How to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Shipping (5 Easy Tips)

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How to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Shipping (5 Easy Tips)

Shipping heavy equipment is a serious task, one that can go wrong when not done properly. However, it’s also a necessary one, as construction companies all over the world need trucks, bulldozers, dump trucks, concrete mixers and cranes.

But the last thing you want to deal with is costly parts becoming damaged along the way, as this can lead to injuries on the job site.

This makes it all the more important to ensure that your heavy equipment is loaded and secured while following local regulations. By preparing beforehand, you minimize the risk of accidents and increase the overall safety of everyone involved. Follow the tips outlined in this blog to better prepare your heavy equipment to be shipped.

The Best Ways to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Shipment

Follow these tips to ensure your heavy equipment is ready for transportation and reaches its destination safely.

  1. Go Through the Owner’s Manual

Also referred to as the service manual, it offers specific instructions to prepare heavy equipment for transportation, whether by the ocean or otherwise.  The manual contains details of components that need to be tied down, how to secure moving parts and proper weights and measurements that will be useful during transportation. It tells you whether the alarm and battery need to be disconnected.

  1. Think About Rust-Proofing

When transporting heavy equipment overseas, machinery may sit in the open air on a cargo ship, exposed to rain, wind and saltwater. This can lead to corrosion which can compromise its ability to function.

But there are protective measures you can take, including anti-corrosion treatments. Depending on the condition and size of the equipment, you can use one of the following protective methods:

  • Plating

Typically comprised of tin and zinc, plating offers an additional layer to avoid corrosion. A combination of both offers enhanced protection against chemical damage and abrasion.

  • Galvanizing

In this method, machinery is coated in layers of zinc and steel. The final layer is generally pure zinc since it’s shock absorbent. This outer layer protects equipment against impacts and jostling during transport and lasts many years. This type of coating requires no additional maintenance and doesn’t peel or chip.

  • Painting

Whereas galvanizing creates a composite that bonds to the machinery’s surface, paint covers the surface as a separate layer to prevent corrosion. When looking to coat heavy equipment, oil-based paints are best-suited for harsh weather and long journeys. However, removing oil-based paint requires more effort than water-based options. If you want to get rid of this layer, it’s best to use a solvent-based compound or a degreaser.

  1. Inspect Its Capabilities

Before loading heavy equipment onto a trailer to be shipped, it’s vital to check the weight it can pull. Hauling something too heavy can damage the trailer. Additionally, check the trailer’s tire pressure as there’s an ideal pressure ratio to maintain to prevent damage. Finally, check the brakes. Only once the equipment passes inspection can you begin shipping.

  1. Consider the Different Methods of Shipping

There are many ways to ship heavy equipment, so make sure you’re choosing the right one. The most suitable method depends on the load’s shape and size. Here are some of the most common heavy equipment shipping methods.

  • Container Shipping

Container shipping offers easy loading and unloading of freight. The containers are generally of a standard 20 or 40 feet. This method of shipping may require you to disassemble your heavy machinery as it might not be possible to fit these containers otherwise. It offers the ease of transport but can be time-consuming and labour intensive if you have to disassemble and assemble parts.

  • Lift-On/Lift-Off

Commonly referred to as LoLo, this method employs a crane to lift heavy equipment directly on and off the ship. It’s a relatively simple method in theory but you need a crane to move and lift the equipment. This requires a specialized crew and additional costs.

  • RO/RO

Also known as Roll-On/Roll-Off shipping, this is one of the simplest ways to transport heavy equipment, provided that the shipment can be rolled. Equipment with wheels can easily be loaded onto ships, whether you’re using containers, trailers or ship decks. This particular shipping method can save you both money and time. Perhaps its only downside is that there needs to be ample space for both the heavy equipment and the machinery needed to lift and move it.

  1. Prepare for Risks

Depending on how durable or delicate your heavy equipment is, you should think about the shipping company’s risk management policy. This can be a major determinant of whether your equipment will reach its destination in one piece. If you’re shipping a particularly expensive asset, it’s best to have an expert survey and supervise the loading and unloading. You can also have someone assess your asset’s value before it’s shipped and after it reaches its destination. This valuation can come in handy when you apply for its commercial insurance policy.

One sign of a good shipping company is when they use military specifications when shipping both heavy-duty items and fragile ones. These specs guarantee the safety of the machinery, from packing and handling right up to loading and unloading. Remember, the company you choose should focus on keeping your heavy equipment in good condition at all stages of transportation. They should also have logistics professionals who know what needs to happen once the equipment has reached its destination and steer clear of offloading risks.

Shipping heavy machinery isn’t the same as sending general freight. This makes the process both more complicated and costlier. Additionally, the more risks there are, the more arrangements need to be made to ensure your equipment doesn’t sustain damage before or upon reaching its destination. If you’re looking to ship heavy equipment from Canada, get in touch with a shipping partner who can commit to transporting your equipment without hassle.

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