Liftgate Delivery: What Means, Costs, and Do You Need It?

Liftgate delivery presents a cost-effective option for loading, trans-loading, and unloading Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments of heavy or oversized items. But what exactly is a lift gate, and more importantly, is it something you require? Continue reading to discover the answers.

What is a liftgate?

A liftgate, also known as a tail lift or hydraulic lift, is a mechanical platform installed at the rear of trucks, trailers, or vans. 

It helps to load and unload goods in locations that lack a loading dock. You may opt for liftgate pickup at your point of origin or liftgate delivery at your destination.

While manual handling of goods onto trucks is possible, shipments are often heavy. Relying solely on individual labor for these tasks can result in injuries, damaged goods, and potential legal complications.

Liftgates allow delivery teams to load and unload goods mechanically, significantly reducing the risk of injuries and accidents and saving time, money, and resources.

How does it work?

A standard liftgate utilizes a hydraulic pressure (sometimes electric power) system to move the tailgate platform. And it is typically operated via a switch box featuring main “up” and “down” functions. Some trucks have two or more liftgate plates that slide over each other, expanding the platform area for cargo loading and unloading.

For example, the liftgate will extend outward from the truck when the control box switch is turned to the DOWN position. Then, You can transfer the shipment onto it using either a pallet jack or manual labor. Finally, lay down the liftgate to unload the goods at the destination.

Do I require liftgate delivery services?

Liftgate shipping becomes essential whenever a facility or fulfillment center can not lift cargo to the height of a truck or lower it from the tailgate to ground level.

Here are specific situations in which you need a liftgate for delivery:

  1. A forklift or liftgate is typically necessary if an individual shipment weighs more than 70kg (approximately 150 pounds).
  2. When your shipment cannot access a loading dock or if a shipping bay cannot load a standard 53’ semi-trailer or container without a forklift.
  3. Shipments to construction sites often need liftgates to unload construction materials from floor-loaded containers, trailers, and flatbeds.
  4. Cargo that exceeds the limits of standard shipping services (such as USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.) and requires residential delivery service with a liftgate.

How much is the liftgate fee? 

In most cases, virtually all freight carriers will impose a charge for lift ate delivery service. This fee typically covers the use of lift gates, pallet jacks, or forklifts for loading and unloading.

The liftgate fee can range from $50 to $150 per occurrence, depending on the carrier, service, and shipment specifications.

However, this fee may apply to more extra charges if the delivery location is particularly challenging or requests special handling.

You can contact our shipping expert for a free quote online to get accurate and up-to-date liftgate usage fees.

Are there alternatives to liftgate delivery?

If the delivery location has a loading dock or elevated platform, goods can be unloaded directly from the truck using forklifts or pallet jacks. However, if such facilities are unavailable or inaccessible, you may need a liftgate service to handle the cargo.

Since liftgate delivery fees may be slightly more expensive, it’s beneficial to seek the most cost-effective and efficient solution from a dedicated logistics provider.

Airsupply, a leading China freight forwarder, empowers you to effortlessly compare and select carriers based on their lift gate capabilities, service levels, and pricing.

Moreover, we offer a limited-time promotion of 20% off on international air cargo services with next-day delivery, providing exceptional value and expedited shipping options to you.

Our dedicated team is committed to assisting you in navigating the array of delivery options available, whether for LTL shipments or any other mode of transportation.

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