Shipping containers are an excellent and versatile building medium. Customization teams can outfit a shipping container with all kinds of modifications—ready for delivery and immediate use. But what’s the next step? How do you move a shipping container to your site? Standard empty shipping containers weigh anywhere between 4,500 lbs. (20ft) to 8,500 lbs. (40ft). These specs, along with other logistical considerations, make for a complex and risky moving process.
Selecting the best shipping container transport option comes down to safety, ease of transport, the weight/size of the container, and budget. For this post, we will highlight the best shipping container transport options based on the distance of delivery.
Shipping Container Transport Options
Short moves include relocating a shipping container from one end of a construction site to another or loading it onto a trailer for a long-distance move. The two main choices available are forklifts and cranes. The best method will depend on the size of the container.
Forklifts: When using a forklift, it’s crucial to ensure that the arms (tines) are sufficiently wide to distribute the weight and robust enough to lift the container. A forklift with 6-foot tines is sufficient for containers that are less than 20 feet long. Any container longer than 20 feet typically requires a specialty forklift with 8-foot tines.
Cranes: Cranes offer a faster and easier method of loading or moving shipping containers within a small radius. However, they are costlier, and they require special licensing to operate.
Property-to-property transportation includes moving across town, to another part of the state, to a different state, or even to another country. There are three main options to move custom containers over a long distance.
Trucks: Container transport services often employ different types of trucks depending on the cost and applicability. Flatbed and Step-Deck Trucks have fixed flat platforms with no surrounding walls. A forklift or crane is required for loading. Alternatively, you can use a Tilt Bed Truck. As the name implies, its bed is tilted at an angle to allow the container to slide off with no additional equipment.
Train: Is there a rail line near the modified container’s origin and destination? If so, then transporting shipping containers by train is a viable option. But please note that this method is hampered by several additional steps involving additional costs, longer delivery times, and a need for railyard certification.
Ship: If you need a shipping container moved overseas, you’ll need to arrange for truck transport to a port before having the container loaded onto an overseas ship. Overseas container transport is a multi-step process and will require a truck, ship, and possibly a train.
Do you need a shipping container moved? Caroline Containers & Transport is your reliable, hassle-free, and affordable go-to shipping container transport company to move containers from one site to another. We specialize in all kinds of container moves—backed by a highly-skilled, personable team and the best moving equipment. Our goal is simple; to give you peace of mind when transporting a shipping container. Give us a call at (919) 562-9187 to find out more about our services.