Heavy Equipment Transport Basics

Heavy Equipment Transport Basics

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William Thomas / January 2021

Best Practices in Heavy Equipment Transport and Delivery

Transporting heavy equipment from the point of loading to its final destination can be a smooth, safe, and seamless shipping process if the pre-planning phase is done right. This is because planning for heavy equipment delivery is the most crucial part. Below are some of the best practices heavy equipment transport expert follow for a success hauling process;

Mapping the Route: Most clients prefer when the equipment arrives at its delivery location on a given day and time. To make this possible, a detailed and diligent mapping of the routes to be followed is not an alternative but the only way. Take, for example, a lowboy trailer transporting a 9 ft. tall heavy machinery and personnel determining the route to be followed successfully avoided all busy roads. They were also thorough enough to avoid any highways with overpasses marked 8.5 ft. limit. The truck delivering the machinery will arrive at the desired destination safely and in time. The vice versa is also true; if the logistic team missed one detail and load was too tall for a certain road, the towing crew would be forced to reroute results to delays and more shipping  costs.

Prior arrangements for pickups and drop-offs: Adequate planning for the loading of the heavy equipment beforehand improves the speed, efficiency, and safety of all processes during the actual loading. The grounds will be stabilized, all handling equipment and personnel will be available, obstacles cleared, securement system inspected, and all paperwork and acquisition of necessary permits completed. With prior arrangements, the same effectiveness will be witnessed at the drop-offs, making the entire towing process smooth, safe, and fast.

Learning all the regulations and restrictions of all the states and provinces that the truck will be towing through before starting the delivery process. And ensuring that the drivers comply with all of them during the transport of heavy equipment.

Other best practices include:

  • Ensuring that the transport experts are updated with any revised regulations in a good time.
  • Working with competent, highly trained, and licensed transport crew in every heavy equipment moving tasks.
  • Strictly following the safety guidelines and protocols at all time
  • Using the right equipment and trailer for transport.
  • Following the established guidelines while undertaking any heavy equipment shipping task. No taking shortcuts whatsoever.

Technologies Used in Heavy Equipment Transport Industry

Below is a brief description of the technologies that have revolutionized the heavy equipment transport industry.

Dynamic Routing Software: With the advancement in communication and transport technologies, better and more efficient navigation systems have been developed. Modern heavy hauling trucks are now equipped with navigation systems that use GPRS and GPS to guide the truck driver through the most convenient roads. Using this technology, drivers are now able to avoid roads with major traffic and extreme weather that would otherwise hinder the hauling process.

Collision Mitigation Technology: Modern towing tractors are installed with digital cameras and sensors that enable the truck to take autonomous braking actions to avoid colliding with other road users.

Other technologies that have significantly impacted the transport industry are.

  • Trailer Tracking
  • Electronic Logging Devices
  • Driver Scorecards Technology
  • Autonomous Handling Equipment
  • Scheduling Software
  • Load Optimization Software Etc.

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Basic Terms Used in Transport and Shipping

Terms used in the day to day moving of heavy equipment include;

  • Axle Load
  • Deadhead and Backhaul
  • Just in Time (JIT)
  • Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)
  • Long-Haul
  • Truckload (TL)
  • Proof of Delivery (POD)

See more definitions in our Heavy Equipment Transport Glossary

Common Types of Trailers Used in Heavy Equipment Transport

In heavy equipment transport, there is a wide array of types of trailer of varying designs and sizes for moving different loads. Flatbeds are the most common type of trailers designed to deliver oversize or overweight loads. Heavy equipment hauling industry deals with abnormally large, tall, and heavy loads that cannot fit in conventional commercial vehicles.

The most common type of trailers used in transporting heavy loads includes;

A Flatbed Trailer: As the name implies; a flatbed trailer has no roof or walls but a flat platform covered with a strong wooden board. Flatbeds are designed that way to allow fast and easy loading and offloading from all sides. Also, the trailers can haul a load of different shapes and sizes, especially those that cannot fit in an enclosed trailer.

Step-Deck Trailers: These are flatbed trailers with a raised bed (step deck) at the front end and a long flat open flatbed. They are designed this way to have a lower center of gravity so that they can tow taller loads.

Specialty Trailers; These trailers are built for a special purpose and to specification. A good example is a trailer built to deliver gas or trailers built to tow hazardous materials. Due to the sensitive nature of specialty trailers, they require a special permit, and the driver must have special license.

Lowboy Trailers: These are also known as double drop trailers or low bed trailers. Lowboy trailers have two drops at the deck so that the long flat end can be as close to the ground as possible. The low clearance helps in shipping huge and tall equipment that other trailers cannot move due to maximum height limits.

Other common trailer Types include;

  • Removable Gooseneck Trailers (RGN)
  • Dry Van or Enclosed Trailers
  • Refrigerated Trailers
  • Side-Kit Trailers
  • Multi-Car Trailer, Etc

Heavy Equipment Shipping 101: Classes of Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment plays an essential role in the growth of the economy. Its usage cuts across all activities in residential and commercial sectors. This makes the transport and shipping of heavy equipment a very critical process not just in the daily activities of people but also in the operations of companies, businesses, and mining industries. Based on the type of operations, heavy equipment can be classified as;

  • Earth Moving / Excavating Equipment
  • Equipment Handling / Lifting Equipment
  • Paving and Surface Treatment Equipment
  • Compaction Equipment
  • Hauling and Loading Equipment
  • Grading and Finishing Equipment