Heavy Equipment Shipping Rates

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Heavy Equipment Shipping Rates

What to look for and how to find the best heavy equipment shipping rates

thought of shipping a piece of heavy equipment can be stressful if you purchased or are looking to purchase one.

Don’t worry, we’re going to make it easy for you

There are several things that influence heavy equipment shipping rates.

  • The overall size of the shipment
  • The weight of the shipment
  • The type of vehicle
  • How fast you need something shipped
  • The country or region you are trying to ship to
  • Delivery method
  • Whether the location is on a major shipping route
  • Insurance
  • Fuel prices

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it will be cheaper for you to ship something regionally within the United States than it would be to ship it across foreign borders.

Heavy Equipment Shipping Rates

Here’s what you need to do first

You need to do a little homework before you pick up the phone.

Ask yourself this question

“Do I want to ship this on my own or hire help?”

Domestic shipping is hard enough as it is. Now, try and imagine how much more difficult international shipping is.

Do you want to try and take that on? Probably not.

But that doesn’t mean you can skip the homework part. It still needs to be done.

This is how you can get even cheaper prices

Plug your trip into the Travel Math driving calculator. This useful resource will tell you how far something is, it will tell you the estimated fuel costs, how long the drive takes, and a lot of other useful information.

The more you know, the better heavy equipment shipping rate you can negotiate.


A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.


That was step one – here’s step two

Open your browser again and visit Equipment World’s spec guide. Find your piece of heavy equipment in that list and write down its specifications. You need to find out how much it weighs, its dimensions, and the type of engine it uses.

Try this method too

You can try World Freight Rate’s heavy equipment shipping calculator if you want a rough estimate of the heavy equipment shipping rates from point A to point B. It isn’t perfect, but it will help you understand how much you should expect to pay.

This may seem like a lot of work, but a few simple searches can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. If you don’t like saving money, feel free to skip this step.

But there’s more

Another easy way to reduce your heavy equipment shipping rates, especially in the United States, is to try and ship your machinery along major transportation routes.

This is one of the easiest ways for you to say money while transporting large shipments across the country.

This next step is a lot easier

Now you have to choose which shipping method you want to use after determining all of the necessary specs for your piece of heavy equipment.

The most common methods for shipping heavy equipment include:

  • Roll-On/Roll-Off (RoRo)
  • Flat Rack Shipping
  • Container Shipping
  • Life On/Lift-Off (LoLo)

Ro-what?

Shipping heavy equipment is a little more challenging than a regular vehicle. But the two types of vehicles share a lot of similarities when it comes to shipping.

All those shipping methods lifted above are viable options for shipping your heavy equipment, but the one you choose will depend on your budget, how soon you need your machinery delivered, and where you are shipping it.

By now you are probably sensing a common theme. Heavy equipment shipping rates are heavily influenced by time, distance, weight, and size.

Roll-On/Roll-Off

RoRo is one of the most popular methods for shipping vehicles.

The vehicle is simply loaded by driving it on to a flatbed ship. This tends to be one of the more effective and cheaper options, but in some cases, there are strict height and weight restrictions.

One of the reasons why this is the best method is how easy it is to load and unload the shipped vehicle.

Flat Rack Shipping

Flat rack shipping is often used to ship boats, RVs and other pieces of heavy equipment.

The shipment is secured on flat racks that sit atop of the ship. This method is a cheap alternative to some of the more expensive methods, but it does leave your machinery exposed to the open air.

Container Shipping

Container shipping is the most recognized form of shipping when it comes to international trade. We’ve all seen them at some point.

One of the main reasons to choose container shipping (if your heavy equipment fits) is because it provides an additional layer of protection by shielding your machinery from the elements.

Lift-On/Lift-Off

LoLo is typically the more expensive option because of the extra labor required to prepare your shipment.

This method involves your shipment being loaded and unloaded from a ship using a crane.

It is usually used for non-operable vehicles like farm equipment, disabled heavy machinery, or large engines.

Your close – now what?

One question that a lot of people forget to ask is whether their shipping company carries insurance. Most companies will carry the minimum amount required.

You’ll need to find out whether the cost of your heavy equipment is covered and whether you want to purchase additional insurance to protect it.

Base level insurance may be more than enough if you are shipping heavy equipment regionally within the United States or to a safe country like France or England. However, you’ll probably want to increase your protection if you are shipping longer distances to dangerous countries.

This is how you can save even more on heavy equipment shipping rates

Work with a reputable shipping company. This isn’t a marketing ploy to get you to strike a deal.

It’s the truth.

Reputable shipping companies have spent decades developing their contacts. They know which companies are offering the best rates at a specific time.

You can certainly try and ship a piece of heavy equipment on your own – and you may get a great price – but more often than not you will pay more.

Shipping companies know all the right people, have domestic and international connections, and understand the market.

Getting the best price possible can be difficult unless you have that knowledge.

That’s where we step in

Here at A-1 Auto Transport, we believe in being transparent and offering the best rates. The shipping industry is complex and competitive and there is no need to pay more than you have to.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of shipping a piece of heavy equipment, get into touch with us and we will do our best to clear it up for you.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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