How to Ship Construction Equipment to the Job Site

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Shipping construction equipment to a job site can be challenging and time-consuming. You need to consider several factors when transporting your gear, such as preparation, communication, and compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. In addition, you need to make sure your property reaches its destination in one piece, so you can minimize disruptions.

Let’s see what you need to do to haul your construction equipment safely and efficiently to your job site.

Construction Equipment Transportation 101

Shipping heavy equipment to a job site might seem intimidating, but it’s much easier if you hire a seasoned transportation company. Working with professionals provides many benefits, which you can check out at

Still, you’ll need to do some of the work yourself to ensure your machines go through the transit intact. The following tips will help you do so:

Create a Transportation Plan

You need to consider many details before hiring a transportation company, depending on the equipment you want to haul and its destination. Here are some of those considerations:

Cargo Size

If you’re relocating heavy equipment, such as bulldozers or excavators, they may be categorized as oversized load. In this case, you’ll need to get the appropriate permits from the Department of Transportation (DOT). An experienced shipper can help you obtain the licenses.


Weather is another major factor you need to take into account when transporting heavy equipment to a job site. Rather than haul your gear in severe rainstorms or snow, you might want to postpone the relocation to avoid compromising your investment. Adverse conditions can cause costly accidents and disrupt your operations indefinitely.

State Regulations

If you need to take your cargo through several states, you’ll also need special permits. These verify your equipment adheres to various laws throughout its journey. If you’ve never hauled machines across different state lines, consult a transportation company to learn more about the necessary licenses.

Loading/Unloading Destinations

You also need to consider the accessibility of your equipment during the loading and unloading stages. Both processes must be performed on suitable terrain to minimize instability issues.

Look for a Trusted Provider

Once you have a basic idea of what your equipment transport will look like, it’s time to find a company that will carry out the shipping.

To do so, you should ask for recommendations from your colleagues or others from your industry. You can also do some internet research to find reliable local machinery transporters.

Shortlist suitable providers and contact their customer service. Be sure they can haul your machinery with the proper equipment. Additionally, verify they’re insured, bonded, licensed, and have appropriate DOT permits. If they lack any of these, you could be dealing with disreputable companies or providers that operate illegally.

Choose Your Shipping Method

After selecting the company that will haul your construction equipment to the job site, you’ll need to choose your shipping method. There are several options:

Container Shipping

This might be the most common transportation method for carrying machinery. It provides many benefits, such as simple loading and unloading in standard 40- or 20-foot containers.

However, this method might not work if you plan on relocating cranes or other large machinery because it might not fit. You may still be able to haul your gear this way, but you’d need to disassemble it.

Lift-On/Lift-Off Shipping

Lift-on/lift-off shipping normally includes a crane that lifts your excavators or other heavy equipment in and out of the transportation vehicle. It’s a straightforward method, but it can be more expensive than others because it requires crane services.

Roll-On/Roll-Off Shipping

Roll-on/roll-off shipping is another simple loading method. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for machines you can roll, such as wheeled containers, ship decks, and trailers. These machines are ideal for this type of hauling because you can easily load them into a shipping vessel.

Flat Rack Shipping

Finally, you might be best off hauling your construction equipment using flat-rack containers. These containers have short walls and no roofs. This allows your transporter to load them more easily from the top or sides. The method is an excellent choice for timber and pipe trucks, boats, and other oversized gear.

Flat-rack containers typically measure between 20 and 40 feet. A 20-foot flat-rack container can haul up to two tons, whereas a 40-foot container can bear twice as much weight. Both solutions are constructed from steel and have softwood flooring.

You may think this shipping method is insecure due to the open top and short walls, but that’s not the case. Flat-rack containers usually come with lashing rings on the floor, corners, and side rails. The provider secures the gear using a chain or web lashing. Some companies even have lashing winches, stanchions, and latching belts for additional support and protection of your cargo.

As a result, security is rarely an issue when shipping your equipment to the job site in flat-rack containers.

Prepare Your Construction Equipment

Before your shipping provider arrives, you’ll need to prepare your construction equipment. In most cases, you’ll need to drain oil, fuel, and other fluids, disconnect the batteries, and secure loose pieces.

Don’t forget to wash your equipment too. Machinery caked in debris and mud increases the weight of the cargo, raising the cost of the service.

You may also need to adjust hoists and booms to meet certain height regulations. Additionally, some states require you to detach the blades from your excavators.

For more information about preparing your gear for transport, check your instruction manual and consult your shipping provider.

Document the Condition of Your Equipment

The last step is to take photos of your construction equipment before the shipper carries it to the job site. This way, you can document the condition of your property, which can later be used as evidence when filing an insurance claim in case of damage.

Breeze Through Your Heavy Machinery Transportation

The key to ensuring smooth construction equipment relocation to a job site is to work with a trustworthy provider. Besides having the right licensing, they should also keep you up-to-date with the shipment status. This lets you make any necessary arrangements on the job site if there is a delay and resume your operations to stay on schedule.