If you’re working in the oil & gas industry, you may occasionally need to move drilling equipment and other heavy machinery between oil fields and work areas – and whenever you’re moving such valuable equipment, you need to make sure you’re taking every step you can to keep your property safe during the transportation process. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at a few tips and best practices you should follow whenever you’re shipping heavy-duty oil field equipment.
1. Start By Shopping Around With Different Logistics Providers
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you use a qualified logistics and shipping provider that has previous experience in the field of shipping heavy equipment, including oil field equipment like pumps, drills, and other machinery used in the oil & gas industries.
When you are consulting with a logistics provider for a heavy-duty oil field equipment shipping project, there are a few basic questions you should ask to make sure they’re qualified for the job. Consider asking the following:
● Have you worked with clients in the oil & gas industry before?
● Do you have adequate trucks, ramps, tie-downs & securing equipment, and other tools required to move heavy-duty machinery?
● Do you offer oversize load services? If so, do you provide escort cars and acquire permits?
● Can your driver operate the equipment, if necessary, during unloading, or will there need to be a qualified operator on-site?
One of the best ways to make sure you’re working with a qualified shipping company is to ask for a referral to a past client in the oil & gas industry. Any reputable heavy machinery logistics company would be happy to put you in touch with a past client, and this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about what to expect from their services.
Shopping around with different logistics providers also lets you get a better understanding of how much you can expect to pay to ship your heavy-duty oil field equipment, as you can get multiple quotes for the project.
2. Consider Insurance Options For Your Equipment
While your shipping company may be covered by their own policy in case of an accident or issue while shipping your machinery, it may not cover all of the value of your heavy-duty oil field equipment – which can easily be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
In the rare case that there is an accident involving your equipment before it reaches its destination, you want to make sure that you’re fully covered – otherwise, you could find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
There are a lot of different insurance companies that offer policies for moving heavy machinery, so we recommend reaching out to a few reputable firms that specialize in oil & gas equipment insurance and shipping insurance.
It may seem like overkill to take out a policy just for the time you’re shipping your gear, but in the case that something goes wrong, insurance can really be a life-saver and ensure you’re properly compensated for the value of your equipment.
3. Prepare Your Equipment Before Shipment For A Smoother Process
We highly recommend cleaning your heavy-duty oil equipment thoroughly before it’s shipped, particularly if it’s been exposed to volatile, flammable organic compounds from oil and gas drilling. There’s no reason to risk a fire, and dirty, oily, or greasy equipment can be harder to handle, tie-down, and ship.
We also recommend draining fuel and checking tire pressure, if applicable and checking on fluid levels for your equipment, if applicable. Remove all projections and accessories that can easily be taken off of the equipment. Before your heavy-duty oil field equipment is shipped, it should be in tip-top shape.
4. Disassemble Large Equipment To Avoid Oversize Load Designations
This may be a good option for some types of oil field equipment. An oversize load designation means you’ll pay much more for permits and for the shipment of your equipment, and you’ll also have to pay one or more escort cars and drivers. The cost of shipping an oversize load is much higher overall.
So, for some types of equipment, it may make sense to disassemble it and pack it into multiple tractor-trailers to be reassembled at your job site. For simpler equipment that is relatively easy to take apart, this is a great way to save some money on shipping costs.
However, it’s not worth it for all heavy-duty oil field equipment. It may not be possible to disassemble some equipment and machinery – and for others, the monetary and time cost of disassembling and reassembling it may exceed the cost of simply having it shipped as an oversize load.
So make sure to consult with your project management team, mechanics, and other experts to create a risk assessment plan, and determine the proper plan of action for your job.
5. Find A Suitable Area For Loading And Unloading At Both Sites
Before you begin planning the logistics of loading and transporting your heavy-duty oil field equipment, it’s important to choose a suitable area for loading and unloading your equipment.
While equipment like bulldozers and other types of self-moving machinery is easy to load, stationary drilling equipment, pipes, pumping equipment, and other such gear will require more specialized loading and unloading.
You may need to use a crane or other such equipment to load your gear onto the flatbed or into the trailer of the shipping vehicle – so make sure you have this equipment in place, and that you have equipment operators on-hand to make sure that the loading process goes smoothly.
The same thing is applicable when it comes to unloading your heavy-duty oil field equipment. You will need to make sure you have a clear area that’s prepared in advance for the shipment, where the truck will have easy access, and all required equipment and operators are on-site to streamline the process of loading and unloading.
If you do not plan the loading and unloading process in advance, you could end up paying a lot of fees to your shipping company if you miss the deadline for loading or unloading, and the driver has to come back later.
Take Your Time & Plan Carefully When Shipping Heavy Duty Oil Field Equipment
We hope the above tips have helped you as you begin planning the shipment and logistics of delivering heavy-duty oil field equipment to another job site. Above all else, it’s important to remember that when it comes to shipping heavy machinery, you should “measure twice, and cut once.”
That is, taking the time to plan carefully is the best way to save time and money, and make sure that your equipment arrives at the job site safely, and on time. If you just “wing it” and hope for the best, the chance of something going wrong is much higher. So take your time and follow these tips – if you do, your shipping project is sure to go off without a hitch.