6 Types of Ways to Ship Heavy Equipment
If you are moving your heavy equipment on a short distance move, you may be able to have your equipment towed. Having equipment towed does require some prep work to the equipment before it can be towed. For instance, before your machinery can be safely towed, you are going to have to make sure that the tires are in good condition for towing. This is because during the towing process, at least 2 of the tires on the equipment will be in constant contact with the highway. You are going to want to make sure that the tires have plenty of treads and are inflated to the proper level for transport. In addition to making sure the tires are suitable for towing, the vehicle may have to also have the gearbox disengaged or the drive train removed so that the equipment can be safely towed without causing damage to the transmission of the equipment. Specialty towing companies that have experience in towing heavy equipment will have access to all types of tow trucks that can handle all types of and sizes of equipment. The most important thing to keep in mind that this method of transport is only beneficial for short transports.
This is not the ideal method for transporting heavy equipment long distances. This will also only work for heavy equipment that has tires and not tracks. This is ideal for heavy equipment like cargo trucks or moving vans that have broken down and need to be transported to a local shop or a local location. I would never suggest trying to transport heavy equipment in this manner on a route that exceeds 200 miles. Although it can be done, it is probably not the most cost-effective or efficient method of transport for long distances.
Another option for shipping heavy equipment is by utilizing a basic flatbed trailer. These trailers are limited in a couple of different ways. First of all, these trailers typically do not have ramps for loading and unloading. This means that your equipment will have to be loaded and unloaded using a forklift or the pickup and drop-off locations must have a loading dock. Also, these trailers are limited in the size of the equipment that they can transport. Typically these trailers will max out at a length of 48 feet, a width of 8.6 feet, and a height of 8 feet.
They also have a max weight of about 40,000lbs. These trailers typically will transport smaller heavy equipment that does not require permits or any additional escorts. There are rare occasions that these trailers can be used for equipment or loads that require permits or escorts. In most cases, these trailers are used to transport equipment that can be loaded or paired with other pieces of equipment without exceeding the total weights for the trailer. Because these trailers carry partial loads, it is a very economical option for transporting equipment as long as you can overcome the limitations on loading and unloading. This is probably the least likely trailer used for transporting heavy equipment because the lack of ramps does typically present an obstacle that is not easily overcome.
This transport method can be used for local transports and long-distance transports as well. Once again, for long-distance transport, this method is cost-effective as long as you can overcome the barriers for loading and unloading, while also keeping in mind that the equipment also must not exceed the max specs for the trailer. IF you have equipment that will fit and can be loaded this is a very valid option for shipping your heavy equipment.
Another option for heavy equipment transporting is using a hotshot trailer. These are considered intermediate trailers because they are restrictive in not only specs but also in the total weight they can carry. Companies that transport heavy equipment utilize these types of trailers all the time. They are usually very convenient in transporting heavy equipment but there are restrictions for these trailers as well. These trailers are usually pulled using a heavy-duty pickup truck rather than a semi-truck. They can vary in length from 20 feet to 40 feet.
The biggest downside to these trailers is that most of them can only transport a total weight of 18,000lbs. Sometimes they can carry a little more but they are very restricted when it comes to weights that they can carry. Just like the flatbed trailers, they will max out at a width of 8.6 feet. However, they have a max height on average of about 10.6 feet. These trailers are typically best for what we would consider light-heavy equipment. And because of the smaller size of the trailers and the fact that they are pulled using pickup trucks, they are much more versatile when it comes to maneuverability. They can get into tighter and more restrictive areas that a larger transport trailer may not be able to get to. Hotshot trailers will almost always have ramps attached for loading and unloading purposes.
You will also find that transporting costs for hotshot trailers are going to be on average more expensive because of the versatility offered by these trailers. Even though they are restricted by weight, they are very accommodating for heavy equipment that does not exceed 18,000lbs. Keep in mind that these trailers are hardly ever used for heavy equipment that requires any additional permitting for transport. So if you need to transport a piece of equipment that requires permits or if the height is taller than 10.6 feet, or if the weight exceeds 18,000lbs, this trailer will not be an option for you.
