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The Ultimate Guide For Moving Heavy Equipment & Machinery

The Ultimate Guide For Moving Heavy Equipment & Machinery

Heavy Equipment Hauling
Loading Heavy Equipment Procedure
Heavy Equipment Tie-Downs
Finding the Right Heavy Equipment Transport Company


Hauling heavy equipment is a serious task, whether you are traveling a long distance or just around the block. Equipment must be loaded and secured properly to protect your valuable machinery as well as avoid fines and prevent accidents. When transporting heavy machinery, proper planning ensures you stay compliant with regulations and minimizes risks. Follow these heavy equipment transportation tips for safe and efficient heavy equipment hauling.

The Importance of Proper Heavy Equipment Hauling

The Importance of Proper Heavy Equipment Hauling

Properly securing your heavy equipment during transportation protects your equipment from damage, prevents accidents and protects your company from citations and fines. Equipment that is not properly secured could dislodge from your trailer or loose machine components could fall off during transportation. This causes damage to the equipment and your transport vehicle, as well as potentially causing a fatal traffic accident.

Failure to secure your equipment properly could also result in a vehicle violation accompanied by hefty fines. Heavy machinery transportation is regulated by cargo securement rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FHWA) within the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT regulations for cargo securement apply to all types of cargo with additional regulations for heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery.

If you receive a violation for improper cargo securement, it could result in citation fines and your vehicle being put out-of-service. In the 2018 International Roadcheck conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, nearly 22 percent of commercial motor vehicles that received Level I Inspections were placed out-of-service due to violations. Out of those citations, 13 percent of them were cargo securement violations.

In the following sections, we will provide expert advice for loading and securing your heavy equipment to avoid costly fines and keep your equipment and the roadways safe.

Loading Heavy Equipment: Procedure and Tips

Loading Heavy Equipment Procedure and Tips - Equip Trucking and Warehousing

Safe equipment transport begins with the proper loading of heavy equipment procedures. Before equipment is transported, considerations must be made to choose the right trailer or heavy duty hauler for each machine. Conduct safety inspections of the trailer, hauling vehicle and equipment, and implement an appropriate securement system.

Follow this procedure for loading your heavy equipment to keep your team and equipment safe:

1. Determine the Weight and Height of Your Equipment

The first step for transporting heavy equipment is to know the dimensions and weight of the equipment you are hauling. Many of the DOT regulations for cargo transportation revolve around equipment weight and size, so be sure to verify the exact height, width and weight of your equipment to guide your other transportation decisions.

2. Determine if an Oversize or Overweight Permit is Needed

Some oversized or overweight machinery may require a permit for transportation. If you are transporting a backhoe, dozer, dump truck or other large pieces of equipment, check your state’s requirements to see if a permit is necessary. The permit may also require you to have additional escort vehicles that drive with the heavy hauler to alert other drivers of your load.

Because transporting oversize or overweight equipment can be substantially more expensive, some companies take measures to avoid these designations. If your equipment is too heavy, consider removing all work tools and attachments and shipping them separately. If your equipment is too tall, consider retracting buckets, booms or attachments to reduce equipment height. This can lower transportation expenses as well as reducing safety risks.

3. Select the Correct Trailer Size and Capacity

When choosing the right trailer or heavy hauler to transport your equipment, look for one with the right capacity to support your cargo. Remember to account for the weight of the trailer itself when calculating the total weight your vehicle will be hauling. Determine the best placement of the equipment on the trailer to distribute the equipment’s weight as evenly as possible.

When hauling large machinery, make sure your trailer can accommodate the equipment’s height to pass safely under bridges and overpasses. The FHWA requires a minimum clearance height of 14 feet on most interstates and 16 feet on others. Choose a hauler low enough to meet this height requirement, such as a step-deck or lowboy trailer.

However, older overpasses may not meet the FHWA requirements and will be labeled with their clearance height if they are lower than 14 feet. Plan your transportation route in advance to make sure your equipment will not get stuck or need to be rerouted.

4. Inspect Your Trailer

Before loading your equipment onto your trailer, inspect the trailer’s anchor points to make sure they are in good shape. Look for any weak points or signs of damage that could compromise the securement of your machinery. Check that the trailer is free of debris which could come loose while traveling and cause damage to other vehicles on the road.

5. Load and Secure Your Equipment

After you have selected your trailer, planned for weight and height considerations and inspected your hauler, it is time to load your equipment. If you are working with a heavy equipment hauling company, the driver will load and secure your equipment in accordance with DOT regulations. If you prefer to drive your equipment onto the trailer yourself, let the heavy transport company know in advance and coordinate a pick-up time with the driver. Once the equipment is loaded onto the trailer, it must be properly secured to the transportation vehicle. In the next section, we will cover proper heavy equipment tie-down and securement procedures in depth.

Heavy Equipment Tie-Downs: Securing Heavy Equipment for Transport

Heavy Equipment Tie-Downs: Securing Heavy Equipment for Transport

According to DOT regulations for hauling and securing heavy equipment, heavy equipment must be secured in a manner that prevents it from tipping, blowing, falling, sliding or rolling off of the transportation vehicle while traveling. Equipment must also be unable to shift in a way that affects the maneuverability or stability of the trailer or heavy hauler. To effectively secure your equipment, the securement system you choose must meet DOT minimum force requirements in each direction:

  • Forward force of 80 percent of the cargo weight when braking.
  • Rearward force of 50 percent of the cargo weight when speeding up, changing gears on a hill or braking while in reverse.
  • Sideways force of 50 percent of the cargo weight when switching lanes, making a turn or braking while turning.
  • Upward force of 20 percent of the cargo weight when driving over hills or bumps.

