Hiring a machinery transport company is the only way to move heavy equipment from one location to another. Due to the relatively high cost of heavy equipment transportation, it is important for owners of heavy equipment to understand the various terms commonly used by heavy machinery transport companies. Understanding what these terms mean is the best way for an equipment owner to ensure that he or she is on the same page with the transportation company. An explanation of three commonly used terms is provided below.


In the context of heavy machinery transport, consolidation refers to a situation where the transportation company merges a number of small shipments into a single shipment. This is done when there are several machines to be transported that belong to the same client, or that are headed the same direction. Due to the bulky nature of heavy duty equipment, transportation companies will often not consolidate more than two shipments. Owners of heavy duty equipment should be sure to ask for discounted rates if the machinery transport company decides to consolidate their shipment with that of another client or other clients.

Accessorial Charges

Accessorial charges refer to a number of additional charges that a machinery transport company may levy for services outside the pick-up and delivery of heavy machinery. Accessorial charges may be levied when the transportation companies are forced to use additional equipment such as tarps and ramps to facilitate the transportation of heavy equipment.

Accessorial charges may also be levied when the company offers storage for the equipment in the event that the owner delays to pick up the same. In the same breath, transportation companies will introduce this charge in the event of a fuel surcharge or to compensate for unnecessary waiting times during transportation.

Transportation Quote And Transportation Rate

The two mentioned terms are often used interchangeably despite the clear difference in their meanings. Incorrect use of these two terms is often to blame when cost-related disputes arise between the client and the machinery transport company. The transportation quote refers to an approximation of the expected total cost of equipment transportation based on the nature of information provided by the client to the machinery transport company. Information commonly used to arrive at a transportation quote includes the total weight of machines to be transported and the distance to be covered during transportation.

On the other hand, the term transportation rate refers to the actual cost of the transportation exercise and is the final amount that the equipment owner receives on their invoice. The transportation rate incorporates any accessorial charges levied for transportation services. For this reason, the transportation rate is more often than not higher than the transportation quote given prior to the transportation exercise.