Shipping Your Construction Equipment
Construction equipment is very useful and can often singularly complete tasks without assistance from other machinery. Examples of work they can do are include heavy lifting, digging holes, and flattening of terrain.
There is one thing that heavy equipment cannot do alone – relocation.
For relocating, we need other large machines to transport the already large equipment. Professionals are hired to complete these tasks, for an amateur doing so can be risky and potentially dangerous.
Preparing Equipment for Transport
When you obtained your machinery, it most likely came with an owner’s manual. This is where you can find information on preparation of your equipment for transport. Wrapping any fragile pieces with bubble wrap or removing them, if possible, before transport will ensure these parts will not break. It is more cost effective to do so than replacing the piece itself. Specific pieces to keep an eye out for include knobs, levers, and gauges.
Finding an expert transporter may be one of the most important aspects of the haul. If you don’t have the right, qualified individual, delays can occur, as well as unsafe and costly conditions. Check out a website like A-1 Auto Transport that provides a list of highly experienced and well-informed equipment movers and transporters.
If you plan to have your hauler drive the machinery onto the trailer, most haulers can operate many kinds of construction machinery. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with this, be sure to schedule someone you are familiar with to do so.
You want your construction machine safe during the trip, therefore it should be high on your list of priorities. If any damage occurs, additional costs must be added to cover them. This is a loss of both time and money.
Ways to Ship
There are many methods of transportation that you can choose to haul your equipment. Many transporters use multiple methods throughout a single trip, including but not limited to:
● Flatbed Tow Trucks
● Heavy Duty Pick-ups
● Trailers, including Gooseneck and Low-boy Trailers
● Cargo Ships
● Rail Car
Connect with your organized hauler to discuss potential methods. For more cost-effective moves, small trucks and trailers are beneficial, although only use them if they are safe to transport your equipment with.
● Cover the smokestack; nobody wants debris entering your stack during transport. If dirt or unwanted materials enter it, the engine of your equipment can become damaged.
● Disconnecting the battery can ensure your machine will start up smoothly when arrived. This prevents the battery from being drained from excess electrical use and possible electric fires from potentially damaged wires.
● Close the doors of your machinery – they will open and close during the ride if improperly latched shut. In the case of a broken door, zip ties do wonders.
● Close windows and fold mirrors in to prevent further damage.
● Wash your equipment before loading. Any excess dirt can prevent proper tie down locations and cause slippage of your machine. This endangers both crew and machine’s safety, as well as others on the road at the time of transport. As a side note, it is easier to identify damages caused by the move if equipment is cleaned.
● Make sure proper protocol is being followed by the transporter if your load is oversized. This may include safety banners, signs, or lights. To ensure safety equipment is deployed, ask them for images during the haul.
How to Avoid being Deemed a Wide Load
Avoid wide load designation when possible – only the largest construction machines must be hauled as such. Some examples of machines that DO need wide load designation include dozers, cranes, off road dump trucks, and scrapers. Many others can be altered to fit into standard regulations by:
● Removing bulldozer attachments and wheel loaders, shipping them separately. This is more cost effective than needing to classify as a wide load.
● If your equipment is Over Height:
o Remove or retract boom or bucket. Two load trips can be made, and in many cases are more cost efficient. Keep in mind the distance and time it will take to remove and reinstall it later, weighing cost versus possible savings.
● If your equipment is Overweight:
o Remove attachments from the body of the machine and ship separately. Any weight over 40,000 lbs should take precautionary measures and keep weight limit in mind. If you have any questions, go directly to the manufacturer or consult your owner’s manual.
● If your equipment is Over Width:
o As the name calls, an over width issue is often difficult to modify. Since most over width gear runs on tracks, you can determine if it is worth removing them. Keep in mind it is often not worth removing the tracks.
● If your equipment is Overlength:
o Check if something can be removed and hauled separately in order to fit into normal length standards and restrictions.
Removing parts from the base of a machine may not seem worth it due to the extra effort you must add to reassemble, but it can often save money. Wide loads easily cost from double to quadruple the base cost of moving a construction machine. This increases even more depending on necessity of permits or escorts.
Wide loads can also pose issues with route plans. Many roads and bridges do not allow oversized loads to cross, therefore adding many miles and extra time to transport.
Check the Details Over
Once everything is set and planned, check all of the details over again. Schedules should be made, and everyone involved should know the plan. This will save any confusion on the day of the move.
Remember to confirm the following with the hauler:
● Date, Time, and Location of the transport
● The specific equipment they are bringing
● Anything you need on hand to ensure the day moves smoothly
● Estimated time of arrival to the end location
Confirm the help you need with:
● Who is operating the equipment onto the discussed method of shipping
● Loading help at the initial transport starting point
● If anyone is transporting the removed or separate equipment
Things to confirm with the arrival location:
● Who will unload the machinery
● Location to unload equipment is cleared of obstruction, stable, and can be reached by trailer or tractor
● If a mechanic is needed to reassemble any previously disassembled machinery
When the day comes, follow all parts of your plan exactly. All participants should be aware of specific times, locations, or phone numbers necessary. This will avoid confusion and make a smooth move.
Everyone involved should be aware of who to contact in terms of questions or concerns, and exactly how to contact them.
You should be sure to capture images of your machinery prior to departure when it is locked and loaded on the trailer. These pictures will be evidence of condition your machinery was in when it left your hands, as well as showing the proper secureness of it to the trailer.
When it has finally reached the destination, have someone inspect the equipment before the hauler in charge departs. Any condition issues should be immediately addressed with them, not put off.
With this checklist, your construction equipment can be transported smoothly, securely, and effectively.