You can usually ship the vast majority of heavy equipment. There are exceptions to this but you do not need to worry because your shipping company will not allow you to even book your shipment if you are trying to ship something that they do not have the capabilities to ship. Some types of equipment that gets shipped frequently include bulldozers, cranes, forklifts, excavators, and dump trucks. 

3. Choose your method of shipping heavy equipment. There are several ways that you can go about shipping your heavy equipment. The primary methods are by plane, boat, or truck. If you are shipping overseas, you will have no choice but to ship with a plane or boat. However, if you can avoid this, you should do so because these are considerably more expensive than shipping by truck. 

When you ship by truck, depending on the company, you could have your equipment shipped on various types of trailers. These include a low-deck flatbed truck, hydraulic truck, or a sliding axle trailer. These all have their distinct advantages but any of them will get your equipment safely to where it is headed. 

4. Get ready for your shipment. During the shipment, you won’t need to do anything; you can just sit back and relax. However, before your shipment, you will need to take some time to prepare. 

First, you will want to make sure that you clean the machine. You don’t need to be incredibly meticulous (as that can take hours), but you want the equipment clean enough that you can notice any new damage on the off-chance something occurs during shipment. Cleaning the machine also helps provide access to all tie-down points that can be used for securing the equipment during transport. 

Next, if your equipment has a smokestack, cover it up to prevent anything from getting inside and blocking it. After that, you should disconnect the battery since batteries can drain even when the machine’s engine is off, especially with larger engines. 

Finally, make sure that everything is locked up and latched, especially any equipment doors. Also, be sure that you remove any personal effects from the vehicle, such as sunglasses, gloves, or tools. If these things are damaged or lost during transport, they likely will not be covered by the insurance for the shipment. 

In conclusion, shipping a piece of heavy equipment can seem daunting. However, the process is made a lot easier when you know what you are doing, choose a reputable company for your shipment, and prepare your equipment for transportation. And we want to hear from you — what’s the farthest you’ve ever shipped heavy machinery? Let us know in the comments below.


Matt Osborn is the lead writer for RoadRunner Auto Transport.

One thought on “What You Need to Know about Shipping Heavy Equipment

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned that repairs could cost thousands of dollars if the equipment is damaged during the transporting process. The logistics director of the construction company I work for is considering looking for an overweight trucking service because our owner is thinking of accepting a bid to construct tall windmills. It seems sensible for the director to contemplate choosing a reputable service that has the equipment necessary to get our machinery where it needs to be.

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