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Ship Heavy Equipment

How To Ship Heavy Equipment Long Distance

There are many stresses that come with moving heavy, expensive equipment to a long-distance location, but with proper planning and execution, it can be done with minimal strain.

With this guide, you can receive the vital information needed to avoid possible conflicts that may result from improper moving protocol. If the appropriate procedure is not followed, issues such as human injury and damage to expensive equipment can easily occur.

The fundamental aspects of making this move seamless are found in both communication and planning with high-experience contractors.

We are here to lend a hand in helping ensure your machinery gets safely and efficiently.

Step 1: Have a Proper Plan

If you’ve ever moved from home to home, you’d know it is not a one-day unprepared task. Moving takes in-depth planning to assure flawless transportation of material; the same goes for heavy machinery and equipment.

When formulating a plan to move equipment, consider:

  • If your machinery qualifies with oversized load criteria, identify and obtain any necessary permits by contacting the proper authorities such as your state Department of Transportation or Highway Administration. They can inform you about road restrictions or if you need escort vehicles.
  • If you plan to travel through multiple states or territories for any portion of your trip, identify and ensure state laws are followed in all locations. You may consider consulting an expert, as this form of travel can be difficult and legal implications can arise.
  • Set a location where materials will be loaded and unloaded. Keep in mind if the chosen location has enough space and proper areas for the job – this includes ground stability, condition, and terrain. For example, If you are moving a heavy machine and there is an unstable marsh, you may want to consider another viable alternative location.
  • Weather can make or break a move – unstable conditions are not preferable for heavy equipment transfer. Rain, snow, icy conditions, or other natural weather conditions should be prepared beforehand and avoided as much as possible. Weather can often be unpredictable, so prepare for the unexpected.

Step 2: Find a Transporter

The most critical aspect of planning your move is finding the right transporter. A1 Auto Transport for example is one of the most reputed and nationally listed transporters with experience in the industry of moving heavy machinery. Always check if the company you are interested in provides long-distance services or if they solely transport within a local area.

When you find a prospective transporter, questions you can ask them to include:

  • Are they prepared with the proper equipment for heavy machinery movement, such as trucks, trailers, ramps, and securing equipment? Can they obtain these materials if not previously obtained? If this prospective mover does not have these, find a different transporter.
  • Is the transporter aware of the necessary procedures and guidelines for loading and carrying heavy gear? You want to make sure you have a knowledgeable transporter, so ensure they can answer this question thoroughly.
  • Can the drivers operate the equipment you are moving and are they qualified to do so? If not, someone who can be at both loading and unloading locations.
  • How much experience does the prospective transporter have in long-distance moves? You want someone with a history in long-distance moving since it requires more familiarity.

Step 3: Preparing for Loading

You now have a plan and transporter solidified, and it’s time to start move preparation. Getting equipment ready for the move can avoid damage or loss of items. When preparing the heavy machinery, keep in mind of:

  • Dirt and debris should be cleared off of the machinery. You should remove anything that can fall off the equipment during the trip, since these pieces can shift, fall, and damage other vehicles or move the load while transport is in progress.
  • Does the item being moved have rubber tires? If so, verify tire pressure since low pressure can cause the tie-downs to loosen during the trip. Some transporters may recommend certain treatment of tires prior to their arrival, so consult them with any questions or concerns.
  • Are friction devices needed? They are ideal when the transport vehicle is being used and the area of attachment on the equipment is slick, such as metal on a metal flat. You should have these friction devices arranged before the arrival of the transporter to ensure smooth loading.
  • Clear the area of loading so there are no obstacles in the way. Double-check the location for solid ground that is reachable by the trailer your machine will be loaded on. If the load cannot be reached, your entire planning could turn out to be a wasted effort.
  • Check that all personal items are removed from machineries, such as any add-ons or lucky rabbit’s foot.

Step 4: Loading

Your contractor has arrived with the truck being used for transport, and it’s now time to load your equipment onboard. To ensure safety during the load, make sure to:

  • Only operate equipment that you are qualified to operate. If you are unqualified to do so, hire an operator beforehand.
  • Place the machinery beside the vehicle to avoid forward motion, unless there are significant weight restrictions or conditions.
  • When fastening securement devices, be cautious of their placement over hydraulic hoses or cylinders. Damage to these parts can be expensive to properly clean up.
  • The machine manufacturer’ selected connection points and securement recommendations to ensure a safe and strong connection of the machinery. If you are unsure of these locations, it may be ideal to hire a technician for the specific equipment to provide proper knowledge.
  • Always use strong attachment points and avoid questionable ones, including for their strength or stability. If anyone has concerns or uncertainties about a specific point, it’s always smart to avoid its use. Having your equipment fall isn’t worth the risk.
  • Whenever possible, use chains made for the appropriate weight to secure heavy machinery. It should be locked in to prevent snapping, which could potentially be deadly.
  • Devices such as wedges and chocks should be individually secured and used to stop wheel roll.

Step 5: Communication

If you are not completing the haul yourself and have separate transporter:

  • Stay in contact with your transporter for the whole duration of the trip. They are not responsible for your equipment, you are. Just because it leaves your initial possession doesn’t mean it isn’t your duty to guarantee its safety.
  • Make sure the driver stays in contact and updates you as frequently as possible. If there are any updates in route, location, arrival status, or any issues that arise, you should be aware in order to inform the receiver.

For legal and insurance purposes, contact information and records of the company that provided the specific transporter should be maintained. They should be contacted in case a problem arises.

Final Thoughts

Confirm the heavy machinery has reached its destination location and that every task is completed before payment to the transporter should be made. The receiver should note and capture any damaged or lost items, so you can discuss issues with the carrier or provider.

Congratulations! You just completed a long-distance heavy equipment haul. This is a rare task, possibly once in a lifetime, and should be thought of as such. The time and preparation this move takes are vast, and successful distance moves require significant effort. Appropriate preparation is what makes this move run smoothly.

Remember, safety is interest! Don’t endanger the equipment and an individual’s safety by being unprepared.

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