Maximize Your Shipping and Receiving With a Yard Ramp

If your business involves any kind of shipping and receiving, a yard ramp might be the key to improving the speed and productivity of your operation.

If you’re not familiar with yard ramps, also sometimes known as forklift ramps, let’s start with the basic definition. A yard ramp is a kind of ramp that can accommodate a forklift and is used as a portable loading dock–a brilliant solution for an operation’s busy times.

Yard Ramps/Forklift Ramps: The Key Advantage

The true utility of a yard ramp lies in its portability. Operations with yard ramps are not confined by the restraints of their loading docks’ availability. A portable yard ramp/forklift ramp can be transported and set up anywhere you have space. Yard ramps are designed to allow their users to transport heavy shipments or other loads, via forklift, from a truck or trailer down to ground level–or vice versa, from the ground to the transport vehicle.

A yard ramp/forklift ramp can also function as a temporary loading dock when space is at a premium. With a yard ramp, your crew does not need to bring items all the way to a permanent loading dock. Instead, you can load or unload wherever you have space for a vehicle to enter.

yard ramp/forklift ramp

Choosing the Right Yard Ramp for Your Operation

There are many different types of yard ramps to choose from. What type should you invest in?

One factor that will affect the type of yard ramp you purchase is the size of your forklift. Most forklifts range from 48’’ to 86’’ in width. Be sure to know the measurements of your forklift(s) when choosing a yard ramp so you select one that will comfortably accommodate it.

Weight capacity is another important factor. Remember to take not only the weight of your forklift into consideration but also the weight of the cargo it will be carrying. Make sure the yard ramp you are considering is capable of handling this combined weight. A general rule of thumb is to choose a ramp with a capacity that is three times the weight capacity of your forklift.

Finally, think about how and where you will be using the yard ramp. If you intend to use it at a loading dock, keep in mind the height of the dock. If using it to access semi-truck trailers, you will need a level to ensure safe access for the forklift on and off the trailer.

forklift yard ramp

FAQs About Yard Ramps/Forklift Ramps

What is the typical height of a yard ramp or forklift ramp?

Most manufacturers offer yard/forklift ramps in the to 40’’-60’’ range. Others, such as Copperloy, have a broader standard range for their mobile yard ramps: 38″-65″ with a standard range for a dock-to-ground ramp of 38″-60″. Some manufacturers also offer customized ramps for unique height requirements.

What are the benefits of buying or renting a portable yard ramp?

  1. Portability. Yard ramps can be moved where the shipment is.
  2. 90-degree turns. Yard ramps allow a forklift to make a full 90-degree turn on the platform.
  3. Extra capacity. Portable yard ramps are a great temporary solution while keeping products moving at an operation’s main shipping and receiving areas. Use a yard ramp to create a temporary dock for extra busy times, whenever the need arises.

Should I choose a steel or aluminum yard ramp?

This depends on how you will use your yard ramp or forklift ramp and the weight capacities your operation requires. While aluminum is lighter and therefore easier to move and transport, this lighter weight means that it cannot handle the type of weight a steel ramp can. In general, an aluminum forklift ramp can accommodate up to about 16,000 pounds. However, a steel forklift ramp can hold much more, about 25,000 pounds.

Another consideration: If you intend to use your yard ramp anywhere near combustible materials, aluminum is recommended because unlike steel, it is unlikely to produce sparks. Aluminum also requires less maintenance. Steel is prone to rust, so if it will be used outdoors, occasional painting or treating is necessary. However, steel yard ramps will also last longer than aluminum.

How much does a portable yard ramp/forklift ramp cost?

When purchased new, standard yard ramps typically range from $6,000 to $12,000. As the unit’s dimensions and weight capacity increase, so does the overall cost. Material is also a factor, with steel ramps costing more than aluminum yard/forklift ramps.

Are there ways to save money on yard ramps or forklift ramps?

Definitely. If you are on a budget, you’ll be glad to know that some manufacturers and sellers offer previously-owned ramps at a discounted price. It’s a good idea to choose a used yard ramp or forklift ramp that is inspected and certified by the manufacturer. Also, consider rental programs from manufacturers such as Copperloy, which has a nationwide distribution system for rentals. If you think your operation will need a ramp only a few times per year, this might be the most economical option.

With yard ramps/forklift ramps, your operation can load or unload wherever space is available. Portable yard ramps give forklift operators access to trucks, trailers, and containers anywhere, any time, providing unprecedented flexibility in your operation.

Contact Copperloy for more information about new, used, and rental ramps.