To keep your machinery safe during transport, it is essential to meet all DOT requirements as well as other best practices for securing heavy equipment. Here are some heavy equipment transportation tips to keep in mind when securing your machinery for transport:

1. Use Ample and Appropriate Securing Devices

When choosing the best securing devices for your heavy equipment, follow these guidelines:

  • Use four or more tie-downs: Heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery must be secured using no fewer than four tie-downs with a Working Load Limit (WLL) of 5,000 pounds or more. However, more tie-downs may be necessary to meet the general cargo securement requirements which specify that the total WLL of all the tie-downs needs to equal at least 50 percent of the cargo’s weight.
  • Use chain when possible: When strapping down heavy equipment, use chains as your securing device whenever possible. Steel strapping is another viable option to keep your machinery safely secured.
  • Tightly secure tie-downs: Attach your tie-downs using hooks, clamps or ties that cannot come loose during transport. Make sure your tie-downs are pulled tight and do not have any damage or weak sections that could break during transportation.
  • Use edge protection and blocking: In addition to chains and strapping, blocking and bracing can also be incorporated to secure your heavy equipment. Use edge protection if there is a risk of equipment components cutting tie-downs. Trailer walls and headboards can also serve as additional protection.
  • Secure wheels with chocks or wedges: Heavy machinery with wheels requires additional securement, such as chocks, wedges or cradles, to prevent it from rolling during transport. Drivers should also check the equipment tire pressure before traveling, as low tire pressure can cause tie-downs to loosen.
  • Use friction devices if necessary: Equipment with metal tracks may have low friction when placed on a metal trailer or hauler. Friction mats or other friction devices can be used to provide better traction and prevent sliding.

Another critical step when securing heavy equipment during transport is to apply the parking brake on the machine. This simple step is easily overlooked, but is required by DOT regulations and helps ensure your equipment cannot roll off of the trailer.

2. Choose Appropriate Attachment Points

When determining how to chain down a dozer, backhoe or other heavy equipment, be sure to use appropriate attachment points on both the trailer and the machinery for safety measures. Each piece of equipment will have attachment areas for tie-downs which the manufacturer has designated. Attaching tie-downs in the wrong location could break or damage part of the equipment or fail to keep the equipment secured while on the road. When you use the designated tie-down areas, you can trust the securement system will not cause any damage to the equipment components.

3. Secure Equipment Components

All equipment attachments, work tools and other accessory equipment must be lowered and secured before transportation. Retract booms and buckets and secure them in place using additional tie-downs or straps. Check the equipment doors, tailgate, spare tires and any other components that could come loose or open during transportation and ensure they are locked or secured. You may also choose to wrap any levels, gauges or knobs that could break or become damaged while traveling. For articulated vehicles, lock the equipment in place to prevent articulation during transport.

For additional protection to your equipment, you may choose to cover it with a tarp or wrap it with shrink wrap. This protects the equipment from dirt, debris and moisture on the roadways. For equipment with a smokestack, be sure to cover it so debris cannot enter.

4. Verify Driver Visibility

Once the machine is loaded and secured, verify that the equipment and its securement system do not interfere with the driver’s view out the front or sides of the vehicle. The placement of equipment should also allow free movement of the driver and should not obstruct them from exiting the vehicle or accessing any necessary vehicle components or accessories. This ensures the driver can safely transport the machinery and keeps your company compliant with DOT regulations.

Finding the Right Heavy Equipment Transport Company

Navigating the various regulations and safety precautions necessary for transporting heavy equipment can be daunting for some businesses. Working with a heavy equipment transportation company can eliminate these risks and make heavy hauler transport a breeze. When choosing an equipment hauler to hire, here are a few qualities to look for:

  • Extensive experience in the industry: Look for a company that has been in business for a long time and has experience hauling the type of equipment you need to transport. While taking a chance on a new company may not always be bad, a company with a track record of success will provide reliable and expert service.
  • Flexible services to fit your needs: Some heavy equipment transportation companies offer additional services such as packaging options and the ability to disassemble and reassemble equipment as necessary. If you require extra protection or need expert services for transporting tricky machinery, seek a company that offers those services.
  • Proper insurance to protect your equipment: Verify that your heavy equipment hauling company has the appropriate insurance should your equipment be damaged during transport. If their driver or trailer is harmed, your company should also be protected from liability.

If your company does not have the necessary resources to transport your heavy machinery safely, working with a heavy transport company may be the right solution for you. A skilled heavy equipment transport company will ensure proper loading, securement and hauling to get your equipment safely where it needs to go.

Choose Equip Trucking for Your Heavy Equipment Hauling

Choose Equip Trucking for Your Heavy Equipment Hauling

With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Equip Trucking has the knowledge and expertise to tackle any heavy equipment transportation task. We can haul equipment of any size, shape or weight and have experience with top heavy equipment brands like John Deere, Cat Equipment, Komatsu, Hitachi and more. Our fleet of trailers and heavy haulers includes flatbed trailers, drop decks, step decks, lowboys and other haulers to fit your equipment transportation needs.

To keep your equipment safe and clean, Equip Trucking offers industrial shrink wrap and effective packaging to protect against weather and debris. Our drivers are trained to keep your equipment safe on the roads, and we take utmost care when loading and unloading equipment to prevent damage and protect your valuable machinery. When you are crunched to meet project deadlines, Equip Trucking’s expert route planning allows us to get your equipment to its final destination faster and more efficiently.

If you need somewhere to store your equipment after your project is done, Equip Trucking also offers safe and secure machine storage with 24/7 security and video surveillance. Our facilities are kept clean and warm to protect your large equipment and machinery year-round. If you are looking for a heavy equipment hauling company in Pennsylvania or the Tri-state area, contact Equip Trucking for your heavy equipment transportation and storage needs.