loading docks

Loading and unloading docks

Loading docks remain the most efficient method for loading and unloading goods. At Alapont Logistics, we are leading loading dock equipment manufacturers, offering a diverse range of leveller models tailored to meet unique client requirements. From hydraulic to mechanical and special dock levellers, we provide custom-designed solutions for specific dock characteristics.

Our comprehensive product and service offerings include manufacturing and installation of loading docks and components, such as lifting levelers, insulating shelters, and doors, ensuring enhanced efficiency and functionality.

Loading docks models

Standard hydraulic leveler

A suitable solution for any loading dock. It is characterised by its strength and safety.

Vertical hydraulic leveler

The ideal solution for docks that require strict temperature control and high levels of cleanliness.

Telescopic hydraulic leveler

This is the best option for reduced spaces where a conventional leveler is not viable.


This consists of a formwork box, which comes as a kit along with the leveler chosen, eliminating the need to build a pit.

Aluminum loading bridges​

This adapts to the space of the existing dockwithout needing any or needing very little construction work. A fast and economic solution.

Steel loading bridges​

Sturdy and hard-wearing. Does not require the construction of a pit or a power supply.

Edge of dock Leveller

This is the best option for reduced spaces where a conventional leveler is not viable.

Custom made dock leveler

Adapted to the characteristics of the dock, whatever the manufacturer. No need to carry out construction work.

Dock house

Solution when the construction of the buildings does not allow the installation of internal levelers or a pit is not envisaged for the docks.

Yard ramp

An effective solution when a loading dock that allows the required tasks to be performed is not available.

Practical Guide to Loading Docks

Loading and unloading docks are crucial logistics zones where goods are transferred between industries or warehouses. The key component is loading dock ramps, bridging the height difference between the warehouse floor and transport vehicles, ensuring a seamless connection.

The loading zone is composed of several elements:

Preventive Measures in the Design of a Loading Dock

preventive measures in the design of loading dock
  • The distance between loading docks must be a minimum of 3,700 mm, measured from the center of each door, with an optimal distance of 4,600 mm. In the case of a side wall, there should be a minimum distance of 2,400 mm and an optimal distance of 3,300 mm between the door axis and the side wall.
  • Loading and unloading doors should have a width reference of between 2,500 and 3,000 mm and a height of 3,000 to 3,600 mm.
  • To facilitate semi-trailer maneuvers, it is recommended to have a distance of 32 m in front of the dock, which can be reduced to 30 m if the distance between two trucks is a minimum of 2,000 mm.
  • The minimum overlap of a dock leveler should be at least 100 mm.
  • For the water outlet, it is recommended to have a 1% slope in the straight section towards the fold. This prevents water retained on the truck from flowing towards the dock shelter.

The optimal length of the loading hopper – without maneuvering space – is calculated as follows:

  • Approximately 18 m of straight section based on the length of the truck. This length should be increased for longer vehicles.
  • Additionally, a section with a determined slope. The length of the sloped section depends on two factors:

Vehicle: Most vehicles allow for a slope of up to 10%. In the case of short coupling systems, the maximum slope is 7%.

Height difference between the road surface and the height of the ramp.

Ideally, the loading docks should be above the loading surface of the type of vehicle that uses it most frequently. This provides a favorable incline angle and prevents trucks from deviating from the stops. In the case of mixed transports, that is, with different loading surface heights, an average ramp height should be chosen, based on the most common heights.

measures loading docks

What risk factors exist in the loading and unloading area?

The loading and unloading dock area requires certain safety conditions to prevent accidents for operators, maintenance personnel, and all other external users near the loading point.

You can access this link to see the risk factors. Among them, we can enumerate the following:

  • Entrapment of people between a vehicle and the loading dock or other vehicles.
  • Falls of people on the same level or from different levels.
  • Fall or overturning of a handling equipment.
  • Fall of the load or part of it during the transshipment.
  • Collisions between vehicles or pedestrian accidents.
  • Trailer tipping over.
riesgos zona de carga y descarga camiones

Preventive safety measures

Risk Measures
Fall of persons at the same level. All surfaces of the loading dock and vehicles must be kept clean and free of objects before any loading or unloading operation begins. If any spills occur, they must be cleaned up immediately before continuing operations.
Fall or overturn of handling equipment. The sudden movement of the vehicle due to brake failure or a miscommunication between the truck driver and the loading/unloading personnel must be prevented with locking systems.
Overturning of the trailer. Before starting the loading operations, it must be verified that the resistance of the support surface of the two trailer supports without the tractor head is sufficient.
It is recommended to use a stabilizing support for the trailer.
Entrapment of people between a vehicle and the loading dock. -There must be stops that leave a minimum space of 0.50 free between the vertical of the dock and the rear part of the truck box.
– Enable an exit, for example, a step ladder between the lower and upper level. When the dock is very long, it should be equipped with two stairs.
Falling from different levels – Position the truck in relation to the level of the dock, not allowing for gaps.
– When there are no vehicles being loaded or unloaded, the corresponding loading station should be closed.

The applicable regulations/norms

Among the main technical and regulatory requirements that affect these loading dock facilities, we can find the following:

Technical regulations

  • UNE-EN 1398:2010 Leveling ramps. Safety requirements. A.E.N.O.R.
  • UNE-EN 349:1994+A1:2008 Safety of machinery. Minimum gaps to avoid crushing of parts of the human body. A.E.N.O.R.
  • UNE-EN 13.241-1:2004+A1:2011 Industrial, commercial, garage doors and gates – Product Standard – Part 1: Products without fire resistance or smoke control characteristics. A.E.N.O.R.

Installation of ramps for loading and unloading docks by Alapont Logistics

CE marking and signage

Regarding the marking of loading dock ramps, the following data must be displayed visibly and legibly:

  • Name and complete address of the manufacturer and, where applicable, their authorized representative.
  • Year of manufacture, that is, the year in which the manufacturing process was completed. Additionally, for loading ramps with external power supply, details of the required power supply (voltage, frequency, power).
  • Capacity of the leveler ramp.
  • Name of the machine.
  • Regarding the signaling, a visible warning that is easily and permanently fixed, indicating “no personnel allowed” and with lettering of a minimum height of 15mm, should be provided saying: “Do not stand under this leveler ramp unless it is mechanically blocked”
  • Serial or manufacturing number.

Maintenance, inspections and commissioning

Article 3.5 of Royal Decree 1215/1997 states the obligation to carry out proper maintenance of equipment, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or, failing that, with the equipment’s characteristics, taking into account the conditions of use or any circumstance that may deteriorate or misalign it. Therefore, the machinery must function properly for the time for which it was designed.

The maintenance of all components of loading and unloading docks must be carried out in accordance with the Instruction Manual of each manufacturer. Likewise, the article 3.5 itself indicates that “maintenance, repair or transformation operations that involve a specific risk for workers can only be entrusted to personnel specially trained for this purpose.”

You can find more relevant information about the maintenance of loading docks, as well as the technical requirements for external personnel access for loading and unloading in storage facilities in the following article: Maintenance of loading and unloading dock.

mantenimiento muelles de carga