Some things can’t simply ship in a plain brown wrapper. Be it an industrial HVAC unit, a specialized rock truck, or an excavator found for a great price on Machinery Trader, machine shipping poses unique challenges in commercial shipping. The knowledge, tools, and experience required aren’t something to leave to chance. For that reason, many companies turn to Able Transport Solutions to meet their toughest heavy equipment shipping challenges.

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What Counts as Heavy Equipment?

When you’re considering heavy haul shipping, your first question may be, “Is this really ‘heavy’”? A small gas-powered generator wouldn’t be, but an industrial backup generator would. A fan would not be, but a turbine would. A compact car requires less specialized handling than an 80-ton Terex crane or an excavator. Similarly, you could send a window air conditioner via UPS, but you certainly wouldn’t do that with a 30-ton rooftop HVAC unit.

Choosing the Right Freight Shipping Method to Ship Machinery

Identifying the correct shipping method for machinery or heavy equipment begins with an understanding of your freight. Size, weight, and distance are prime considerations in identifying the right equipment for your cargo, as well as calculating cost. You should also determine whether there are special loading, handling, or freight insurance needs that should factor into your decision. Enlisting the help of an experienced 3PL company is a good first step. 

The best options for heavy machinery shipments across the US are:

  • Flatbed
  • Step deck
  • RGN
  • Conestoga

Considerations When Shipping Heavy Hauls

  • Does your shipment need protection?  If it is okay, it can ride on anything. If it needs protection, it will need a conestoga or tarp to protect from elements that could harm the product.
  • Will the trailer line up with the dock? Crane and forklift loads will load on anything. If the machine needs to be loaded from the ground, such as at a jobsite, it will need a step deck with ramps or RGN. In some cases, if the weight is low, it can load on a hotshot with ramps.
  • Will the weight load impact price? If the machine is over 40-45,000 lbs it will need weight permits and over 102 wide or 144 high will need dimensional permits. 

Over the Road Shipping

Many larger items don’t lend themselves to typical shipping methods, to say nothing of the less-specialized service offered by parcel services. Here, you’ll want help identifying and sourcing the right trailer for the heavy haul shipping, be it a flatbed, a gooseneck, a lowboy, double drop deck, or other types of specialized trailer. This is often the most cost-effective shipping choice.


Expected Cost for Heavy Machinery Shipping

Several variables determine commercial shipping costs for heavy machinery.

  • Distance, with costs, often starting at $2.00 per mile, but occasionally increasing based on destination.
  • Time demands; expedited heavy haul shipping commands a premium.
  • Load size, with larger loads commanding higher rates.
  • Special handling, insurance, and permitting issues.
  • The availability of appropriate trucks, trailers, and drivers.
  • The availability of any specialized equipment that’s needed for freight loading and unloading services, or specialized freight services like positioning.

Get a Quote From a Nationwide 3PL Shipping Broker

We understand that every business is as cost-conscious as it is time-sensitive. For that reason, it’s important to choose your shipping broker carefully. Able Transport Solutions leverages every tool in our arsenal — high technology, data, and of course, our and our drivers’ extensive experience — to ensure safe deliveries, on-time, and on budget. Contact us today for a shipping consultation.