how to ship heavy equipment overseas

Do you own a construction company or any other type of business requiring you to import or transport heavy equipment overseas? This could be anything from heavy agricultural equipment like tractors or maybe several large trucks needed for operations overseas. Whatever the reason, you should be aware of the most efficient and economical options available to you for transport.

Technology has definitely improved communication between international shippers as well as obtaining proper clearance and any required payments. While transporting heavy equipment may not be as easy as say sending an invoice by email, it still isn’t the daunting task most people would imagine it to be. In this post we hope to identify some important points to consider when shipping heavy machinery overseas as well as the appropriate procedures, methods and proper preparation of your shipment.

What You Should Know About Transporting Heavy Machinery Overseas


It’s important to mention that shipping heavy equipment overseas requires the equipment owner to perform their due diligence before trusting their valuable machinery into the hands of a transport agent. In most cases heavy machinery is very expensive and would be negligent to leave anything to chance. Whatever transport company you go with needs to have the best reputation with decades of experience in the heavy haul industry. They should be familiar with handling documents like invoices and certificates of origin as well as any other documents required to ship an item across international waters. Here are 4 things to take into consideration before shipping your valuable heavy equipment.

1.      Machinery Size And Dimensions

Any shipping guidelines will make more sense once you are aware of the size and dimensions of the heavy equipment you are looking to ship. That said, all ports aren’t the same. Some ports can handle the capacity of a large ship while others may have shallow waters allowing only smaller ships. You will need to be aware of regulations and whether your freight is small enough for the port to accommodate entry into the country. Check with your local shipping guidelines in order to determine if your cargo is the right size or if you’ll need to adjust your shipping options.  

2.      Customs And Documentation

You will need to be aware of your country’s customs and documentation requirements. Every country will have their own standards and regulations governing the transport of heavy machinery to and from their shipping ports. It is unlikely that you will have experience in this regard so it may be worthwhile to contact a reputable transport company that’s experienced in these matters and can help you navigate these complex transactions. There are also clearing fees involved with customs checks and something to consider for your budget as well.

3.      Transport Options

Once you’ve gotten all your shipping procedures sorted out, it’s time to start thinking about your shipping options. There are two important factors here: The shipping distance as well as the dimensions of the freight being shipped. You generally have three transport options to pick from.

Roll On-Roll Off

This option should be considered if the heavy equipment is self propelled and can be driven directly onto the ship and off upon delivery.

Flat Rack

This is a great option if your machinery is unable to be driven on or off the shipping vessel. In this case the equipment is loaded onto a rack before being stacked onto the ship.


Provided your heavy equipment shipment can be fit inside an enclosed container this is another available option for transport. With this method a crane loads and unloads the shipping container onto the deck of the ship. If you can easily disassemble your equipment then this option may be for you.

Risk Assessment


Depending on how delicate your heavy machinery is you may consider the risk management policy by your packing company to determine whether your machinery will arrive at its destination safely in one piece. If your freight is expensive you may want to hire an expert surveyor to supervise the loading and unloading process as well as using someone to evaluate your equipment’s value before and after delivery. This valuation is important when trying to apply for a commercial insurance policy.



Transporting heavy equipment overseas isn’t the same as if you were to hire a heavy haul trucking company to ship your equipment across the country. The international shipping process is more complicated, has higher shipping costs and exposes your machinery to more risk. You will need to ensure your equipment arrives at the destination in one piece. For optimal results you should hire a transport company that has experience and the ability to transport your equipment with minimum hassle. Contact We Will Transport It today for a free no obligation quote at 800.677.1196


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