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Transporting Construction Equipment: Moving Massive Machinery

April 30, 2020
 By Heavy Haul and Oversized
Transporting Construction Equipment: Moving Massive Machinery
Last Modified: January 2, 2024
R+L Global Logistics is ready to handle your construction equipment transport needs for all your projects.

Transporting construction equipment the right way is key to moving this heavy machinery to construction sites all throughout the country. This service requires specialized, heavy haul and oversized industry transports in order to haul the heaviest construction equipment.  

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Association (FHWA), a permit may be required when transporting construction equipment. Transporting construction equipment requires special trailer types, like a flatbed or lowboy, and may also require a pilot car escort.

The transport services required to move construction equipment are critically important for any major project. Learn more about the equipment, transportation options, and logistics behind getting the heavy haul equipment you need delivered on time.

What Equipment is Used in Construction?

Transporting equipment in construction can be a downright overwhelming task. The equipment is big, bulky, and extremely dangerous to ship precisely because of its size. Placing faith in an experienced hauler of oversized loads is the top priority.

With industrial and residential construction sites in every corner of the country, there is a need for heavy equipment transport companies that specialize in heavy equipment shipping solutions

Heavy haulers are relied on to meet the deadlines for the safe and secure delivery of your equipment.

Here is a list of some construction equipment you might see on heavy machine transports being safely transported across the country.

  1. Excavators
  2. Bulldozers
  3. Backhoes
  4. Portable Concrete Plants and Stationary Concrete Plant Equipment
  5. Tractors
  6. Heavy Duty Trucks
  7. Dragline Excavator
  8. Wheel Tractor Scraper
  9. Graders
  10. Trenchers
  11. Loaders
  12. Pile boring Machine
  13. Pule Driving Machine
  14. Feller Bunchers
  15. Dump Trucks
  16. Tower Cranes
  17. Telehandlers
  18. Compactors
  19. Pavers

Shipping these behemoths of construction takes the right equipment and proper logistical planning. For example, you cannot load a tower crane on a trailer and drive it to a job site. There is equipment acquisition, along with route planning and massive coordinational efforts that are required.

construction equipment

How is Construction Equipment Transported?

Construction equipment transport requires the use of special trailers and careful planning. The equipment and technique used, as well as the cost to transport this heavy machinery, varies depending on what’s being shipped.

Heavy equipment transport rates are based on the height, length, and width of all heavy haul equipment used, along with the length of time it takes to travel from the point of origin to a drop-off location.

How Do You Load an Excavator?

If you are seeking ways to load an excavator safely, it would be advantageous to refer to professionals. As a heavy equipment transport carrier, handling oversized construction equipment comes second nature.

They have the tools and expertise to load and unload construction equipment quickly. The movement of a large industrial excavator requires an expert touch. So how is this done exactly? 

An example of how to load an excavator on a trailer:

  • The proper trailer
  • Expertise with positioning 
  • Secure chains and securing materials
  • Abiding by all state and federal transportation laws and hauling procedures. 
  • Applying for transport services when applicable

Excavators, among other pieces of heavy haul or oversized equipment, require careful planning, manpower, and a detail-oriented individual to ensure that all potential hazards are neutralized. It never hurts to be too cautious, especially when dealing with substantial equipment.

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How Do You Transport a Crane?

There are multiple forms of cranes used in construction. There are two types of cranes that you see more often than not on a job site. These types of construction equipment are the tower and mobile cranes; they are similar in how they function but different in how they are set up and transported.

  1. Tower crane: The tower crane is a fixed crane often used to construct large structures like office buildings and high rises.
  2. Mobile crane: The mobile crane can move independently to different job site areas. These cranes were specifically engineered to have more mobility for lighter projects.

The transportation of these cranes requires the following.

  • A trailer that can accommodate both types of cranes
  • Expertise with positioning and the stacking of additional parts
  • Unsecure chains and securing materials
  • Abiding by all state and federal transportation laws and hauling procedures
  • In the case of certain cranes, a specialized permit is required for loads exceeding maximum size standards.
  • The use of a pilot car or several pilot cars may also be required.

How Do You Unload a Bulldozer?

The unloading of large construction equipment, such as a bulldozer, typically requires using a lowboy trailer or a modified version of a lowboy trailer. A low allows for easy loading, increased weight-bearing limits, and a lower unloading clearance.

