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Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. This Is How You Can Make Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas Easy
  2. Working with an Expert
  3. Understanding How Trade Works in the United States (Simplified)
  4. But it isn’t that easy
  5. Determining Import and Export Requirements for Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas
  6. Here are a few other details you should know
  7. Duties, Taxes, and Tariffs
  8. Importing / Exporting on Your Own
  9. Importing / Exporting with Help
  10. Measuring Your Heavy Machinery
  11. Roll-On Roll-Off Method
  12. Disassembling Your Vehicle
  13. Check the Legitimacy of Your Shipping Contacts
  14. Don’t make this mistake!
  15. Know Your Budget
  16. Relevant Statistics
  17. General Facts
  18. Here’s what we recommend you do
Shipping Heavy Equipment with expertise to Germany, Netherlands, and Houston, Texas

This Is How You Can Make Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas Easy

The idea of shipping heavy machinery overseas may seem difficult at first glance. After all, these types of machines are large, heavy, and require a lot of preparation to ship properly.

.Heavy Equipment Pricing & Time To Ship Examples

Shipping To/FroMCostDistanceEstimated Time In Transit
San Antonio to Columbus$1745997 miles3 - 5 days
Scottsdale to Charlotte$733419 miles3 - 5 days
Nashville to Detroit$1622927 miles3 - 5 days
Paterson to Jackson$11264 miles2 - 3 days
Bridgeport to Bellevue$50842905 miles6 - 8 days
Surprise to Syracuse$41752386 miles6 - 8 days
Cedar Rapids to Columbia$443253 miles3 - 5 days
Norman to Fargo$1561892 miles3 - 5 days

If you are looking to ship a piece of heavy machinery internationally, there are several things you will want to consider before you get started.

  1. Will you handle the shipping process or will you hire an expert to oversee it?
  2. Does your heavy equipment have any special import or export restrictions?
  3. Do you have to pay any taxes or duties on your heavy equipment?
  4. Have you properly measured and weighed your piece of heavy machinery?
  5. Do you have legitimate shipping contacts that can help with your needs?
  6. What kind of budget are you working with?
  7. Are you considering Ro-Ro shipping or container shipping?

All of these questions are important to ask as they deal with specific portions of international heavy equipment transportation.

Budget for air freight - cranes, forklifts, straps, threads, and other packaging materials based on size of shipping container

Working with an Expert

If you are new to international shipping, it is highly recommended that you work with an expert.

All too often people try and take on international shipping without any help.

Guess what happens almost every time?

They cut corners, they ignore import and export laws, they misclassify their shipments, and they get into trouble with the government, and sometimes their items get lost or damaged in the process.

International trade is a serious industry that is overseen by many major government departments from the origin port to the destination country. The last thing you want to do is get into trouble with the government because you didn’t do your research properly.

Understanding How Trade Works in the United States (Simplified)

In the United States, the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, and the Department of Treasury all oversee trade. Each of these departments has its own extensive list of rules, their own classification systems, and consist of a lot of red tape that can be stressful to try and understand.

When it comes to shipping heavy equipment overseas, you need to be aware of what classification codes your machinery falls under as well.

Any goods or load that are deemed to have military use have to be classified as such.

Heavy Machinery - Expertise and customs forms - loading and unloading of trucks - Get shipping guidelines

But it isn’t that easy.

Something as simple as a ball bearing can be classified as a military good if it can be used in both civilian and military vehicles. Now you see where it gets confusing.

You also cannot ship heavy machinery to a nation that is involved in the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction or any country that the U.S. has placed sanctions on. These nations are often referred to as restricted or prohibited countries.

For a full list of these countries, check out the Department of Treasury’s website.

In addition, you also have to consider several other factors like:

  • Are you trading with a restricted party?
  • Have you screened your import or export against denied party lists?
  • Do you have proper paperwork and document for the piece of heavy equipment?
  • Did you file all the proper paperwork for the shipment?
  • Do you have money set aside to pay the required customs fees and other shipping costs?
  • Does your shipping company have a good risk management policy?

The shipping process can quickly become overwhelming when you consider that breaking any of these rules can lead to massive fines and even criminal charges.

Save yourself the trouble and hire an expert.

Determining Import and Export Requirements for Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas

By now you are probably leaning towards hiring a shipping company to help you oversee the international heavy equipment transportation process.

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Here are a few other details you should know

  • You have to determine which classification codes your piece of heavy equipment require as determined under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
  • You can file your export license application online through the Bureau of Industry and Security. Most heavy machinery will require you to fill out a Simplified Network Application Process Redesign (SNAP-R) application.
  • You will have to determine if the country you are importing to has their own regulations regarding shipping heavy equipment overseas. Even though the United States may approve its export, your target country may not.
  • Heavy equipment is also regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – meaning that anything you import will have to conform to U.S. emissions regulations.
  • Is the heavy machinery a tractor or a piece of construction equipment? The government classifies the two very differently.

We always advise that you work with an experienced shipping company, especially if it is your first time engaging in international shipping.

A lot of things can go wrong when shipping heavy equipment and the experience and contacts that a shipping company has will provide you with peace of mind. For example, you'll need to know the shipping method and how your items will be handled. You don't want exposure to the elements, inclement weather conditions, and other risks during sea freight. This is why you should only hand over your loads to experts.

