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Shipping Large Equipment
Shipping Large Equipment

FAQs About Shipping Large Equipment – What You Need To Know 

If you want to ship large equipment such as construction equipment, mining equipment, farm equipment, or any other kind of industrial equipment, you may have a lot of questions about the process. In this guide from A-1 Auto Transport, we’re here to help. 

We’ll discuss a few of the most common questions that customers ask when they’re shipping large, heavy equipment, and provide you with all of the answers you need to ship your machinery and equipment with confidence. Let’s get started.

What Is The Average Cost Of Shipping Large Equipment? 

The cost of shipping large equipment is usually somewhere between $1.75 per mile for long-haul jobs and can be as high as $5 per mile for short-haul jobs. The cost depends on a wide variety of factors including the size and weight of the equipment, whether or not it’s self-propelled, how far it’s being shipped, and more. 

Let’s discuss a few of these factors in more detail now. 

  • Distance of shipment – The per-mile rate falls as the distance of your shipment grows. A 50-mile trip may incur a rate of $4 per mile, for example, but a 1,000-mile trip may be charged at $2 per mile. However, you’ll still pay more for a longer trip, even though the per-mile rate is lower.
  • Size and weight of equipment – Another main determining factor in the cost of shipping your large equipment is its overall dimensions and weight. Larger, bulkier equipment will almost always be more expensive to move compared to smaller equipment. 
  • Self-propulsion – A self-propelled piece of equipment like a skid steer, bulldozer, or tractor can be simply driven on and off a trailer during shipment, simplifying the process immensely. Equipment that is stationary or is not self-propelled will be more expensive and complex to load and unload.
  • Oversize load designation – Oversize loads are always more expensive to transport compared to standard loads, and must meet a number of state and federal requirements to be transported legally and safely. Your shipping company must also hire one or more pilot cars, in most cases. Sometimes, oversize load designation is unavoidable, but it will always add more costs to your shipping job. 
  • Availability of shipping jobs near your destination – This can be a concern when shipping goods like farm equipment to very rural areas that are 100-200 miles or further from a population center. If there are no freight jobs near your destination, the driver will have to “deadhead” to the nearest job, which will add more costs to your shipping job.

Will My Large Equipment Qualify As An Oversize Load?

The answer is “it depends.” Oversize load designation varies on a state-by-state basis – as an example, what applies in Ohio may not apply in New York. However, most states classify any load wider than 8’ 5” or higher than 14’ 6” to be an “oversize load.” 

In addition, some states and areas have requirements for vehicle weight, as well. Loads that exceed 80,000 lbs gross weight, for example, may be designated as an oversize load, even if they do not exceed oversize load dimensions.

If your equipment does qualify as an oversize load, it will need special permits for each state that it will travel through. It may also need an “escort car” or “pilot car” to travel alongside it, and it will need special banners and lights to alert other road users to its presence. Your freight company will make the necessary arrangements during the process. 

It’s sometimes possible to avoid an oversize load designation. Partial disassembly of a piece of large equipment may allow you to reduce its weight or dimensions to the extent that it can be shipped without being classified as an oversize load. We recommend that you consult with your team and your shipping company to see if this makes sense for your job. 

How Will My Large Equipment Be Shipped?

Usually, the only option for shipping a piece of large equipment is to load it into a flatbed trailer, such as a lowboy or a step-deck trailer. These types of flatbed trailers are preferred because they reduce the height of your load – making it less likely that it will qualify as an oversize load.

It is typically not possible or desirable to ship large equipment within an enclosed trailer. This is only possible for some types of relatively small machinery like skid-steer loaders or small farm tractors. 

Even then, it does not make much sense to choose an enclosed trailer, because this option is more expensive. And while it does provide some protection from the elements, this is not usually a concern for large equipment that will be exposed to the weather in the line of duty. 

Do I Need To Buy Insurance When Shipping Large Equipment?

The federal government requires that heavy haul truck companies have $100,000 in cargo insurance. However, some carriers offer policies of up to $1 million for your equipment. It’s best to consult with your carrier to see how much insurance they have, and to ensure your equipment doesn’t exceed their coverage limit.

If you do need additional insurance on your shipment due to its high value, your heavy haul trucking partner will typically be able to contact the insurance company on your behalf and get your shipment insured. You will be responsible for paying an additional fee, but this can be as low as $10 per $100,000 of covered value, so it’s always worth buying additional coverage.

Can I Ship Broken-Down Or Inoperable Large Equipment?

If you need to ship a self-propelled piece of equipment that is inoperable – such as a bulldozer with a failed engine – you may be wondering if this is possible. The answer is “yes,” but you’ll pay additional fees and costs to do so, since the shipping company must use special equipment to load and unload inoperable vehicles.

Unless you are specifically shipping the equipment to be repaired because it cannot be repaired on-site, it may be worth considering the cost of repairing it before shipment. In some cases, it may make more financial sense to restore the equipment to an operable state in order to save on the high fees and costs of loading and unloading during the shipping process.

Need Help Shipping Large Equipment? Got More Questions? Get In Touch With Us Now! 

At A-1 Auto Transport, we’re leading shipping brokers for large equipment in the United States, and we have an extensive network of skilled, qualified professionals who can help you move equipment and machinery of any size.

If you have questions or need a quote for moving your large equipment, don't wait. Contact A-1 Auto Transport online now, or give us a call at  (800) 452-2880 to speak with an agent and get the help you need right away.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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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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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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