While Bulldozers come in various sizes, some can fit on a standard flatbed trailer. However, more often than not, they exceed the legal limits in width, which requires a larger trailer and permits.

Source: Adam Petroff

Safety is one of the more serious topics surrounding the unloading of a bulldozer. Getting a bulldozer off a trailer takes patience, alertness, accuracy, and multiple people. This is a process, not a task. Therefore it takes expert professionals to pull this off.

Even in some cases, the tracks are removed to reduce weight and height during transport. The reason is that your equipment must abide by the rules and regulations of the DOT and FHWA. Reassembling construction equipment on trailers may be the answer.

Moving construction equipment can be a very challenging task. Fortunately, some specialists can point you in the right direction based on your situation. Heavy Haul and Oversized Load is standing by, ready to answer your questions.

Need heavy equipment transported to an oil field? Check out our article to learn more.

heavy equipment transportation

Construction Equipment Logistics: What are Heavy Equipment Transporters?

So, what exactly are heavy equipment transporters, and how does it relate to construction? This service specializes in the facilitation of heavy equipment shipments, plus the movement and transportation of abnormally large heavy loads.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has outlined the specifics of a heavy haul or oversized load for equipment shipping services.

Example trailer types used in heavy haul loads.

  • Flatbed trailer
  • Extendable flatbed trailer
  • Drop deck Trailer with a sliding rear axle
  • High tonnage trailer
  • High tonnage double drop trailer
  • High tonnage double drop expandable trailer
  • High tonnage RGN double drop trailer
  • Expandable blade trailer

These trailers are just a sample of the various equipment-hauling devices commonly used when transporting construction equipment. Heavy haul experts will have access to the latest equipment that can accommodate your needs.

Loading and hauling construction equipment that exceeds the legal standard shipping dimensions require specialized service. It is no wonder the construction industry is one of the most common customers of heavy equipment shipping companies across the country.

The construction equipment industry is rising with the resurgence of residential construction in the United States (U.S.). More construction means more equipment means more transportation is required.

Residential Construction Resurgence 2015 – 2020

DateSingle HomesFamily HomesTotal Homes
2015715,000397,0001.11 Million
2016782,000392,0001.18 Million
2017849,000354,0001.20 Million
2018876,000374,0001.25 Million
2019888,000402,0001.29 Million
2020991,000390,0001.38 Million
Source: zippia.com

So what exactly does this all mean, how does a resurgence in construction effect transporting equipment? For starters, more construction means more equipment is needed. Also, when there is a boom in business, there is competition and the need for the latest advancements to give you an edge over the competition. 

The demand for drivers and construction equipment will no doubt continue to rise. The demand for construction and the equipment needed to carry it out is growing annually. That is why transporting construction equipment efficiently and safely is critical.

Read our article on backhoe shipping if you need to get this equipment to a job site.

How Do You Load Heavy Equipment on a Trailer?

The name of the game when loading heavy equipment on a trailer is safety first. There is no doubt that any heavy equipment being loaded onto a large or heavy haul trailer has some real value associated with it.

For this reason of costly associated value, precautions must be taken. The following list is a checklist you should follow when loading heavy equipment on a trailer. For the best and safest experience, always run through a safety checklist before getting on the road.

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Eight steps are necessary when loading heavy or oversized equipment onto a trailer and transporting them to a destination.

  1. Pack the trailer onto a firm, level ground to avoid shifting or tilting during the loading process.
  2. Choose a suitable ramp to load your equipment onto the trailer. It is also prudent to verify the maximum weight capacity of the ramp to prevent damage to your equipment and the trailer ramp.
  3. Selecting the appropriate ramp for loading is critically essential when loading equipment onto a heavy haul trailer.
  4. Add blocks to the ramp to help stabilize and secure it during equipment loading.
  5. Remove debris, dirt, oil, and grease from the trailer ramp to prevent sliding during loading and unloading.
  6. Position the heaviest side of the equipment on the ramp first, and then you may continue loading the equipment.
  7. Take your time loading and unloading heavy or oversized equipment. The weight and scale of this kind of equipment can be catastrophic in an accident.  
  8. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed on the trailer. This step ensures proper balance while traveling and minimizes the potential of an accident.

The steps above are nothing more than a safety protocol guideline or a checklist to protect you and your load. Getting this right the first time will significantly increase your chances for a safe and secure trip.

