What is dock loading?

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To some of you this will seem a stupid question, to others, an eye opening read. To those of you who already have loading docks for trucks you may think that everyone who loads a lot of trucks daily would have them…as they are a brilliant invention. But no, it’s not so.

Let’s explain dock loading in a simple way.

After products at a manufacturing facility are packed, labelled and are ready for sale, these are then transferred and loaded onto a truck or in a container for transportation to supermarket and retail stores. This process of moving goods from the production facility to trucks and trailers, and vice versa, is where dock loading comes into play, specifically for trucks and trailers which have to be loaded from the rear (no side curtains, commonly chiller trucks).

Dock loading is based around the idea of having a raised building, or a sunk parking area, so that when trucks back up to this area the inside level is that of the building level, ensuring easy access for forklifts and personnel. This means both safety and efficiency is enhanced, meaning therefore that almost all production facilities, warehouses and distribution centers should have a modern, up to date dock loading area.

In today’s highly competitive world, the efficient flow of products in and out of facilities is critical. The loading dock is a point of contact where transportation and storage hook up.

Let’s run through the common parts of a modern loading dock:

Dock Bumpers: These take the wall impact and protect the dock from truck and trailer damage, and may also be used as a guide by the truck driver when backing up.
Dock Leveller: A height-adjustable steel platform used as a bridge between dock and truck, which can be operated via mechanical (spring) or automatic hydraulic or air powered systems.
Dock Lift: Serves same function as a leveller but operates similar to a scissor lift to allow for greater height adjustments for varied truck heights.
Dock Seals: Compressible PVC or foam sides around the dock doorway which the truck presses back against when parked. Used to prevent weather entering the building and enhance energy saving on Coldstorage facilities.
Wheel Chocks: Small rubber or aluminium triangles which are put in front of the tyres of a truck to stop it from moving away from the dock while being loaded.
Truck Restraints: Hooks and tyre holders which lock in place when the truck is parked, to prevent truck or trailer move whilst being loaded. These are an upgraded more safer version of the wheel chocks.
Dock Light: A movable articulating light mounted inside the dockway used to provide lighting inside the truck during loading operations.
Traffic Lights: Used on both the outside and inside of the dockway, to indicate to the truck driver when is safe to move, and the forklift driver when is safe to load. Also helps guide trucks into the loading dock, and prevents large damage.
Dock Control Units: Integrate the dock doorway, leveller, truck restraints, traffic lighting and any other dock equipment to ensure the safest sequence of dock loading is used.

As you can see, dock loading is a very complex operation, but can be as simple as you want it to be! It all depends on how energy efficient, safe and hygienic you want it to be.

There are many different types and options of each of the above parts of a dock loading system, as well as many different configurations on how these are laid out to ensure the system is the fastest, safest, most economical system for your facility, your workers and your equipment.

Get in touch with Ulti Group today to get your free onsite assessment and helpful advice from one of our pro’s! Email us on support@ultigroup.co.nz or call us on 0800 807 753. We look forward to hearing from you!


External view of trucks at a loading dock:



Forklift driving over a dock leveller into a truck: 



Dock Leveller in stored position with door closed: