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What to Consider When Shipping Heavy Equipment Internationally

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Your company may have shipped many freights with minimum fuss, but shipping heavy machinery internationally is a different story. The process is more complicated and prone to greater risks and shipping costs than you once did. Shipping oversized equipment needs to be done efficiently to ensure that it arrives at its destination in one piece.

You need to follow the shipping protocols and understand the entire process of proper equipment preparation for international shipping. Hiring a trusted shipping company can alleviate your safety concerns to ensure the safe preparation, transportation, and arrival of your property without the hassle.

Here, we will walk you through the different important details of shipping heavy equipment overseas.

Preparing the Equipment

Heavy equipment shipping requires careful preparation

Taking the necessary precautions is an important step in preparing your heavy equipment for international shipping. Without proper preparation, your equipment is at risk of catastrophic damage. Take the following safety steps to make sure that your equipment remains safe and secure during shipment:

  • Clean the equipment and do a safety check
  • Drain all fluids, especially fuel
  • Make sure all loose parts and tools are secured
  • Detach the alarm system and batteries
  • Refer to the manufacturer manual for proper packaging techniques
  • To protect the equipment from harmful elements, make sure to cover all exposed areas, especially if it will be shipped via open-air services
  • Make sure to provide adequate space around the freight to allow the transport company to safely retrieve it

International Shipping Options

After taking all the necessary steps to prepare your shipment, consider the different shipping options available to you. Deciding how best to ship your equipment depends on its size and shape. Here are the different options for internationally shipping your heavy equipment:

  • Container Shipping

Container shipping is the oldest way to transport freight overseas 

Although it allows easy loading and unloading of the cargo in standard 20 or 40-foot sized containers, it may not be a feasible option for shipping large machinery into the standard-sized container. You may be required to disassemble the equipment to fit it into the container safely.

This type of shipping option comes with a unique set of pros and cons. While it is known for ease of equipment transportation, the biggest disadvantage would be the time and labour involved to dismantle and assemble the equipment. If you think that container shipping is not a viable option for your equipment, then try the other methods that may fit your shipping needs.

  • Flat Rack Shipping 

A flat rack container offers an effective solution for stacking problems and trailer compatibility. It is an excellent option for machinery that cannot be driven onto the transport vessel on its own. Flat rack shipping containers do not have dimensional restrictions, such as a roof or sidewalls, making it possible to mount heavy equipment onto a stackable surface to maximize space. However, the downside to this type of shipping is that the shipment is left open and vulnerable to the elements, such as direct sunlight, wind, or rain. To prevent the risk of damage due to exposure, consider tarping or pack your shipment carefully beforehand.

Some heavy equipment moving or shipping companies offer extra services, including shrink-wrapping, disassembly or tarping. Since this can be an additional expense, make sure to carefully plan how to ship your equipment safely before the shipment schedule. In some cases, disassembling the machinery and shipping in separate containers can be a safe and cost-effective manner to get your shipment to its destination.

  • Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO)

RORO is the simplest shipping method for large wheeled machinery or equipment

Considered to be the simplest way to load and ship. your equipment simply needs to be driven onto the transport ship and off to its destination. However, it can only be done with wheeled heavy equipment, which can be easily rolled and loaded onto the trailers, containers, or ship decks. While this helps save time, effort, and money, wheeled machinery often takes up space, and it is impossible to stack them to make room for other equipment.

  • Lift-On/Lift-Off (LoLo)

This type of shipping involves the use of a crane to lift and move heavy machinery directly on to and off to the shipping conveyance. It requires the skills of a trained crane operator, which incurs shipping machinery costs that otherwise can be avoided in wheeled heavy equipment.

Cost of International Shipping

Shipping machinery internationally is also subject to certain fees

After deciding which shipping method to use and obtaining all the necessary documents and permits, make sure to pay for shipping insurance and fees, including:

  • Freight associated charges
  • Custom examination fee
  • Port charges
  • Custom taxes and duties
  • Zone-specific charges
  • Carrier-related fees
  • Delay fees
  • Container management charges
  • Destination fees
  • Inland delivery charges 
  • Cargo insurance
  • Courier and documentation fees

There are various factors that dictate the cost of shipping your heavy equipment internationally, including:

  • Density

Considered as the standard of measurement in the shipping world, density (a pound per cubic foot weight of the shipment) is used to gauge the size and weight of equipment. The density of the machinery determines various aspects including the method and ease of shipment and speed of delivery. 

To calculate the density of the shipment, make sure to include the packaging or pallet used. When calculating the density of irregularly shaped machinery, such as tractors, imagine them placed in a square box designed to fit their shape to calculate the height, width, and length including outlying extremities (masts or antennae). Follow this 3-step equation:

  • Total cubic inches of the shipment = Height x width x length
  • Total cubic feet = Total cubic inches divided by 1,728
  • Density in pounds per cubic feet = Weight of the shipment divided by the total cubic feet

Once you have calculated the density, you can determine the right option for your shipping needs. 

  • Destination

Know the laws and regulations of the country

The destination where you will be shipping your equipment may have unforeseen costs. Tariffs and licensing fees or tolls can unexpectedly increase shipping costs substantially. Also, inspection and new laws may cause delay or slow down the delivery. Make sure that you stay updated with the current laws and treaties governing shipping services, whether domestically or internationally. 

  • Insurance 

Freight insurance is essential for shipping expensive heavy equipment to cover any damages that can occur during shipping. Offering basic insurance policies is standard practice for most shipping companies. Since shipping large machinery is a more complicated process that comes with a multitude of risks, it may require more than just a basic policy. You purchase third-party insurance or better policies from your trusted shipping company. 

Heavy machinery shipping can be a costly process; don’t be afraid to seek assistance from the professionals. Ready Machinery Movers can help you ship your heavy machinery in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. With our skills and experience in moving, transporting, and shipping different types of large machines, we can guarantee that your shipment will reach its destination safely. Call us at 1-800-211-2500 to request a quote or use our online contact form to send us your message. 

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