How are forklifts shipped?

How are forklifts shipped?

Forklifts are the workhorses of warehouses, construction sites, and industrial facilities, but have you ever wondered how these heavy-duty machines make their way from the manufacturer to their final destination? The logistics of shipping a forklift might not be something you think about every day, but it’s a fascinating process that involves precision, safety, and efficiency.

In this blog post, we’ll take you behind the scenes to uncover the secrets of forklift shipping, from the initial stages at the factory to the moment it arrives at your doorstep. Join us as we explore the intricate journey of these essential vehicles and the careful planning that goes into ensuring they reach their destination intact and ready to get to work.

Packing and protecting the equipment for transport

Before being shipped, forklifts undergo careful preparation to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. This begins with protecting vulnerable parts that could get damaged during transit.

  • Attachable parts like mast assemblies, counterweights and forks are removed and securely packed in custom wooden crates. This reduces the overall size and weight of the forklift for shipping.
  • Sensitive electrical components and wiring harnesses are wrapped in foam, pipe wrap or bubble wrap and sealed in moisture-proof packaging. This protects them from impacts and prevents water or moisture damage.
  • Holes and openings on the forklift are covered with wooden planks or metal plates that are bolted in place. This seals vulnerable areas that could collect debris.
  • The tires are deflated and wheels are secured to the frame using heavy duty straps or chains to prevent any movement during transport.
  • Grease and oil ports are sealed to prevent contamination and leaks. Any remaining fluids in the engine or hydraulic system are drained out.
  • Remaining loose parts like the dashboard, rear view mirrors and lighting fixtures are fastened down or removed altogether.

Once disassembled and protected, the forklift body is thoroughly cleaned, inspected for any pre-existing damages and given a coat of wax or preservative. Customizable mounting points are also welded onto the frame to interface with lifting fixtures and tie-down straps.

forklift shipping

Loading and securing on transport vehicles

There are a few main types of vehicles used to transport forklifts depending on the distance, delivery timeline and transport mode:


Smaller forklifts up to 5 tons are usually transported on the back of enclosed semi-trailers or flatbed trucks. The loading process involves:

  • Lifting the forklift body onto the trailer bed using mobile cranes or forklifts. Mounting points are engaged to safely lift from multiple contact points.
  • Wedging wooden timbers or metal chocks around the forklift tires and frame to prevent any side-to-side or front-back movement.
  • Securing the forklift with heavy duty ratchet straps wrapped around the frame and anchored to steel fixture points beneath the trailer floor.
  • Additional loose components are carefully loaded alongside and strapped down. Tarps may be used to protect the load during extreme weather.

Train cars

Larger volumes of forklifts between 5-15 tons are often shipped by rail over long distances. This involves:

  • Loading individual forklifts one by one onto specialized flatbed train cars using mobile cranes.
  • Chocking and strapping each forklift down lengthwise along the rail car with steel chains.
  • Securing crates of spare parts and components onto wooden pallets lashed to the rail car floor.
  • Sealing the train doors shut before departure to prevent access and protect against weather, debris and theft during transit by rail.


International and some domestic shipments of heavy industrial forklifts over 15 tons are loaded onto cargo vessels. This massive undertaking involves:

  • Transporting the forklifts over land on special heavyweight trucks to shipping ports.
  • Using dockside container gantry cranes to lift each forklift into custom built steel shipping containers several stories tall.
  • Bracing forklifts with timber framed braces and cargo nets along container walls before sealing doors.
  • Stacking containers onto the deck of cargo freighters using quay cranes for ocean transport.

Additionally, Proper load planning and packing techniques are crucial to protect millions of dollars worth of specialized equipment safely in transit over land and sea.

Tracking shipments during transport

Monitoring new forklift shipments during transport is important for timely delivery updates, customs paperwork and trucking coordination. Technologies used include:

  • GPS tracking devices attached discreetly to vehicles provide real-time locations updated online or via mobile apps. This monitors progress and alerts to delays.
  • On-board security cameras record footage that can identify issues like accidents or tampering during trips and be reviewed after delivery if needed.
  • Electronic logging devices (ELDs) in trucks automatically log hours, mileage, locations and driver hours of service to comply with DOT regulations.
  • Customs brokers handle import documents and coordinate inspections at borders or seaports using electronic advance manifest submissions from carriers.
  • Transportation management systems provide end-to-end visibility of shipments, proof of deliveries and automated notifications to receivers of estimated arrival times.