Shipping Heavy Equipment in containers - Ports, trailer, shipping options, quick steps, safety standards, and others

Duties, Taxes, and Tariffs

The amount you will pay in duties, taxes, and tariffs will vary based on where you are importing or exporting your heavy machinery from.

For example, if a piece of heavy machinery was legitimately manufactured in North America, you will be able to import it to the U.S. duty free as per the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).

Importing / Exporting on Your Own

If you elect to import or export on your own, you will want to do extensive research on the specific country you are looking to trade with. As a general rule, anything North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) is duty free, while various other countries including in Europe will have their own duty rates and customs clearance process for both importing and exporting.

You will also be required to pay a fees to your broker, any shipping companies you work with, and for any applications that have costs associated with them.

Don’t be surprised as the costs mount. Shipping on your own is really expensive. There are a lot of fees.

Importing / Exporting with Help

You will still pay the same fees when you work with a dedicated shipping company, but you will save yourself a lot of trouble.

Importing and exporting heavy equipment overseas isn’t easy. There are a lot of regulations, tons of paperwork, and many opportunities for you to make a mistake if you try and do it on your own.

Reputable shipping companies have created a business specifically to deal with shipping goods. Here at A1 Transport, we specialize in shipping vehicles, heavy machinery, and other large objects.

Duties Taxes And Tariffs - Everything about Shipping Heavy Equipment - helicopters, cars, heavy trucks, tow truck, and all kinds of equipment size

Measuring Your Heavy Machinery

One of the best ways to get the most value out of your heavy equipment shipment is to properly measure and weigh your machine. Knowing the specifications of your vehicle will help you negotiate the best shipping rates and it may save you a lot of regulatory trouble.

Roll-On Roll-Off Method

This is one of the most popular methods for shipping vehicles. As the name suggests, a piece of heavy equipment is rolled-on and rolled-off its shipping bed, or the deck or flat rack of the vessel.

When using this method, rates are often determined by the heavy equipment’s weight per ton or its dimensions in cubic meters (whichever is greater). The other method is container shipping using forklifts or cranes.

Disassembling Your Vehicle

Certain countries may require that you disassemble a piece of heavy machinery before shipping it. This is something you will want to avoid at all costs as it will cost you additional labor to put the heavy equipment back together.

Check the Legitimacy of Your Shipping Contacts

It should no longer come as a surprise to you how challenging it is to ship heavy machinery across international borders. Shipping large pieces of machinery requires careful attention to many specifics, any one of which could cause a major problem if overlooked. Many newcomers to the international trade industry make the mistake of putting their faith in the incorrect individuals.

Don’t make this mistake!

If you are going to try and import or export heavy equipment overseas, take the time to verify that the people you are working with are legitimate. There are a lot of cases of fraud taking place in the world of international shipping – don’t become a victim.

This is why it is important that you work with an experienced shipping company. We spent decades building our international contacts, sourcing the best prices, and developing relationships that we are willing to stake our reputation on.

Heavy equipment is expensive, protect that investment by taking the time to verify any individuals or companies that you are planning to work for. The last thing you want to happen is to lose a major purchase because of a reversed payment, lost shipment, or other regulatory tape.

Working With An Expert with international equipment shipping capabilities - shipping heavy machinery in containers of different size -

Know Your Budget

We mentioned it before, but were going to say it again.

International heavy equipment transportation can be expensive. There are a lot of forms to fill out, a lot of rules to follow, you often have to pay duty and taxes, and you will have to pay fees to customs, your brokerage agent, shipping company, and any other services you require to complete the shipment.

If you don’t have connections in the industry, the costs can be staggering.

Relevant Statistics

  • Over 95% of heavy equipment manufacturers rely on international shipping to export their products.
  • The average weight of heavy equipment shipped overseas is approximately 32 tons.
  • Approximately 78% of all heavy equipment shipped overseas originates from North America.
  • The global market for heavy equipment shipping is estimated to be worth over $10 billion annually.
  • On average, it takes around 25 days for heavy equipment to be transported from one continent to another via sea freight.

General Facts

  • Shipping heavy equipment overseas involves transporting large machinery or vehicles to international destinations.
  • Specialized shipping companies handle the logistics of transporting heavy equipment, including securing permits and ensuring compliance with customs regulations.
  • Heavy equipment can be shipped via various modes of transportation, such as container ships, roll-on/roll-off vessels, or even by air in certain cases.
  • Prior to shipping, proper packaging and securing of the equipment is essential to prevent damage during transit.
  • Shipping heavy equipment overseas requires careful planning and coordination, considering factors like weight restrictions, dimensions, and country-specific import requirements.

Here’s what we recommend you do

Give A1 Transport a call. Tony has been helping business people like yourself ship heavy equipment around the world for decades.

Before you start the international shipping process for your heavy equipment, determine your budget. Price out how much you can afford to pay for each leg of the shipping process. Here are a few things to consider:

  • How much is the heavy equipment itself?
  • What are the shipping fees (brokerage, shipping, packing, etc.)?
  • Do you have to pay duty or tax?
  • Are you doing business with an approved country?

Determining your budget is essential if you want to go into the international heavy equipment shipping process with a plan.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of shipping your heavy equipment – contact us through our website today.

Shipping Heavy Equipment Overseas and international destination with insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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
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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