PARTIAL LOAD TRAILERS
The most common trailer for transporting heavy equipment is a Step Deck Trailer. These trailers can come with us without ramps. Typically these trailers will max out at a length of 53 feet, a width of 8.6 feet, and a height of 10.6 feet. They also have a max weight of about 40,000lbs. These trailers are versatile for heavy equipment transports because they are able to accommodate a much heavier weight than the hotshot trailers.
In most cases, because of the length and the weight that is permissible for these trailers, you will find these trailers transporting multiple pieces of equipment at one time. As long as the total length of all the items on the trailer does not exceed 53 feet in total length and the weight does not exceed 40,000lbs. At the same time, these trailers can be used to transport items that require permits. But keep in mind that when a single piece of equipment requires a permit for transporting, you have to transport that piece of equipment by itself. The most common permit type for these trailers is usually width permits. If a unit is wider than 8.6 feet but does not exceed 12 feet, it can still be transported with the only requirement being a width permitting.
If your equipment requires a permit, you will be charged for not only the permits but also for the use of the whole trailer since your permitted load has to be transported by itself. However, if you have a standard load that does not require permits, this is the most cost-effective trailer to transport your equipment on because it can be paired with another piece of equipment for transport and it can save o money because the trailer is being shared for multiple pieces of equipment.
Because heavy equipment is usually extremely heavy and large, the trailer used for transport has to be able to accommodate it. The first of such trailers that were designed especially for transporting heavy equipment is a double drop trailer. These trailers are ideal for transporting heavy equipment with the only issue being the fact that they are slightly restricted in the height that they can carry. Typically these trailers will max out at a length of 53 feet, a width of 8.6 feet, and a height of 11.5 feet. They also have a max weight of about 40,000lbs. There are different variations of these trailers that will allow them to accommodate much longer loads and much heavier loads. These trailers are commonly dedicated to single pieces of equipment at a time.
They are also used to accommodating loads that also require permits. Because these trailers are lower to the ground they have the ability to accommodate much taller pieces of equipment. Keeping in mind that as equipment gets heavier, it typically will become bigger in its dimensions as well. Because these trailers typically carry single pieces of equipment at a time, the cost for transporting on these trailers is much more expensive than using a step-deck trailer and transporting your equipment as a partial load. These trailers also are good for heavy equipment because they do not require ramps for loading. The trailer actually disconnects from the trailer harness and lays flat on the ground so that the equipment can be driven directly onto the trailer.
This is really convenient for heavy pieces of equipment that cannot be driven onto ramps for safety reasons. Because of this, these trailers are ideal for transporting equipment that requires permitting for width, weight, and height. These trailers are specially equipped for transporting heavy equipment.
OVERSIZE LOAD TRAILERS
The most common heavy equipment trailer is the RGN trailer. These trailers are the premier trailer type for transporting heavy equipment. These trailers are ideal for transporting heavy equipment. Typically these trailers will max out at a length of 53 feet, a width of 8.6 feet, and a height of 12.6 feet. They also have the ability to transport weights that far exceed 100,000lbs. Like the double drop trailers, this trailer also disconnects from the trailer harness and lays flat on the ground so that the equipment can be driven directly onto the trailer.
These trailers are designed especially for tall equipment. Although the total length of the trailer may be up to 53 feet, they have what is called a good space. This is the part of the trailer that sits down in between the tires on the trailer. This space is anywhere from 26 feet to 32 feet. Once again there are variations of these trailers that can accommodate a much larger well space if needed. Drivers that operate these trailers understand the permitting and escorting process for heavy loads. They are usually accustomed to transporting heavy equipment and have a vast amount of knowledge for heavy load restrictions from state to state.
Keep in mind that if a permit is required, some states restrict movement of restricted loads to daylight hours only and in some cases no weekend transports. On average, transporting heavy equipment on a trailer such as this can require a longer transport time if there are travel restrictions. RGN trailers are big and very sturdy. The maneuverability of these trailers is restrictive because of their size and the fact that they are so low on the ground. These trailers can easily get stuck if they are driven over surfaces that do not have a solid foundation.