Discussion on Trucks and Pallet Jacks and The Loading Dock


Hey everyone,

We now have quite a few pallets ready and many more to prepare, and there has been a discussion on how to best handle them through the loading bay.

First observation : the moving truck we plan on using won’t fit in the loading bay (it would stick out on the street), so we’d have to park it outside and move pallets across the street.

Problem : how to bring pallets from dock level to street level. A pallet jack won’t do that.

Second problem : a pallet jack’s tiny wheels won’t do great outside of the building, and there’s an increased risk of tipping over, getting stuck, etc.

Proposed solutions:

  1. get a proper forklift with serious wheels : that would address both issues, technically. Then we have to check if we’d be allowed to cross the street with it (not being able to fit the truck in the bay is more of a police/safety issue than a technical issue already).
    Obviously, experience (and license) is required to operate one of these, so if we none of us can do it we’ll have to pay someone to do it.

  2. get 2 or 3 smaller moving vans, which floor matches or is close enough to the dock’s height, so we can transfer pallets directly onto them with a simple pallet jack.
    The key here is that a smaller van can safely fit inside the bay, which solves all the issues of moving pallets on the street.

The loading dock is just shy of 2 feet high.
To fit entirely in the bay, the trucks length has to be 6 meters max.
Height is 290 cm max

Basically, a van this size would fit 2 large pallets. With several of them we could organize a nice rotation.

We’d have to make it work on the Venables side, though. In the absence of a dock, we’d have to get vans with a tail lift, or rent/borrow a walk behind pallet jack like this one !manual-push-walk-behind-straddle-stackers-500x500
The downside is that we’d have to haul a regular jack into the van to bring the second pallet close enough to the back so that this guy can grab it.


I have driven tractors of all sorts. I have never heard that a license is required to use. There is restrictions on road and public usage. However some experience is required. Becareful with hand jacks. They are intended for indoor use only, using one outside can be much more dangerous than a forklift.


Can we not just get a permit from the city which allows the parking of the truck for loading?

Edit: allowing the truck to stick out of the bay and block the sidewalk/road.

Using a series of vans will likely cost considerably more than a single truck, between rental and additional fuel. I’m sure we can get a permit to allow this awkward parking arrangement. Or is it the case that the truck physically won’t fit up to the loading dock?


Truck won’t fit.

When we switched from awkward blocking the road to parking on the median and pushing the pallet jacks over the road, it honestly wasn’t significantly harder.

I’m actually trying to remember how we got the pallets up the big step. I think we had a lifting platform.

And we had just one pallet jack at Cook St, and one at the storage warehouse.

Also took a look at the median the other day - There is some construction going on there, but I think it’s far enough back to still fit the truck.


was a manual fork style one borrowed from Science World, IIRC.


Can we get pallets down the ramp? There are double doors. If we pull the garbage bins out, is there room?


Nope, the ramp is way too narrow.

I see only a few options. I’ve bolded the equipment required in each scenario.

Scenario A: A forklift + licensed operator

  • Pallet jack moves pallet from VHS suite to the dock (which is approx 2 feet higher than the bay floor)
  • A real forklift (with a licensed operator) drives in through the bay door and picks the pallet up off the dock
  • It drives it out to our big truck parked in the median
  • It places it in the truck
  • A second pallet jack is used to move it into place within the truck. This pallet jack can travel with the truck and be used for unloading

Scenario B: A walk-behind + platform

  • Build a platform out from the dock about 4 feet
  • Pallet jack moves pallet from VHS suite to the dock and onto the platform
  • A walk-behind forklift picks it up off the platform. Note that a walk-behind forklift can’t just pick up a pallet from a ledge, unless there is clearance under the ledge for its protruding feet. This is why the platform is required. There is a couple options for this platform, including maybe just a stack of pallets, but it involves building something.
  • The walk-behind forklift can drive the pallet to the median, and either place the pallet in the truck, or use a liftgate to go right into the truck and place the pallet.

A variation of this one is using some type of manual scissor lift platform. This can’t quite get the pallet to the floor, but could get it within 6 inches, which we could overcome with a very slight ramp.

Scenario C: A ramp + one pallet jack

  • Build a long sturdy ramp from the dock down to the bay floor.
  • A single pallet jack can then be used to move a pallet from VHS suite, down the ramp, out the overhead door, across the street, onto the truck’s lift gate, and then into place within the truck. The same pallet jack can travel with the truck and be used for unloading.

The ramp scares me, but it might be the most practical option, as the others require renting substantial equipment. If we can build an over-engineered, very strong, very gradual ramp that is well fixed in place, I think it could be done safely.



To operate a forklift and receive workers compensation, workers do not need to be certified but must first be trained to CSA standards. Workers can be trained by their employer or a third-party provider. Every two years the driver must be re-evaluated and given additional training as needed.

Agricultual operations are except.


The ramp is a pretty scary option to me too. The minimum angle we can get by building a ramp as long as possible still seems dangerous for heavy loads. And we do have some heavy pallets!

Scenarios A and B seem the most reasonable, although they mean more dollars spent. But what’s the price of safety and peace of mind?


Scenario B is what we did for the move-in. I don’t recall it being particularly sketchy or difficult, but I wasn’t at Cook early morning, so I wasn’t there for the figuring-out process.

We’d likely have to rent the pallet lifter, unless someone has one we can borrow, but that’s reasonably priced.



Yeah that sounds doable. The one I have at my farm in the Okanagan would require a platform, because the feet protrude farther than the forks, but the one @Jarrett pictured above looks like the forks go further out, so it might be able to pick up a pallet from a ledge, drag it forward, push the forks in further, etc.

There’s no feasible way for me to get mine to Vancouver, so we’ll have to rent or borrow one. We also need a pallet jack (for the high side at cook) and ideally a second one (for inside the truck, and unloading). I think we should purchase one pallet jack, and try borrow a second one.


On the move in, we had to build a raised platform outward from the concrete loading bay steps.

Without it, it was not possible to get the pallet lifter close enough to the stairs to pick up pallets as the pallet lifter’s feet interfered.


That’s what I figured. So we’ll have to go with Scenario B and build some sort of platform.


I’ve rented a box truck for Saturday. I will pick it up at 8 AM and drive to VHS, after picking up a pallet lifter.

I got a truck with a rail gate, as that will make lifting pallets up much easier, as they go up evenly.


Do we want a Wooden Pallet for loading, unloading, moving (locally available in East Van)?
Dimensions: 38 in x 27 in x 7 inches With 1 inch wood top added for sturdiness.
If yes, then we can bring it.



Thanks Rahul, but I think we’re okay this time. Next time maybe