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How to Ship Heavy Equipment

How to Ship Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment is used in several different industries. From factories to farms to construction, these large pieces of equipment have to get to where they need to go safely and efficiently. How are you supposed to get heavy equipment where it needs to go? It isn’t like you can drive it across the country and on the interstate, considering most don’t reach the high speeds needed for these roads.

Different types of heavy equipment that may be found on the open road include excavators, bulldozers, backhoes, dump trucks, tractors, and more. Large pieces of equipment require special care when being transported, and A1 Auto Transport handles every aspect of these shipments for you. How do you ship these heavy pieces of equipment safely and efficiently?


Find a Reputable Shipping Company for Transport

Find a Reputable Shipping Company for Transport

Before you can ship a piece of heavy equipment, you have to find someone who has the ability to do so. Not every auto transport company offers this kind of service, so finding one with the credentials to do so becomes imperative. You have to be able to identify the characteristics of a reputable shipping company if you want to move heavy equipment safely.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is the company registered, bonded, and insured?
  • Do they meet my budget and exceed my expectations?
  • How much experience does this company have transporting heavy equipment?
  • How does the company accept payment?
  • Is this company too good to be true?
  • Are my needs met with exceptional customer service and all of my questions answered?

Once you find the right shipping company to transport your heavy equipment, you need to make sure to compare the pricing for the best deal with the highest safety protocols. The best way to choose a company is to get quotes from several using all of the required factors.


Choose a Method of Shipment

Choose a Method of Shipment

There are many different types of shipment methods for vehicles – but only a few are ideally suited for heavy equipment shipping. In fact, there are four methods that are used most frequently by heavy equipment transport companies:

  • Container Shipping – Containers are box-like structures that surround the heavy equipment on all four sides and easily stack on top of one another. This method is preferable to others because it protects the equipment from the elements. Shipping containers come in many sizes, which make it possible to accommodate heavy equipment in them. This is one of the more expensive methods of shipment.
  • Lift-on/Lift-off – Lift-on/Lift-off is also referred to as LoLo and is used when the shipment has no ability to be driven or “rolled” into position. LoLo requires the use of a crane to lift the equipment on and off of the platform or trailer it is being shipped on.
  • Roll-on/Roll-off – Roll-on/Roll-off is also referred to as RoRo. It is one of the simplest ways to load and ship a vehicle, especially heavy equipment. Using RoRo for equipment is a cheaper form of transport.
  • Flat Rack Shipping – Flat rack shipping solves the problems that can exist in trailer and space capacity for heavy equipment. Flat racks make it possible to stack equipment without being limited by the space surrounding it.

You can also assume that most of these use a flat trailer in some aspect. You have likely seen the “wide load” or “oversized load” trucks on the interstate – these are often found carrying heavy equipment transports.


Safely Loading and Transporting Heavy Equipment

Loading heavy equipment onto a trailer or into a container safely is not an easy task. It may require additional equipment or knowledge to load and unload it. If this is necessary, it might require that the shipping company have additional certification or insurance coverages. Safety should take priority when transporting heavy equipment.

The first step of being safe is preparing for the shipment. Shipments require inspections, including inspecting the equipment before and after transport. The shipping company will provide a document called a Bill of Lading which serves as the receipt of the shipment – a contract, so to speak.


Distance of the Transport

Once you have narrowed it down to a few transport companies and decided which way you plan to ship your heavy equipment, you must discuss the distance with the transport company. In most circumstances, the distance of the transport will play a large role in the price you pay. Short distances tend to be more expensive per mile than longer distances. 

Not all transport companies work with long-distance transports. If you find yourself in need of shipping heavy equipment long distances, you should discuss with your shipping company of choice if they are able to accommodate your request.


Determine the Price of Transport

Determine the Price of Transport

In addition to finding the right shipping company, comparing the price of transport is the next step of the process. Each company will likely offer different pricing options and discounts. Several factors may influence the price you pay for a vehicle shipment. Some of these may include the time of year, the weight of the shipment, the type of trailer used, the day of the week, and the distance of the transport.

The weight and the size of the equipment play the largest role in the shipment, though. Most heavy shipments are priced per mile. Depending on the distance, you could be looking at a shipment that costs $500 to $5,000, and the more miles, the lower price per mile. 

Shipping during the off season is one of the most price-efficient times to ship any type of vehicle or equipment. When the schedule is not overcrowded, you are more likely to get a better rate. The same applies to choosing a day in the middle of the week for shipping versus the weekend when most people plan their transports. Many transport companies even offer incentives for shipping during these times to help even out their demand.


Pick Up and Drop Off Procedures

Once you have determined what companies to quote for shipping your heavy equipment, the method you plan to ship it with, the distance, and the pricing options, it is time to make a decision on which company you want to use. When you choose the company, they will work with you, discussing where pickup and drop off of the heavy equipment will occur. 

At pickup, the shipping company representative will do an inspection with you, noting all the information on the Bill of Lading. This document serves as a legal contract between you and the company. The same inspection will be completed after the shipment is completed, ensuring that no damage was caused during the shipment. 

There are some circumstances where shipments may qualify for door-to-door shipping. This type of shipping is when the company picks up your heavy equipment from its current location and then drops it off at the location of your choice, like the job site you need it at. Not all companies have the ability to offer this type of service, but A1 Auto Transport is proud to be a full-service transport company.

When you work with A1 Auto Transport to ship your heavy equipment, we take the highest safety precautions necessary to ensure your heavy equipment makes it to its destination on time. We provide you with the best rates and the highest quality of service, getting your equipment where you need it without high prices or inefficiency. Shipping your heavy equipment doesn’t have to be complicated, not when you have the best on your side.

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

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Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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