If you’ve ever had to move a shipping container, you know that it’s not an easy task. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you’re not careful.

This guide we will discuss tips on safely and effectively moving a shipping container. We’ll also talk about some common mistakes people make when moving containers, and we’ll provide advice on how to avoid them.

What is a Shipping Container? What Are They Used For?

Shipping containers are made of corrugated steel and used to build cargo containers for shipping products overseas by sea or rail.

They can also be used for storage, but their primary use is for transporting goods. Shipping containers come in various standard sizes, including 20-foot, 40-foot, and 45-foot lengths, and they can be stacked on top of one another when tightly packed.

The primary purpose of a shipping container is to hold cargo. It is uniquely shaped, so most of the top space can securely hold containers.

How to Move a Shipping Container?

There are various ways a shipping container can be moved, and we’ll discuss each method below. Keep in mind that each way has pros and cons, so the best method may not be the one best for your particular situation.

If you only have to move one container, below is a list of the most common ways to do it and the benefits that come with it:

  • A Hydraulic Crane: A mobile crane with a hydraulic boom and luffing jib is the best choice for moving a single standard 20- or 40-foot container, and it’s usually the quickest and easiest method. To move a single container, the crane operator sets the boom on one or two sets of rail tracks and hooks the container to the boom with a sling or hook. The crane then lifts the container into the air and places it on the ground near where it needs to go. It’s important to note that hydraulic cranes are very expensive and require proper operation training, so this option is usually reserved for large-scale industrial projects.
  • Shipping Containers by Cargo Plane: This method differs from transferring a container from one location to another directly by road, rail, or sea. Instead, you ship the container from a port to an airport, where it is then loaded onto a cargo plane and flown to your desired destination. This method allows you to place the container in remote areas not served by roads or rail.
  • Train Transport of Shipping Containers: This is a commonly used option if there is already a rail line in a place where you need to place the container or if you need to make a short crossing of an important river or body of water. Trains typically use flat cars for longer container transport. The container is loaded onto the flat car and then moved along the train.
  • Transporting a Shipping Container by Sea: Shipping containers can be shipped to and from ports worldwide on ocean-going vessels. Depending on your destination and the ports that service it, this can be a cost-effective way to move your container overseas.

To move a container over a long distance, there are two main things you need to do:

  • First, you need to find a trucking company willing to transport the container.
  • Second, you need to disassemble the container and the pieces so they fit snugly into the truck’s trailer.

Also listed below are the different types of trucks available to move shipping containers:

  • Tilt-back Truck: The most common truck for moving shipping containers is the tilt-back truck. This truck has a deck that tilts back at an angle, so the container slides out of the back. This truck is ideal for moving standard containers.
  • A Flatbed Truck: A flatbed truck has no sides or roof and is designed to transport large and heavy items like shipping containers. This kind of truck can be driven across multiple different types of terrain, such as dirt, grass, concrete, or paved surfaces.
  • Step Deck Truck: This type of truck has steps on the side of the bed that extends over the container’s sides. The steps are designed to prevent the container from sliding off during transport.

The Cost of Moving a Shipping Container

According to MoveHub, some of the most popular routes are from the United Kingdom (London), the United States (New York), Canada (Montreal), and Australia (Sydney).

Their most recent update to these rates was made in November 2021, and they are based on the port-to-port transportation of 20- or 40-foot container loads of used furniture. They note that it’s important to remember that these container shipping costs do not include extras like door-to-door delivery, professional packing and unpacking by a third party and that it does not include any basic insurance coverage because shipping vendors frequently include these services in their services or charges, so they say to bear this in mind that the prices indicated in their charts and the quotes you receive can vary slightly, so only make general use of these projections.

The charts in the above-linked blog post about the International Container Shipping Costs and Rates 2022 should give you a good idea of what it costs to move a shipping container.

Tips for Safely and Effectively Moving a Shipping Container

If you are buying and transporting your shipping container, you should know how to safely and effectively move it. Below are some tips for you to follow:

  1. Make Sure the Shipping Containers’ Load is Evened Out: It is not a good idea to place everything on one side of your shipping container because the weight of your biggest items will put too much strain on that side. Instead, arrange the lightest goods on top and the heavier ones at the bottom, carefully distributing them equally. A few isles should be made on either side of the packed items so that you may quickly access the container if necessary.
  1. Make Sure the Trailer is Safe and That You Have Good Visibility: If you intend to transfer the shipping container on a flatbed trailer once it has been filled, you’ll first want to ensure that it is safe. It’s also a good idea to add mirror extenders so you can see as far down the trailer. Don’t forget to check the brakes and that the lights on the trailer are in good working order.
  1. Load the Container and Make Sure it is Strapped Down Securely: The container must be securely fastened. The only way to guarantee that the container stays in place during shipping is to ensure that each strap is as tight as possible. It is crucial to remember that when carrying a shipping container, nothing should be loaded on top of it.
  1. Have a Vehicle in Place for Unloading: Even though it wasn’t mentioned above, hiring a mini-crane might be helpful after you arrive at your destination. This is the best loading and unloading the shipping container off the trailer.

