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Forklift Transportation Services: Protect Your Investment

February 9, 2023
 By Heavy Haul and Oversized
Forklift Transportation Services: Protect Your Investment
Last Modified: November 16, 2023
Forklift transportation services can be a monumental gargantuan of a task for most people. Luckily, this handy guide can help navigate the difficult business of moving a heavy load like a forklift.

Forklift transportation services require a trusted logistics partner in order to move forklifts to and from various destinations all across the country. These heavy pieces of machinery can be challenging to ship because of their size and weight.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulate the movement of machinery weighing more than 10,000 pounds on tracks or wheels. This is not limited to forklifts, but also other heavy equipment such as front-end loaders, tractors, power shovels, and bulldozers.

Transporting a forklift requires the right tools, equipment, and experienced personnel. These pieces of heavy machinery can be extremely dangerous if not handled properly. Learn more about how, with the proper help, moving your equipment can become a reality.

Forklift Transportation Services

What Are the Forklift Class Types?

Loading and unloading heavy objects requires the use of forklifts. A forklift might be used to perform maintenance in a loading dock and move materials around on a construction site or in warehouses and distribution centers.

Forklifts are considered to be powered industrial trucks (PITs) used to move heavy items over short distances. They are easy to load and unload thanks to advanced technologies. They can move everything from construction materials to pallets in a warehouse, and much more.

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that there are seven forklift class types. The type of forklift classes will help determine what kind of equipment is required to transport your forklift.

7 Classes of Forklifts

  1. Class 1 Electric motor rider trucks: These are quiet battery-operated forklifts that have a 24-volt to 80-volt electrical system and a lift capacity range of 3,000 to 40,000 total pounds.
  2. Class 2 Electric motor narrow aisle trucks: These are electric forklifts with incredible maneuverability designed for warehouses. They have a lift capacity range of 3,500 to 5,500 total pounds.
  3. Class 3 Electric motor hand/rider trucks: This lift class comprises pallet stackers, pallet jacks, and tow tractors. They have an electric motor and a maximum load capacity range of 3,000 to 15,000 total pounds.
  4. Class 4 Internal combustion engine trucks w/ solid tires: Designed for indoor applications, these are internal combustion operated forklifts that use natural gas, unleaded, or diesel fuel. They also run on solid tires and have a lift capacity range of 3,000 to 100,000 total pounds.
  5. Class 5 Internal combustion engine trucks w/ pneumatic tires: Designed for outdoor applications, these are internal combustion operated forklifts that use natural gas, unleaded, or diesel fuel. They also run on pneumatic tires and have a lift capacity range of 3,000 to 125,000 total pounds.
  6. Class 6 Electric & internal combustion engine trucks: Designed for towing instead of lifting, this equipment runs on either diesel or electric power plants and can pull around 500,000 total pounds.
  7. Class 7 Rough terrain forklift trucks: The largest of outdoor tractors, the class 7 forklift uses a diesel engine and rugged tires. This class of lift can generally lift up to 200,000 total pounds.
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Examples of Commonly Transported Forklifts

  • Low Lift Truck: These forklifts are for low clearance loading and unloading, they are electrically powered.
  • Towing Tractor: A towing machine that can come in heavy-duty varieties designed to tow incredible loads.
  • Stacker: Used in high clearance lifting, a stacker forklift can carry heavy loads in a tall but slender profile.
  • Walkie Stacker: Similar to a stacker lift, however with this iteration the equipment is operated from the back of the machine. 
  • Reach Truck: With a slimmer chassis than a traditional forklift, a reach truck can keep loads very close to its wheelbase.
  • Counterbalance Forklift: A heavy forklift that utilizes weights in the rear of the lift to counter the weight of large loads upfront.
  • Sideloader: This forklift can lift and transport large cargo and shipping containers that weigh between 5 and 500 tons.
  • Telescopic Handler: This piece of equipment is designed to move materials using a boom and attachments.
  • Order Picking Truck: The order picking forklift is designed for warehouse use due to its slimmer form and nimble handling.
  • Narrow Aisle Truck: Another form of warehouse lift that can be minimal in size but also can come in large heavy-duty configurations.  
  • Truck-mounted: This lift mounts directly on the rear of a truck chassis and is designed to load and unload materials on a flatbed chassis.
  • Heavy Capacity: One of the largest forklifts available, these pneumatic lifts are designed to load and unload high-weight and oversized materials.
  • Versa Lift: Another form of heavy-duty forklift which uses an extendable frame and a removable boom that is hydraulic for a wide-ranging lift capacity.

Typically, forklifts operate within a predetermined space. However, they are often rotated between different facilities or job sites. Sometimes the maintenance or repair of a forklift will demand arranged transportation to ship the equipment to a repair facility.

Forklifts are not the only piece of heavy equipment that requires the knowledge, expertise, and resources of a transportation industry professional. Oversized cargo transportation is a massive undertaking, and Heavy Haul and Oversized are ready to get your forklift transported anywhere you need.

forklift in a warehouse

How to Ship a Forklift the Right Way

Forklift transportation is not as easy as tossing it on a truck and moving it to a desired destination. So, how do you transport a forklift exactly? The following steps will paint a picture of exactly how and what goes into forklift transportation.


Careful and detailed preparation is required before a forklift can be moved from its present location to somewhere else entirely. The first steps in the preparation process revolve around information gathering.

