Are you searching for that perfect shipping container truck for your next shipment? We’ve got your back! This piece gives you an insight into everything you should know about shipping container trucks and the simplest way to book your truck. 

Imagine this: Your container filled with designer shoes just arrived at Port of Antwerp and you’ve got a delivery to the client’s warehouse in a few hours. How do you move your container from the port?

Well, the easiest way out is to book a truck a few days before the ETA of your box. And once it’s at the port, load the container onto the truck and you’re all set to deliver the cargo on time.

However, moving your containers from the port area to their destination location calls for a truck that can carry your boxes safely and seamlessly. So, where do you find that compatible truck that too at the most competitive price?

Before we let out that secret, let’s understand the term shipping container truck and its benefits to your business.

Shipping container truck: Popular modes of land transportation

As you’re already aware, there are three main ways to move your cargo across the globe — land, sea, and water. But what’s interesting here is that no matter which way you choose, it’ll always involve some amount of land transportation. This rightfully makes it the most viable mode to ship containers.

You’ll find two ways of land cargo transportation: trucks and trains via rail. Most of the time, all moves include a truck either fully or partially during a shipment.

The cost of these two modes of transportation differs due to multiple factors. On the one hand, if you’re opting for truck transportation for your cargo, it usually calls for coordination between you and the trucking company, and the cost break-down and responsibility of moving your cargo are based on that. The distance of your final destination location from the port also adds to the cost.

On the other hand, moving your cargo by train is common and more cost-effective than trucks, especially, for longer distances within a country. However, trains may not be that convenient if the drop-off location is in a hinterland. Additionally, they take more time than trucks.

Here, it’s also essential to understand the role of shipping containers because the type of container you are moving — dry or special boxes — can influence the overall cost too. Some containers need special attention throughout the journey. And thus, having a truck that facilitates these needs is crucial.

But before we delve more into that, let’s refresh our minds about shipping containers and their various types. If you feel you know all about them already, you can use our public search bar to find the container you’re looking for, else, read on to get an overview of the different types and understand which truck will suit you best.

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What’s a shipping container?

Shipping containers are large metal boxes usually made of corrugated steel used to transport your cargo via ships, trucks, and trains.

You may be familiar that most of your dry cargo is moved in the 20ft and 40ft standard containers but recently, their 40ft HC cousin has made it to the top in the list of popular boxes too. Why you may ask? Simply because it gives you more room to fit an additional quantity of cargo than 20ft and 40ft. You can read more about high cube containers in our separate blog.

Remember we spoke about special containers and the constant need for special attention during their journey? Let’s go over two such equipment that carries special cargo and rightfully need monitoring. We’re talking about reefers and tanks.

Reefers are your best option when you are transporting temperature-sensitive goods such as dairy products, meat, fish, fruits, or flowers. They’re nothing less than a large refrigerator and operate on a generator set that provides electricity to the refrigeration unit. You can learn more about reefers, in this blog.

Coming to tank containers, these cylindrical-shaped containers are solely responsible for transporting hazardous and non-hazardous liquids and gases. They can also carry your perishable items such as wine, juices, and so on. Why do they need special attention? For obvious reasons – they carry sensitive cargo. Also because loading and unloading are a bit different from a standard dry box.

Read more: What is an ISO tank container?

Find the box you need on Container xChange marketplace

Did you know that you can get not just these containers but a range of other special boxes easily at your fingertips? Welcome to the world of Container xChange – the neutral online marketplace where you can buy, sell and lease containers within a few minutes. Our leasing and trading marketplaces have got you covered.

With the leasing platform you can:

  • Find 1000+ certified members in 2500+ locations globally for one-way moves of your cargo
  • Get instant market price transparency
  • Negotiate directly with container suppliers
  • Increase your operational flexibility with SOC containers
  • Automate your payments, determine your free days, per diem charges, pick-up credits, and apply for insurance cover and surveying

With the trading platform you can:

  • Buy or sell containers without commission and other hidden charges
  • Choose containers from 10k+ boxes put up for sale
  • Take a look at your partner’s profile, performance, public rating, and more before you sign a deal
  • Check the container price development before you make an offer
  • Get notified about new offers that fit your needs
  • Protect and manage your payments with our experienced team

Now that you know that you have a platform in place to look for containers whenever you need, and are assured to find boxes wherever you need them, let’s circle back to the topic of the hour – shipping container truck. As important as it’s to find the right container, it’s also essential to know the best ways to load and unload that box on a truck safely so that your cargo and container aren’t damaged. So, here are a few things to keep in mind.

