Find Products by Markets



Oil & Gas






Find Products by Manifacturers





OPW Engineered Systems



Emco Wheaton

Hoses Vs Loading Arms: Which Works Best?

If you’re on the lookout for a way to safely transport gases and liquids from tank to tank, you may be wondering how to choose between using a hose or a loading arm to outfit your operation. While hoses are undeniably helpful when it comes to transferring less viscous substances, loading arms stand to significantly increase efficiency and safety as a whole. Below, we’ll take a close look as to why you should consider top and bottom loading arms for your worksite, including the many benefits they offer in comparison to hoses. Read on to learn more!

Fall Prevention

While hoses can often end up getting left strewn around and presenting a huge falling hazard to your crew, loading arms are much more conveniently stored out of the way and can typically be integrated with existing fall protection equipment for added safety. Loading arms are less likely to leak and created an unwanted spill which further reduces of the risk of slips, trips or dangerous falls.

Less Risk of Sudden Failures

Over time, hoses begin to erode and wear away, particularly when being regularly used for the transport of corrosive materials. If not carefully monitored, hoses pose a risk for suddenly exploding, which presents several layers of danger to everyone on the site. Loading arms, on the other hand, are relatively low maintenance and have a much longer lifespan without ever having to worry about such a volatile reaction down the line.

Easy to Use

Hoses are not always easy to operate, and due to their size and weight, can often be difficult to move around as needed and can sometimes require more than one worker to move them as well as less ergonomic. Top and bottom loading arms are designed to work with you, which reduces strain and lowers the risk of on-site injuries. The spring counterbalance systems on loading arms require very little force to use. With a much longer lifespan favouring loading arms as well it is a wise choice for your bottom line both upfront and in the future.


In addition to enhancing on the job safety, loading arms connect to trucks and railcars quickly, meaning you can transfer your material fast and keep operations moving steadily.


Loading arms are often designed to incorporate different types of safety devices such as:

  1. Safety Breakaway Couplings – In the event of unintended vehicle movement or pull-away, a breakaway coupling separates and has non-return valves that shut both ends of the breakaway protection personnel at the loading/unloading station and prevents spills.
  2. Dry Disconnect Fittings – If you are looking to reduce spillage in your loading/unloading operation, dry disconnect fittings can help you accomplish this. There are a variety of quick and dry disconnect fittings available that are easy to handle, save time, improve safety and protect your personnel and the environment.
  3. Overfill Protection – Loading arms can be supplied with level detection and overfill probes to help prevent unintentionally overfilling a railcar or truck.

Boost Your Safety and Productivity with Northern Platforms Today

Ready to supercharge your loading and unloading? Northern Platforms carries a wide range of loading and unloading arms from top manufacturers like OPW and Emco Wheaton. Contact us today to learn more about our inventory and services all throughout Western Canada.