This allows for quick interventions if issues arise, rerouting or scheduling deliveries in advance of shipments arriving unattended at facilities. Technology provides accountability and assurance during long distance forklift transports.

Offloading and acceptance

Upon arrival at destinations, the offloading process is conducted in reverse order of loading:

  • Trailers and containers are opened and contents inspected for damage before unsecuring cargo.
  • Mobile cranes lift individual forklifts or pallets of parts from vehicles or containers onto waiting trucks or lay-down areas.
  • Packing materials like timber braces and cargo nets are removed from the freight.
  • Forklifts are slowly lowered and driven off transport vehicles under their own power or towed once drive systems are reconnected.
  • Attachable parts are reassembled by technicians according to model-specific instructions.
  • Pre-delivery inspections check for issues from transit and perform quality assurance before accepting equipment.
  • Receipts, invoices and titles are signed off after satisfactory delivery confirmation by buyers and carriers.

Proper unloading protocols ensure safe removal of heavy equipment and components from trucks, trains and ships. Thorough acceptance checks receive forklifts in the same condition they were shipped to customers worldwide.

Choosing transport providers for shipping a forklift

Selecting reputable carriers is critical for safely delivering expensive forklifts intact. Factors forklift dealers consider include:

  • Specialized equipment like customized lowboy trailers, gantry cranes and machinery suited for heavy cargo transport.
  • Experience efficiently loading, securing and transporting industrial machinery with minimal scheduling delays.
  • Fleet sizes able to handle large volumes of freight at once versus piecemeal shipments.
  • International partnerships and knowledge of import/export regulations across regions.
  • Technologies for real-time tracking, electronic logging and monitoring shipments en route.
  • Insurance policies appropriately covering millions in cargo value from point of origin to destination.
  • Positive past shipping records with timely deliveries and minimal damages to maintain customer satisfaction.

Forklift companies partner strategically with trusted shipping a forklift carriers able to navigate complex global supply chains professionally and get their products into customer hands as seamlessly as possible.

US forklift market size

US Forklift Market Size Data USA

The US forklift market size data USA provides a comprehensive overview of the current trends and statistics in the industry. With a growing demand for efficient material handling equipment, this data offers valuable insights into the various factors impacting the market, including key players, product types, applications, and region-specific analysis. By examining this information, businesses can make informed decisions regarding investment opportunities, competitive strategies, and future growth potential.

Additionally, the US forklift market size data USA is a critical tool for industry professionals looking to stay ahead of evolving market dynamics and emerging technologies. Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, or end-user of forklifts, leveraging this data can help drive success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Parting Words

As one of the world’s most important tools for material handling operations, forklifts are shipped meticulously via intricate logistical networks both domestic and abroad. However, their safe transport requires careful disassembly, protective packaging, specialized loading, real-time tracking, customs expertise and experienced operators.

Lastly, Choosing qualified transportation partners is key to delivering new forklifts exactly as needed by distribution centers, manufacturing plants and warehouses worldwide. Ongoing innovation in cargo handling technologies also continues streamlining forklift shipment logistics to serve growing global commerce and industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can you provide tracking information for my forklift while it is in transit?

A. Yes, we understand the importance of knowing exactly where your forklift is during shipment. That’s why our shipping services include real-time tracking so you can monitor the progress of your delivery from start to finish. You will receive a unique tracking number upon booking your shipment, which you can use to access updates and location information through our user-friendly online platform or by contacting our customer support team. Rest assured that your forklift will be in safe hands and you will always be in the know about its journey to its destination.

Q. How much does it typically cost to ship a forklift domestically or internationally?

A. The cost of shipping a forklift can vary depending on several factors such as the size and weight of the forklift, the distance it needs to be transported, and any additional services required. At, we provide competitive and personalized quotes for domestic and international forklift shipments. Our team takes into consideration all these factors and uses our extensive network of carriers to find the most cost-effective option for you. Rest assured that our dedicated team will handle your forklift with care and provide a hassle-free shipping experience. Contact us today for a quote tailored to your specific needs.

Q. What are the different shipping options available for transporting a forklift?

A. At, we offer a variety of shipping options to transport your forklift safely and efficiently. These include open and enclosed carriers, flatbed trucks, and even air freight for expedited delivery. Our team will work with you to determine the best option based on the distance, size, and urgency of your shipment. Additionally, we provide door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal service for added convenience and flexibility. With our network of trusted carriers and competitive rates, you can trust us to handle all your forklift shipping needs.