International Heavy Machinery Shipping: A Guide

Whether it’s a paver, concrete mixer, forklift, or bulldozer, shipping heavy machinery internationally is always a complex endeavor. This blog serves as a guide for everything you should keep in mind to make the experience smooth sailing.



While most licensed transporters are mandated by law to have cargo and liability insurance, this only covers a certain amount of damage. If you’re shipping high-value heavy equipment, you’ll find that this minimum doesn’t cover its total value.

Some transporters give you the option of purchasing more insurance from them. If yours doesn’t, however, there are many third parties who provide the service. It’s essential to ensure that your policy covers any contingencies that may arise.


First and foremost, you must have comprehensive measurements and the weight of the heavy equipment that you are shipping. The longest dimension on every axis determines how big the trailer you send it on needs to be, while the weight plays a role in what type of trailer will be utilized.


If your heavy equipment has wheels, Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping is generally used. Ramps are used to drive your equipment on to and off the transport vessel, greatly simplifying the process.

Flat rack containers are also used. Your equipment is set on a flat rack—most of which can handle almost 90,000 pounds of weight—after which it is loaded onto a transport vessel. Specialized cases may also require you to disassemble your heavy equipment.


It is essential that you can answer the following questions before you ship heavy equipment internationally:

  • Have you ensured that the machine is free of dirt or contamination that might get it rejected and cost you a lot of money?
  • Do you know how you’re transporting it to the port from where it has to leave?
  • Do you have all the relevant documents, so Customs clearance is not an issue on arrival?
  • Do you know the specific port formalities and requirements of the port you’re shipping to?


Vaal Machinery is your recommended supplier for new and used machines for the earthmoving-,demolition-and mining industry.
BIG Machinery stocks heavy equipment, consisting of more than 500 machines.
We havethe largestfleet in Europe, and consequently, we can deliver the equipment you want anywhere in the world atvery short notice.