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Tips for Safe Heavy Haul Equipment Transportation

Costing from a few thousand to more than half a million dollars, heavy machinery is an investment that should be safeguarded at all times. This is no less important when considering your heavy equipment transportation.

Heavy equipment transportation requires careful preparation, regardless of whether the machinery is being transported across state lines or across town, because of the significant investment involved. It is more complicated to load and unload big machinery, and there are rules that must be followed. Construction site safety protocols and best practices must extend to off-site equipment transportation activities as well.

The following guidelines for transporting heavy machinery will help your company cut down on risks and maximize efficiency.

What is Heavy Haul Equipment Transportation

Transporting heavy machinery and equipment is a subsection of the transportation sector dedicated to the carriage of oversized, bulky cargo. It requires trucks and trailers designed to carry tens of thousands of pounds, with the strength and performance capabilities to move heavy machinery and equipment.

Heavy machinery comes in numerous forms and has widespread applications. Heavy equipment transportation is commonly used in the construction, industrial, oil and gas, military, maritime, forestry, and agricultural industries. Equipment such as backhoes, excavators, rock trucks, loaders, graders, and more could be transported.

Some large machinery can have a somewhat wide range of weights. According to federal regulations, freight is considered heavy when it:

  • Has a single axle weight exceeding 20,000 lbs
  • Has a tandem axle weight of 34,000 lbs
  • Has a gross vehicle weight of 80,000

Challenges of Heavy Equipment Transportation

There are many considerations when engaging in the business of heavy equipment transportation. It is important to remember all of these aspects before beginning the movement of loads this size. To help you better prepare, we want to help you understand each of the challenges in more detail.

Choosing the Right Trailer

Because choosing the right trailer is such a vital part of any heavy equipment transportation project, you should start with this step. Trailers come in a wide range of styles and configurations. A few examples of the trailer types most often used for heavy haul equipment transportation are as follows:

Flatbed Trailers

This is perhaps the most typical trailer configuration. A flatbed trailer can pull loads between 48 and 53 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet high with a maximum weight of 24 tons. The use of flatbeds can also reduce the workload of your team during loading and unloading due to the ease of accessibility from all three sides.

Drop Deck (Step Deck) Trailers

In situations where the load height exceeds the legal limit of 8’6″, these trailers are substituted for standard flatbeds. Loads up to 10 feet, 6 inches in height may be transported on these trailers without the need for special authorization.

Double Drop Trailers

A double drop trailer may be required to transport your heavy machinery if it is taller than 10’6″. These trailers sit even lower to the ground, with a height clearance of about 12 feet. The “well” of the trailer, the central section that is lower than the front and back, is a telltale sign of a double drop deck trailer.

RGN (Removable Gooseneck, Lowboy) Trailers

Removable gooseneck trailers (RGN) are the most frequent form of a trailer for heavier loads due to their enormous load capabilities, which allow even the heaviest and largest pieces of heavy equipment to be loaded. Up to 75 tons can be hauled on RGN’s heavy loads, and the process of loading is simplified as you are able to drive equipment over the trailer bed if the equipment allows.

Stretch Trailers

Stretch trailers include any trailer with a deck length greater than 53 feet, including but not limited to Flatbed Trailers, Step Decks, and Double trailers.

Regulations and Rules

Transporting heavy machinery is a heavily regulated industry due to safety concerns. Both fleet managers and drivers must be aware of the relevant laws and regulations.

It may be very pricey if you didn’t know the various size and weight regulations. Each state’s regulations regarding the transportation of large goods on public roads are distinct from the federal government’s. The definition of “overweight” might vary from state to state, however, most states require a heavy transport permit. Signage, flags, escorts, and permitted vehicles can all be affected by a shipment’s dimensions, weight, and destination.

The law also mandates that any company transporting heavy machinery or equipment have liability and cargo insurance.

Load Capacity

You might think that if your heavy equipment transportation project weighs 30 tons, you should just go out and buy a trailer that’s certified for 30 tons, but there’s another factor to consider: the length of the load. Some trailers are certified for 30 tons over 15 feet, while others are certified for the same weight in just 10 feet. Before attempting to put any heavy machinery onto the trailer, it is recommended that you first determine its maximum weight capacity.

Securing Equipment

Manufacturers typically include engineering guidelines and instructions for securing and stabilizing equipment for transport. When securing heavy machinery:

  • To make sure your equipment doesn’t move around on the trailer while being transported, sturdy chains should be used correctly.
  • The working load limit of the chains and the hooks must be compatible with the grade of the binder.
  • Identify safe anchor points. Choosing the right points will keep your gear safe and secure.
  • Wedge, chock, or cradle the wheels of any machinery to keep them from

Route Planning

It is recommended that you take a second car to double-check the routes before setting out on the intended trip. Recent events such as an accident, fallen tree, or building activity may cause significant delays or even prevent the load altogether. If the heavy machinery is very huge or expensive, a pilot car may be a need as well.

When planning the route for a big load, fleet managers must keep safety and laws in mind. There could be rules about how and when equipment can be transported on a trailer, and those rules may change as you cross city, county, or state lines.
In order to load or unload securely, professionals are required. In addition to evaluating driver availability during off-peak times, it is also important to examine the driver’s experience with heavy hauling. Even inexperienced drivers quickly learn that transporting a large load alters the way their vehicle handles. Working with a trusted heavy equipment hauling company will eliminate this concern, as all of their drivers, and the rest of the team for that matter, will be highly skilled and experienced.

The Role of Murphy Rigging in Heavy Equipment Transportation

Your project is important to you. That means it’s important to us as well. When you hire us to manage your rigging and equipment transportation, you can rest assured that all necessary paperwork will be taken care of, all applicable regulations will be adhered to, and the final result will live up to your highest standards. As established experts in the field, our staff has been offering these services for years.

Murphy Rigging provides the answers you’re looking for, no matter the size or scope of your rigging and equipment transportation project. Reach out to talk about how we can work together, and rest easy knowing we’re an industry leader when it comes to heavy-haul equipment transportation. Start by calling us or submitting your request through one of the forms below.