  1. Equipment Dimensions: In order to comply with federal and state regulations along with acquiring the correct trailer, you will need the length, width, and height measurements of your equipment.
  2. Equipment Assessment: Checking your equipment is secured and free from damages, loose lines, leaks, or fuel is essential. You want to stow any loose equipment and drain all fuel, effectively neutralizing any potential hazards. 
  3. Equipment Insurance: Before transporting forklift equipment, you will want to make sure that insurance is acquired so that your investment is covered in the event an unfortunate circumstance happens to your property.
  4. Trailer Acquisition and Inspection: After you have gathered the relevant information, and safely secured the equipment, you can begin the inspection of the trailer to prepare for the loading of your forklift.

These steps are critical in the forklift transportation process. It allows the shipper to ensure their equipment is being transported by the law and using the proper equipment while maintaining the highest level of safety standards.

Scissor lifts are another important type of equipment you may need to transport. Our article will show you how to get it done.

forklift on a flatbed

Loading a Flatbed Trailer and Securing Your Equipment

In most cases, a forklift is transported on a flatbed truck. This is due to the fact that many forklifts are dimensionally large and heavy. Smaller forklifts can potentially be shipped in containers, but this is a rare occurrence. 

Each state has varying degrees of maximum allowable tonnage when it comes to trailers on a per-axle basis. The Freight Management and Operations website for the U.S. DOT has these details on a state-by-state basis.

However, in the event, you are trying to ship one or several forklifts. It is crucial to know how much weight a flatbed trailer can support legally. Regardless if a flatbed can support more weight than is legally allowed, you should stick to the law per trailer type in terms of maximum load.

Florida Truck Weight Limits on the Road in 2023

Single Axle20,000 lbs +10% Scale Tolerance
Two Axle40,000 lbs +10% Scale Tolerance
Three Axle60,000 lbs +10% Scale Tolerance
Gross Weight80,000 lbs +10% Scale Tolerance
Source: ops.fhwa.dot.gov

Forklift loading and unloading procedures must be handled with the greatest of care due to the massive safety concern associated with this type of equipment. These electric and combustion tractors weigh thousands of pounds and are extremely dangerous if safety precautions are ignored.

Questions on how to load a forklift on a flatbed will no doubt come up once you allocate the right trailer. It is really quite simple: you want to load the forklift from the rear of the flatbed keeping the forks elevated and pointed to the rear of the trailer, once onboard, place a nose jack under the front of the lift for increased stability.

How to Secure a Forklift on a Flatbed

Security might be the most important aspect to consider when shipping a forklift. Forklifts are expensive equipment that need to be handled with care. Four things to keep in mind when securing a forklift for shipping include:

  1. Chains are used to support the weight of the forklift. Forklifts are heavy and the chains used for shipping add an extra layer of safety. 
  2. Booms will add further security to the forklift. 
  3. Use wheel blocks to secure the forklift from moving during shipping.
  4. Angle the forks down and forward for added security.

The right forklift transportation services partner will use the best resources available in order to move your equipment properly. This is where Heavy Haul and Oversized comes into the equation. We have a vast network of carrier partners who are ready to move your forklift with ease. No matter whether you are shipping one or more forklifts, or any other type of heavy load, we’re here to help.

Let’s Recap: Tips for Shipping a Forklift

While acquiring the right flatbed trailer and securing the forklift for safety is essential, ensuring each aspect of transporting a forklift is just as important. Here is a quick recap so that  shipping a forklift is a breeze for you:

  • Insure your shipment: Freight insurance is essential when you’re shipping expensive equipment like a forklift. Our experienced team will help you get your equipment covered for its transport service.
  • Drain all Fuel: A class four through seven forklift runs on unleaded, diesel, or natural gas. You’ll need to make sure the fuel tank is empty before your forklift is loaded on the truck, greatly reducing any potential fire or explosive hazard.
  • Be aware of weight limits: When you’re transporting heavy equipment like a forklift, you can’t take any route you want. Just like flatbed trailers, roads and bridges have weight limits associated with them anywhere in the U.S. In some cases, specialized permits are required, seek out the help of a professional to protect you and your transport needs.

The information presented here is just an added reminder of how easy it can be to ship a forklift as long as you understand the regulations and services that are at your disposal. However, the finite details can often prove troublesome, speak to a heavy haul specialist today so you are not left out in the cold.

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Reach out to us at (855) 490-2433 today or fill out a quick form and a live agent will be in touch shortly to successfully coordinate your forklift transportation.

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Forklift Transportation Services from Heavy Haul and Oversized

Heavy Haul and Oversized are ready to be in your corner when you need forklift transportation services. From getting the right trailer to obtaining any necessary permits, we’re here to help. We’re here to be your one trusted partner for all your heavy haul trucking needs.

Let us take on the challenges associated with coordinating a heavy haul shipment. Heavy Haul and Oversized is ready and able to do the heavy lifting and then some. We have the expertise, tools, resources, equipment, and services you need for the best experience in forklift transportation.

Our team of experienced and friendly professionals is standing by ready to help get your heavy equipment on the road today. We provide you with a hassle-free experience, with an unmatched level of care and satisfaction that sets us apart from the competition.

No matter whether you need forklift transportation services to go across town or across the country, we’ll make sure it gets there on time as expected and in flawless condition. Contact us online here for a quote or give us a call at (855) 490-2433 today and start the quote process now. Time is money, so let’s not waste it. The open road is calling.

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