Taking Delivery of a Container
with Minimal Equipment

Many of us have seen video or pictures of the large cranes with specialized carriers used to load and unload shipping containers at the freighter ports. Once at the intermodal, full containers are then loaded by crane or heavy duty fork truck onto specialized chassis to be transported through the distribution channels by truck. These places have the proper equipment to quickly and efficiently handle thousands of containers every day, but what about those of us that just need to handle a handful of shipping containers.

With proper planning before you take delivery of your containers, you can have them delivered and set on the ground using a single piece of equipment. When researching containers for sale, make sure you discuss delivery requirements in detail. At delivery, if you don’t have a fork lift, loader or small crane available to lift the container off of a flat bed or container chassis and place it where needed, then you will need to make arrangements to have the container delivered and set on the ground with a “Landoll” style trailer. A Landoll is a flat deck trailer and the deck is hydraulically tipped up so that the container slides off of the bed and gently onto the ground. Landoll is a name-brand product; several other companies make a similar product with a tilting flat deck. Landoll trailers also have a heavy duty winch to load a container back up onto the trailer deck.

Taking delivery of containers from a tilt deck trailer like a Landoll is simple if you keep a few things in mind:

  • You will need about 75’ of clear space for the truck, trailer and container when taking delivery of a 20’ container and 100’ of clearance for a 40’ container.
  • Make sure you provide instructions on how the container is to be first loaded onto the delivery vehicle. Indicate “doors to truck cab” or “doors to truck rear” based on your site, how you are going to load the container and how the driver will need to access the site so when it is off loaded the doors will face in the desired direction.
  • You’ll need a relatively level and dry spot to place the container that is accessible for the delivery truck and for your material.

If you plan to fill your container at one location and move it to another location to be unloaded then a tilt-bed trailer will not be a good option since your contents will shift when one end of the container is raised. You will need some way to safely lift your container level with a fork truck, small crane or loader. If this type of equipment is unavailable to you, then companies like PODS may offer options for this type of container handling. They have specially designed equipment to load and unload their own specific containers onto their truck without tilting the container. Unfortunately, these types of containers are designed for much lighter duty use than an ISO container is and may sustain damage during use.

Shipping containers are made to be moved and handled but you need the proper equipment to do so. Most trucking companies that move large equipment or construction equipment will have a Landoll style trailer and they will be able to safely and efficiently move your containers for you.