Machinery is typically heavy, odd sized, and valuable, which can make shipping a challenge. Whether it’s a printing press, farming equipment, or parts for a wind turbine, transporting these types of items safely and successfully takes know-how from experienced professionals.
Mitigate the inherent risks of shipping machinery and parts with this best-practices checklist:
Follow the Rules
Large machinery and its corresponding parts often require special handling and extra paperwork. Be aware of:
- Shipping restrictions and regulations, particularly if your cargo is crossing international borders (export, import, and customs regulations)
- Duties, taxes, and other fees, which vary by state and country
- Loading guidelines for the equipment, such as the use of locking pins, brakes, deck wideners, etc.
And you must obtain or provide:
- Accurate values and descriptions of your cargo
- Safety inspections that prove your shipment is up to code and in working order
- Permits for oversized shipments (if needed)
Determine the Freight Class
How much will is cost to ship your machinery? Will it be properly protected and accounted for? The freight class is your answer to both those questions. There are four factors that determine which of the 18 freight classes your shipment will fall under:
- Density (pounds per cubic foot): Heavy machinery and parts need to be loaded on vehicles with the proper suspension to handle the weight.
- Stowability: The level of difficulty required to stow or transport cargo will affect it’s freight class. This can include items regulated by the government, unusual dimensions (e.g. excessive height that would require rerouting to avoid overpasses), hazardous materials, etc.
- Handling: The ease of loading and unloading cargo is taken into account, which includes packaging, fragility, and dimensions.
- Liability: How likely is it that the machinery or parts will be damaged or stolen? Or will damage other freight? The more likely, the more your cargo will go up in freight class.
Load Up Properly
Depending on the type of cargo, the best way to load machinery and parts will vary. Some general rules of thumb to keep items secure include:
- Use direct tiedowns whenever possible, even though that will require more tiedowns than indirect. Chain tiedowns are preferred for heavy equipment and machinery.
- Distribute the weight of the machinery on the transport vehicle so the load is balanced.
- Follow the manufacturer’s securement recommendations.
Get All-Risk Insurance
Limited liability insurance provided by carriers is… limited. To fully protect valuable machinery and parts from loss or damage, it’s advised to obtain all-risk insurance. The best all-risk insurance includes:
- Door-to-door coverage
- Payment regardless of shipper’s ability to prove carrier negligence
- Payment for losses outside carrier control
- Payment for full value of lost or damaged goods
Follow these practical and compliant practices for shipping machinery to ensure your equipment arrives intact and on time.