If you need any more advice, you can feel free to contact a member of our team, and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this matter. Alternatively, we provide many services for shipping your goods from one part to another by land, sea, or air, and we are sure that we can meet your needs and provide you with the best available option in shipping.

Common Mistakes People Make When Moving Using Containers

It’s no secret that people make mistakes when moving. Some people might pack too soon or forget something important. The best thing you can do is to prepare well and use the help of professionals to facilitate everything for you.

Let’s look at some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Choosing the Wrong Size Container:

Choosing the wrong shipping container is one of the most common mistakes people make when moving overseas.

A common mistake is to underestimate how large their possessions are and how many containers they’ll need. Of course, this will cost money in the long run.

If possible, consult with a professional who can assist in choosing the right size container for your budget and the size of your possessions.

Not Checking The Condition Of The Shipping Container:

Another common mistake people make is not checking the condition of a used shipping container.

If the container has been previously damaged, there may be hidden damage that isn’t visible. Even if the container looks in pristine condition from the outside, it is worth doing a more thorough check and talking to a professional who can help you look for any underlying damage and can help you decide whether or not to take the risk.

Using the Wrong Insulation:

Another common mistake is using the wrong type of insulation in their shipping containers.

Using the wrong type of insulation can also damage items stored inside. Although it isn’t a necessary part of a shipping container, some owners choose to insulate their container before loading anything into it.

This can help further protect your possessions and anything valuable from damage during the long journey. Various types of insulating materials are available, such as Styrofoam.

However, it isn’t just a case of simply filling the empty container with insulation. The insulation must also be tightly packed and wedged in place.

If the insulation is loose when loaded into the container, it can move around, particularly in transit.

Not Preparing the Container Floor:

Preparing the floor of a shipping container before loading it up with your belongings is an important step that is often overlooked.

Your belongings will be more prone to damage if you don’t prepare the container floor first. For example, this can happen if the floor is dirty or has cracks from wear and tear.

Be sure to prepare the floor well before loading the container to protect the items inside.

Not Understanding Local Planning Regulations and Building Codes:

Perhaps the most important of them all, many people do not take the time to thoroughly understand local planning regulations and building codes.

During the planning stages, research the rules and regulations in place at the destinations you intend to move to. This way, you’ll know exactly the regulations for moving containers there.

You can seek professional help with this, or you can leave it up to a professional company to handle the entire shipping process, including getting the shipping container to its destination. A professional company will have all the knowledge about the local planning regulations and the building codes, so they will adhere to these to the letter so that you do not run into any problems.

Advice on How to Avoid Making These Mistakes

Here is some advice on how to avoid the above-mentioned mistakes when using a shipping container for moving:

  1. Use Proper Packing: When packing a container, you should make sure that it is properly sealed. You can do this by sealing it up with the cargo straps and making sure that the seals are properly made. You should also fill the container with items properly so that they are tightly packed.
  2. Check the Container: Before loading the container, make sure that it is clean. This way, you can prevent any pests from gaining access. You should also make sure that there are no leaks or holes in the container.
  3. Protect the Container: When loading the container, you should make sure that there is no damage done to it. You can do this by covering it with canvas tarps.
  4. Secure the Container: When loading the container, you should secure it properly so that nothing can fall from it. You can secure it by using ropes and ratchet straps.
  5. Use the Right Equipment: When loading, you should use the right equipment when loading. For example, you should use the right forklift for moving heavy loads.
  6. Plan Ahead: When moving overseas, you should plan. You should make sure that you have enough containers for your needs. You should also ensure that you have the right equipment for loading and unloading in your destination country.

If you need any more advice, you can feel free to contact a member of our team, and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this matter. Alternatively, we provide many services for shipping your goods from one part to another by land, sea, or air, and we are sure that we can meet your needs and provide you with the best available option in shipping.


So, what is a shipping container, and what are they used for?

A shipping container is a large metal box transported by train, boat, or truck to its destination. They come in different sizes and can be used to store or transport goods.

If you need to move a shipping container, there are several ways to do it, depending on your location and the type of truck you have available. However, before you start moving your containers, there are some things you need to know about safely and effectively transporting them.

We hope this guide has given you the information you need to move your shipping container successfully.