A lift gate is a common service freight carriers offer to shippers. So what is a lift gate and, more importantly, do you need one? Read on to find out.
What is a Lift Gate
A lift gate helps lift heavy objects up to the opening – or gate – of a trailer. Think of it as a mini freight elevator attached to a truck.
A semi-truck or van fitted with a lift gate will have a steel base attached to the back side of its trailer, near the bumper. This base allows the truck driver to lift and lower pallets and boxes with the push of a button.
Which Carriers Offer Lift Gates?
Carrier fleets that specialize in hauling LTL shipments typically offer lift gate service. LTL shippers don’t have enough freight to fill an entire truck, and they often don’t have large, fully staffed warehouses with shipping docks either. These LTL shippers can pay an extra fee to their carrier to reserve a truck fitted with a lift gate.
Benefits of Using a Lift Gate
If you’re at a location that doesn’t have a loading dock, your team will be responsible for lifting heavy goods from the ground onto a truck, which can result in accidents and injuries. A lift gate protects your freight, as well as any staff who are physically responsible for getting your product into a trailer for transport.
Other lift gate benefits:
- Reduce the amount of staff needed for loading and unloading
- Bypass the need for a loading dock
- Forgo the use of a forklift
Lift Gate Alternatives
Ultimately, your shipment prep options will depend on your budget and business location. Using a load dock and a forklift is an option for some, but not all, shippers. Outsourcing your shipment prep and loading altogether can also be done, but it can get expensive quickly.
The Bottom Line
Hiring a carrier with lift gate equipped trucks is often the most economical way for LTL shippers to simplify transport and reduce damage risk.