How Is A Shipping Container Transported By Truck?

How A 20 ft Shipping Container Is Packed For Transportation

Have you wondered how 20 ft shipping containers in Auckland get from A to B? Although it is common to see shipping containers on large freight vessels, often they are transported by land.

Surprisingly, there are several ways to move a shipping container, and the preferred method will depend on circumstances. Throughout this article, different forms of transporting shipping containers will be explored.

Variations Of Trucks That Transport Shipping Containers

Both the size of the shipping container and the accessibility of the destination will significantly affect which truck is used.

1. Tilt-bed Truck

20 ft containers that must be taken 300km or under will typically require a tilt-bed truck. This truck allows for the bed to be raised, and the shipping container slides off the end. This task is made more accessible when the driver arrives on a site with little obstruction.

The perks of using the tilt-bed truck are:

  • Cost-effective when travelling <300km
  • Container slides off without assistance
  • No crane or forklift required

It’s important to note that the tilt-bed truck requires the ground to be dry, firm and level.

2. Flat-bed Truck

Unlike the tilt-bed truck, the flat-bed truck tends to be recommended for long haul travel. The flat-bed truck costs less fuel per kilometre as there is a simple platform with no surrounding confinements. However, this method will require a crane or forklift to place the shipping container on the ground.

The perks of using the flat-bed truck are:

  • Cost-effective for long-distance hauls
  • Simple truck with no confinements

3. Step-Deck Truck

High-cube shipping containers sitting 9.5ft tall will require a transport method that suits their increased height. The step-deck resembles the flat-bed; only it has a step lower to accommodate the higher load. Also, much like the flat-bed truck, a crane or forklift will be required to remove the container from the step-deck. However, it should be noted that this method of transport will require the team to be aware of any bridge heights or tunnels that may impede the journey.

The perks of using the step-deck truck include:

  • Needed for high-cube containers
  • Accommodate loads higher than 8ft

How To Remove Shipping Containers From Flat-Bed or Step-Deck Trucks

At the risk of damaging the shipping container, removal from the truck must be precise. The method of removing the container will depend on the size of your container.

20ft and 10ft shipping containers should be removed by using a forklift with tines at least 6ft long. Any less, the forklift will not be capable of handling the weight of the container. As a rule of thumb, the typical forklift within a warehouse will not be suitable for transferring shipping containers.

40ft shipping containers will require an even more advanced forklift than the one mentioned above. A forklift with 8ft tines that can lift at least 6500kg will be needed for this shipping container. Using the same 6ft forklift above will likely cause a break at the bottom due to the weight.

Although forklifts are available for virtually all sizes of shipping containers, a crane may be the most cost-effective option. Due to the built-in corner castings, many shipping containers can be easily rigged for crane movement.

To wrap it up…

Features of forklift transport:

  • 20ft containers and 10ft containers can be lifted with 6ft-tined forklifts
  • 40ft containers should be raised with 8ft-tined forklifts

Features of crane transport:

  • The crane can lift 10ft, 20ft and 40ft containers
  • Easily rigged due to the built-in corner castings with most containers


At ContainerCo we have shipping containers NZ wide in a range of sizes and configurations. Depending on your needs, you can buy or hire on a short or long term basis. Whether it’s one container or 20 containers, everyone gets the same quality service at ContainerCo.

We supply whatever shipping container you require to any location around New Zealand. Your container purchase or hire is backed by our full after-delivery support.

We have 10,20 and 40ft shipping containers for both sale and hire. We also have a dedicated and highly specialised team of in-house engineers. Providing strong and durable shipping container modification solutions. This includes site offices, portable buildings, open-top shipping, side opening containers, etc.

Contact us on 0508 73 28 73 or request a free online quote today!

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