Moving heavy items from one place to another, loading them in a truck and shipping them via ocean carriers are essential steps in freight forwarding. However, it is not always possible for movers to handle these heavy items all by themselves. Any job, irrespective of its difficulty level, requires certain tools. The same applies to freight forwarding. To help with safely loading and moving items, many transportation tools are used. While some may prove more useful than others, they can only be effective for the right type of project. Let’s look at some of these tools in detail.
Different Types of Moving Tools Used in Freight Forwarding
Shipping companies usually provide the most efficient tools for moving, loading, and unloading even the heaviest of items. Among them, dollies, hand trucks and folding hand trucks are the most popular, with each having their pros and cons.
The word “dolly” refers to a large number of shipping items. It is simply a platform on wheels that is effective for moving both oversized/heavy and small items alike. This is a very common method that shipping companies use to move objects.
The platform consists of two axles and one wheel on each corner. The items are listed on the platform and secured in one place. Afterwards, it can be steered in any direction. The most common kind of dolly is the type where the rocker is pumped to propel forward on a railroad track.
However, dollies come in different shapes and sizes.
This is an L-shaped platform that comes with two wheels and one handle, or handlebar. It is a small, versatile and convenient moving tool. This kind of dolly has a lower shelf portion that can be slid under an item; the entire dolly is then tilted backwards, making it easy to move around.
Utility dollies are considered an all-purpose dolly and are used to move anything from boxes, small pieces of furniture and appliances to tall, lightweight bookcases and cabinets.
This one has a similar structure to the utility dolly, but the design is specifically meant for moving oversized and overweight appliances such as refrigerators, washers and stoves. The strong nylon straps on this tool are meant to keep the appliance fastened in one place. It also has a rub rail to protect its finish. Some models come with a locking auto-recoil mechanism or a special handle for tightening the items in one position for better safety.
With a weight capacity of 700 lbs, this heavy-duty two-wheeler is perfect for moving heavier household items. It can be conveniently rolled up and down stairs as well, making door-to-door pickup and delivery much safer and easier.
This flat dolly consists of four swivel casters and a wide wooden or steel base. It has a very simple appearance and does not have any handles or straps. However, it is more than capable of holding up to an astonishing thousand pounds. If you plan on moving many of your large furniture items, this is the perfect tool.
It is effective for moving desks, wall units, couches and even pianos. The furniture dolly comes with padded edges to provide extra cushioning for your precious assets. Its tires are large, soft and non-marking to reduce damage to floors.
The primary advantage of dollies in general is that they come in various sizes, making them a more practical choice than a hand truck.
In fact, dollies can also be used as a towboat, or a small vehicle for moving bigger bulky items such as an AC unit.
However, it has some disadvantages:
- There is no mechanism available to lift the dolly automatically onto the platform; this must be done manually.
- Dollies cannot be used on stairs for this very reason.
2. Hand Truck
This tool is also known as a stack truck, a two-wheeler, truck dolly, trundler, trolley, or hand cart. Hand trucks are often mistaken as dollies, but they are quite different. Hand trucks have huge wheels and stand upright. They have an L-shaped structure, much like the back of a truck, for the items to be positioned, and a smaller bottom platform for the items to be kept. Once your items are placed on the smaller platform, they can easily be lifted onto the actual platform.
If you compare the benefits of a dolly to a hand truck, the latter offers a lot of extra perks, although they come in only one size. The vertical design of the truck makes it easier to lift and move taller objects such as refrigerators, cabinets and wardrobes.
Further, hand trucks are effective for moving small items as they can be stacked in multiples to save time.
3. Folding Hand Truck
A folding hand truck is a comparatively newer invention than the previous two. It is similar to a regular hand truck. However, the design is where the innovation comes in, as the bottom part of the frame, known as the toe plate, and wheels can be folded away. The entire folding hand truck unit can be folded flat and folded back out very quickly.
This type of truck or trolley is usually lightweight, making it convenient to use. For shipping small items in bulk, folding hand trucks are the most useful. You can only put up to 100 lbs of weight on the toe plate, making them unsuited to moving heavier items. Do not underestimate the usefulness of these lightweight tools. A hundred pounds may not seem like a lot compared to what the dolly and hand truck are capable of, but they are a smart and efficient way of moving stacks of small boxes.
As you can see, hand trucks, folding hand trucks and dollies all come with their own advantages. All are effective for items of various shapes, sizes and weights. Shipping companies often purchase these items depending upon the kind of service they provide. But a versatile shipping company will have all these tools at their disposal to provide you with the safest and quickest loading and unloading possible.