It is essential to remember that, yes, you ultimately need to take these steps to protect your investment. However, in the case of heavy haul and oversized loads, you are responsible to everyone around your load to exercise safety at all times.

If you need to move some storage space, consider reading our article on shed transportation.

shipping construction equipment

Construction Equipment Shipping Tips

Hauling oversized loads can be cumbersome and tricky to negotiate. Take it from the pros; having a set of best practices or helpful tips can go an incredibly long way in public safety and transporting your load intact.

A construction site is hectic, with a lot going on at any given time. Due to the nature of any chaotic environment, something is bound to go wrong. Implementing these tips will reduce the chance of accidents while freeing up more time to manage your construction site.

Best practices for moving construction equipment:

  • Obtain permits in advance for moving super loads that will take up two highway lanes or more.
  • Think smart; break down construction equipment as much as possible before loading.
  • Make sure all doors and latches are locked and secure.
  • Disconnect all batteries to moving vehicles like tractors or bulldozers.
  • Before leaving a site with a load, conduct one last final inspection.
  • Use trained drivers at all times who are licensed to drive superloads.
  • Plan your routes ahead of time and double-check local and state laws about your load.
  • Always drive responsibly, acknowledge the posted speeds, and use defensive driving practices that protect everyone on the road from potential risks.
  • Periodically stop and check the load and anything securing it to the trailer.
  • During holidays expect there to be additional restrictions, check with your state for updates.

It is an excellent practice to develop and implement good habits, especially when it comes to transporting huge loads over commonly traveled roads. Your responsibility is to ensure that every possible precaution has been taken before driving.

Remember, loading and unloading a heavy haul or oversized load requires incredible attention to detail and preplanning. Do your due diligence and take every precaution necessary to transport your load efficiently and safely.

Need assistance transporting a generator? Check out our article to learn more.

Storage for Construction Equipment

Shipping construction equipment may not always be a pick-up and drop-off procedure. Sometimes when moving bulldozers, cranes, and graders, the distance they need to travel may be far, or they may not be required immediately.

Storage for construction equipment is necessary for certain scenarios

  1. Long haul trips: When moving an oversized or superload anywhere in the country. Oftentimes, storage will be required during a leg of the journey.
  2. Local Storage: Oversized equipment storage without transporting the equipment long distances.
  3. Transport Storage: Oversized equipment storage that receives transports over long distances, then is moved at a later date.

Storing oversized construction equipment might be incredibly necessary for construction equipment logistics services. There are some things to note when storing oversized pieces of equipment.

  • Up-to-date maintenance should be done before storing heavy or oversized equipment.
  • Clean the equipment, freeing any debris from general and sensitive areas.
  • Depending on the level of ground or elevation, always secure the equipment.
  • Sensitive areas like hydraulic components should be covered or sealed to keep out the outside elements.
  • Cover equipment left outside to assist with 

When construction equipment sits, it tends to sit for a while in between jobs. Therefore, you should always empty all fluids from engines or other systems. After this step is complete, refill all of the emptied fluids.

Shipping Construction Equipment with Heavy Haul and Oversized

Heavy machinery isn’t cheap, and transporting construction equipment takes both expertise and skill. Choose a company you can trust and partner with Heavy Haul and Oversized to move your heavy construction equipment safely.

You can count on your construction equipment arriving safely and on time. Our heavy haul specialists ensure your oversized equipment transportation needs are met. We provide you with a vast array of network carriers and live support with attention to detail.

Connecting with the experts at Heavy Haul and Oversized is easy. Let our specialists show you the care and attention to detail you deserve. Get a free freight quote today by calling us at (855) 490-2433 for immediate help moving your construction equipment.

  • What Equipment is Used in Construction?

    Portable Concrete Plants and Stationary Concrete Plant Equipment
    Heavy Duty Trucks

  • What is Heavy Duty Equipment?

    Excavator equipment
    Engineering equipment
    Heavy machines
    Dump trucks
    Wheel loaders

  • How Do You Transport Heavy Machinery?

    Get permits for hauling super loads that will take up two lanes of highway or more
    Break down construction equipment as much as you can to avoid oversized equipment hanging over trailers as much as possible.
    Make sure all doors are locked and secure.
    Disconnect all batteries to moving vehicles.
    Cover up the stacks when applicable.

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