Concrete Loading Dock Ramps vs Portable Steel Yard Ramps

Yard Ramp Orange

Whether your business has just moved into a new building or you have a massive job coming up that requires a dock and/or ramp, you’ll need to determine what kind of forklift and truck loading ramp you’ll need. You may have purchased your building with an existing dock ramp, but many buildings, both old and new construction, do not include a ramp. Before you construct or purchase a ramp for your building, it is crucial to consider the different types of loading dock ramps available on the market today. 

In this blog, we will explore the three main types of loading dock ramps, as well as the benefits and challenges that each type of ramp possesses. Depending on your building and intended application, certain types of ramps will support your business better than others. 

Types of Loading Dock Ramps

The three main types of loading dock ramps, also referred to as yard ramps, are concrete ramp construction, pre-cast concrete ramps, and portable steel ramps. Each of these types of ramps is constructed differently, and therefore has abilities that are suitable for various types of applications. Below, we’ve provided a brief overview of each loading ramp type: 

Concrete Ramp Construction 

Permanent Concrete Loading Dock Ramp

These ramps are constructed of poured concrete and become a permanent part of your building. Because it is an alteration to your facility, certain building permits are required (varies by location) before you can begin the construction of your ramp. The process of designing and pouring the concrete ramp can be quite lengthy, so you’ll need to take that into account before you can use your ramp. Since you’re designing the ramp to fit your building and loading yard, you design your ramp to have the exact specifications you need when it comes to width, length, and slope. This is the most expensive loading ramp option because the design and construction process is so intensive. While concrete can degrade over time, this permanent loading ramp solution is still long-lasting.

Pre-Cast Concrete Ramps

Pre-cast Concrete Loading Dock Ramps

While similar to the permanent ramp construction mentioned above, pre-cast concrete ramps are delivered in sections and then assembled at your location. Because the ramp is modular and can be removed, it is not a permanent alteration to your building and does not require permits. While there is room for some variation, the modular sections come in a selection of standard widths and lengths, meaning the ramp in its entirety cannot be completely customizable. Moving pre-cast modular ramps is possible, but is a lengthy process. Installation requires the use of a crane to place the sections, so you can infer that moving the ramp either around your shipping and receiving yard or to a new location will also take a significant chunk of time as well. For those reasons, concrete pre-cast ramps are more likely to stay stagnant in the same position rather than to be moved around. A relocation service can be arranged if you want to move your ramp to a new building. However, since the ramp is pre-cast, it may not fit the height of your new dock as it did the previous one.

Portable Steel Ramps

Yard Ramp Orange

Portable steel loading dock ramps, also called portable yard ramps, are the most versatile loading and unloading solution. A forklift is used to position the yard ramp at a dock or truck to support your material handling operations. The adjustable height means the ramp can be used to create ground-to-dock or ground-to-truck access at a variety of rises. Made of hard-wearing steel, these portable yard ramps have a high capacity and can be used with various applications. Steel yard ramps also feature a non-slip surface, meaning the ramp is safe to use in dangerous weather conditions like rain or snow that could make concrete slippery. Unlike permanent concrete or pre-cast concrete ramps, portable yard ramps can be rented for limited amounts of time, just when you need them, for a big job without needing to make a large outright purchase.

Pros and Cons of Different Loading Dock Ramps

Each type of loading dock ramp has its own pros and cons. In this section, we’ve condensed our extensive material handling knowledge into a list of benefits and challenges to each type of loading dock ramp. 

Concrete Ramp Construction


  • It is a permanent part of your building so it can increase the value of your building.
  • It has a long usable life.


  • Requires certain building permits depending upon your location because it is a permanent alteration to your building. 
  • Cannot move the ramp around the shipping and receiving yard or to a new location.
  • The design and construction will take some time, so you won’t be able to utilize your ramp right away.
  • The concrete surface is only somewhat non-slip, so it can be unsafe to use in weather conditions like rain or snow. 
  • The most expensive ramp option.

Pre-Cast Concrete Ramp Construction


  • Do not require a permit because it is not a permanent alteration to your building.
  • Can be relocated if needed, no demolition required.
  • Long-lasting.


  • Most do not offer custom sizes as they are modular. 
  • Not easy to move so you cannot use it in multiple places (or for both ground-to-dock and ground-to-truck access) around your shipping and receiving yard.
  • Requires a crane for installation and relocation.
  • The concrete surface is only somewhat non-slip, so it can be unsafe to use in weather conditions like rain or snow.

Portable Steel Yard Ramps


  • Creates both ground-to-dock and ground-to-truck access.
  • As soon as your ramp arrives, it is ready to use. 
  • Portable with a forklift. You can move it around your shipping and receiving yard or to a new location.
  • Adjustable height accommodates a wide range of dock and truck rises.
  • Can be designed to have custom specifications.
    Can be rented for shorter periods of time or used long term.
  • The non-slip surface makes the ramp safe to use in virtually any weather condition.
  • Ramps with varying specifications are in stock, meaning you’ll get your ramp sooner.


  • May require light maintenance such as repainting or a replacement crank. 
  • Depending on your business, permanent construction may be preferable.

Which Loading Dock Ramp is Best for My Business?

After reading the overview of each loading dock ramp type and reviewing their benefits and challenges, you’re probably asking yourself which type of ramp would make the most sense for your business. When selecting a loading dock ramp, you need to consider the most important function(s) that you need to ramp to fulfill. So if you’ve determined that…

I want the most flexible and versatile option. 

The most flexible and versatile loading dock ramp option is the portable steel yard ramp. It can be moved around your shipping and receiving yard with a forklift, or loaded on a truck to be moved to another location. There are various standard sizes, but portable steel yard ramps can also be configured to have custom specifications. The adjustable height of portable yard ramps allows them to be used to load and unload docks and trucks of various rises. Whether you want your ramp to remain stationary against your dock or used with various trucks around your facility, your portable steel yard ramp can be utilized for many different jobs and purposes.

I want the most permanent option. 

If you are looking for the most permanent loading ramp, concrete construction is your way to go. While it might not be as affordable or flexible as other options because it is stationary, it will serve your company for many years.

I only need a loading ramp for a limited amount of time. 

Whether you need a loading ramp for a month-long job or would require it for a more long-term application like 6-12 months, the portable yard ramp is your best solution. It can create both ground-to-dock and ground-to-truck access for your business. Once you no longer require your portable yard ramp, it’ll be removed from your location and shipped to its next home. 

I want the most economical option. 

Portable steel yard ramps are almost always significantly less expensive than permanent concrete loading ramp construction. Additionally, there are options to buy used yard ramps that function like new, yet are less expensive. If you’ve purchased a portable yard ramp and no longer have a need for it, you can also make some of the investment back by selling your yard ramp to another client looking to purchase.

Contact Us for Any and All of Your Yard Ramp Needs

Since portable steel yard ramps are most often the best solution for your material handling needs, you’ll need a bit of help from the experts to provide you with the ideal portable yard ramp for your application. As the world’s oldest custom ramp manufacturer, Industrial Toolz is one of the leading experts in designing and manufacturing portable steel yard ramps. Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used yard ramp, or rent one, we are at your service! Give us a call at 262-671-5000 so we can answer any of your questions and get you a quote.

Give us a call at 800-876-7267 so we can answer any of your questions and get you a quote.

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