How Do You Ship a Forklift?

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ID-100203365 (1)One of the most common questions we get during and after a forklift sale is, “How do I get the machine here?”  Many of National Warehouse Equipment’s customers are several states away, some as far as across the country.  A forklift or several forklifts are not exactly the type of equipment you can box up and stick into an outgoing mail slot.  So how do you move a forklift?  It is MUCH more affordable than you might think!

National Warehouse Equipment moves thousands of forklifts every year and we have several partnerships with freight companies that help us be as price competitive as possible when moving your forklifts.

The most important thing to remember is that it is not overly expensive to move forklifts!  Buying from out of state can oftentimes be the most cost efficient way to purchase a forklift even if you have to move it thousands of miles.

With any kind of shipping, the 3 determining factors of price are:

1.) Weight

2.) Dimensions

3.) Material (ex. hazardous, electrical, etc…)

There are several different types of equipment we would use to ship forklifts:

  • Vans or trailers are very conventional…you drive next to them everyday on the highway
  • Flatbeds
  • Step-decks
  • RGNs
  • Rail containers

Your 3 determining factors and availability will decide what type of equipment your forklift will be delivered on.  Let’s start with vans and trailers.

Vans or TrailersGotthard Frontman Steve Lee Killed In Motorcycle Accident

Vans are the standard of the shipping business.  They are closed in trailers, normally 53′ long and can have a couple different kinds of doors.  Vans are typically 109″ – 111″ high inside the door and 99″ wide.  These are used whenever possible.  They are typically less expensive, more readily available and very practical ESPECIALLY when moving electric or battery operated forklifts when you need to keep them protected from the elements.

FlatbedsKalmar DCF300 Lifting (2)

Flatbeds are also very common.  They can be useful when a dock is not available for loading or unloading because someone can lift the forklift on or off from the side using a larger machine.  However, the overall height of the forklift can not exceed 102″ due to a flatbed being higher off the ground than a the deck of a van.  DOT regulation height is 13.5′ so when your forklift’s lowered overall height (OAL) is taller than 102″ or even 109″, you will have to use a step deck or RGN.

Step Deck (aka Single Drop)100_2266

These machines usually have less capacity than a flatbed or van, but they are usually a full foot and a half shorter than those trucks so they can haul taller machines.  While there is normally some variation, the lowered height of a forklift can be 122″ and still ship legally on a step deck.

RGN (aka Double Drop)Cat-P36000-Forklift-4

Not to leave too much up to the imagination, an RGN or double drop shorter than a step deck and is used with excessively tall loads.  A big advantage to RGNs is that they remove from the truck and the forklift can be driven on and off the trailer.  A very important benefit especially when moving large and high capacity forklifts.

Rail ContainersID-100180103

Rail containers are the metal boxes you see trailing behind trains, stacked on huge freight ships, and occasionally behind trucks.  They are very popular for international shipping and cross country.  Dimensions are extremely important when considering rail containers.  Most are standard dimensions and overall height restrictions are around 94″.  However, sometimes high cubes are available to give over 100″ of height capacity.  While not as common for domestic shipping, they are almost essential for import and export.



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