The Basics of Moving Shipping Containers With a Forklift

While a forklift can move shipping containers, this job requires a heavy-duty, specialized lift truck since your everyday warehouse forklift won’t be able to handle a load of that size. If you need a solution for lifting shipyard containers, browse our new diesel forklift models at Thompson Lift Truck.

How to Lift a Shipping Container

A heavy-duty forklift can be used to load a shipping container on and off of trucks. Forklifts are valuable pieces of equipment that can serve numerous purposes, which makes them the perfect option to have on hand for transporting shipping containers. Follow the steps below to lift and move a shipping container using a forklift:

  • Position the forklift: After the shipping container has been delivered, move your forklift to its location. 
  • Align with fork holes: Align the forks with the holes or pockets located on the bottom of the container. 
  • Lift the container: Safely position the forks at full depth beneath the load, then lift carefully to confirm its balance.
  • Move the container: With the load secure, you can move the container around the port or yard to its new location. 

Top Considerations for Choosing How to Move Cargo Containers

When comparing forklifts for cargo containers with cranes and smaller forklifts for typical warehouse load handling, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Special licensing required for cranes: Though you can also use a crane to lift a shipping container, operating one requires special licensing. For many shipping container jobs, a heavy-duty forklift is the better option. 
  • Upper weight limit: Ensure your forklift’s upper weight limit is sufficient for the shipping container you are lifting. 
  • Fork width: You should also confirm that the fork is wide enough to reach the pockets on the container. Smaller forklifts typically lack the fork spread for this application, hence the need for a purpose-built model.
  • Terrain type: If you will be operating on an unfinished site or a rough surface, be sure to choose a forklift that can handle that type of terrain. 

Find a Forklift to Move Shipping Containers

At Thompson Lift Truck, we offer experienced forklift operators the large forklift trucks needed for handling large shipyard containers. Our largest models include:

  • Hyundai 110D-9/130D-9/160D-9: The Hyundai 110D-9/130D-9/160D-9 models are heavy counterbalance forklift trucks. They offer all the reliability and power you need for even the toughest jobs.
  • Hyundai 160D-9L: With the Hyundai 160D-9L, you’ll get a machine designed specifically for heavy-duty applications like moving steel, concrete, and containers.
  • Hyundai 180D-9: The Hyundai 180D-9 is a compact heavy-duty forklift that can reliably handle demanding applications.
  • Hyundai 250D-9: The Hyundai 250D-9 is a solid, all-terrain machine that offers high fuel efficiency and productivity for container handling applications.

When you need cargo container movers, we’ll get to know you and your business so we can supply you with the forklifts that meet your needs. Contact the team at Thompson Lift Truck today to learn more about our diesel shipyard forklifts.

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