What is a Liftgate and How Does it Work?

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If you are asking about liftgates, then odds are you are expecting a delivery that requires one.

There is no need to worry. They are simple in function, easy to use, and not as rare of service as you might think.

What is a Liftgate

It is a piece of hydraulic (sometimes electric) equipment that installs on the rear of a truck which enables freight to be lifted from the ground to the height of the truck’s tailgate, or from the tailgate to the ground.

How Does it Work

A truck or trailer that has been equipped with a tailgate is not easy to miss. They are large, heavy pieces of equipment that add significant weight to the gross vehicle weight.

The standard liftgate utilizes a hydraulic pressure to force a piston through a cylinder which raises and lowers the gate. They are typically controlled via a switch box with a simple “up” and “down” function.

What Does Liftgate at Delivery Mean

When a shipment has been specified as requiring a liftgate at delivery, it generally means that the consignee (party receiving the shipment) does not have a shipping dock or a forklift to unload the freight.

Do I Need a Liftgate

They are required any time a facility does not have the ability to lift freight to the height of a trailer, or down from the tailgate to the ground.

No Access to Loading Dock- Facilities that do not operate a loading dock or shipping bay do not have the capacity to load a standard 53’ semi-trailer or container unless they operate a forklift.

They are not required for floor loaded shipments so long as the individual freight items do not weigh more than 150 pounds each. If the individual freight items weigh more than 150 pounds each a forklift or liftgate is typically required.

Construction Sites- They are common in construction areas wherein an adequate shipping dock has not been built. They are typically used on construction sites to unload construction materials from shipping container, trailers, and flatbeds.

Residential Service & Home Delivery- Very few homes are properly equipped to unload a shipping trailer or container.

Shipments that are too large for standard shipping (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.) and which require residential service will also typically require a liftgate.

Furniture and home building materials are the most common freight items that require a liftgate for residential service and home delivery.

However, if you are expecting the delivery of a large freight item, and you do not have the capacity to unload it is necessary to source a liftgate service.

What Does Liftgate Service Include

With the exception of how the freight is loaded or unloaded from the trailer a liftgate service functions in the same manner as a standard shipment.

The driver or a lumper (paid loading crew) will always be responsible for the operation of the liftgate and unloading the freight.

 

 

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