How to load and unload a shipping container on a truck safely

The length or the height of a container isn’t a constraint for container handling at terminals. Every terminal is well-equipped and has progressive technology in place to take care of your rather valuable containers. But here’s the catch!

As a freight forwarder, it’s always a good idea to understand how your container should be loaded or unloaded on a truck. It’s also essential to understand that while loading and offloading a container from a truck, the judgment of the laydown area and container footings are crucial. This will help you know your options and also understand that if your container gets damaged at the port, you aren’t responsible. Perhaps, you can also claim for those damages. Let’s see the common ways your container gets on top of a truck.

Use of tilt bed trucks and flatbed truck

One of the most common ways to offload a container is by using a tilt truck or trailer. Here, the container is carefully slid off the truck back using the hydraulic system attached to the truck bed. An experienced trailer operator will make this job easier. Here, the driver tilts the trailer and once the container slides off, the driver drives the truck forward until the box is completely resting on the ground.

Flatbed trucks require a crane or a forklift at the port and at the final drop-off point to offload the container from the truck. Ideally, a flatbed can accommodate a container of up to 45ft in length.

Using forklift and crane 

Large-size forklifts are used to pick up containers. Typically, a forklift slides into the fork pockets at the base of a container, lifts it up, and moves along with the container to where the truck is parked. However, now there are advanced designs that come with an attached spreader. It grabs a container’s corner castings and lifts the box.

Containers are also loaded and offloaded on a truck using a crane. Cranes are used to move the container first from the ship and then load it onto the truck.

Side-loading trucks changing the game

There is another interesting way a truck can load and offload a container. It’s called a side-loader or a side-loading truck. Here, the truck’s trailer is attached to two cranes in the front and rear ends. The cranes lift the container and load or offload it. One advantage of a side loader is its load capacity, i.e., 42,000lbs.

Chassis all the way

The chassis looks similar to a trailer but it’s more like a skeleton frame rather than a flatbed. It’s equipped with built-in twist-locks to hold the box securely. This also means that the container can be offloaded only in a straight-up way.

A chassis is a great companion for the long-distance truck transportation of your container. You might have to have other equipment ready such as a crane or a forklift for the offloading or loading process.

Both standard and special boxes can be moved using the above-mentioned trucks. Additionally, to make the whole process easy, port terminals are equipped with ‘straddle carriers’ to move containers around the yard. This equipment can lower the container and load it directly onto a truck. To give them a helping hand, ports are also equipped with ‘reach stackers’. Now, this equipment can reach containers that are stacked at a difficult-to-reach height and comfortably load them on the truck.

We guess that you now have a better understanding of the process, so why not jump right into the costs it involves?

Shipping container truck delivery: What does it involve & costs?

The cost of shipping container trucks is influenced by many factors. When calculating the cost, you must keep in mind the following:

Drop-off location: It’s best to determine how far your container needs to travel from the port location. If the destination location is near the port or in an easily accessible region, the cost of truck delivery will be comparatively lower than the ones in the hinterland. Simply put, the farther the truck has to travel the more costly it gets.

Urgency of delivery: Another factor that determines the pricing here is how quickly you require your containers at the destination location or how urgent is the delivery date. In such a tricky situation, it’s always better to pick up your shipping container directly from the port.

Container-type: The type of container you’re moving also adds to the trucking price. If you’ve got a special container, then the truck needs special equipment to meet the specific needs such availability of Genset for reefers.

Know how to reduce truck turnaround time at ports and save money.

Find shipping container truck for your box on xChange at competitive price

Container xChange offers a neutral marketplace to buy, sell and lease a wide range of containers. xChange also provides a truck booking tool (search engine) where we work directly with our trucking members to find the truck you need to move your containers.

Currently, it’s available in 4 locations — Hamburg, Rotterdam, Duisburg, and Antwerp. So if you are looking for a shipping container truck in any of these regions, rest assured, we’ll find a truck for you.

With our trucking product in place, make your shipping logistics process one step more effortless and smooth.

Here’s how you can book a truck:

You’ll see a category called ‘Trucking’ on your dashboard. Click on it and it’ll lead you to the truck booking page,

  • Choose your pick-up location (any of the four above-mentioned cities), drop-off location, container type and number of containers,
  • Select the ‘Request a quote’ button,
  • Now, you’ll see the price you’ve to pay on the left side of your screen,
  • On the right-side space, fill out other information. The pick-up and drop-off dates are mandatory,
  • Send us a ‘Booking’ request and we’re on it before you know it!

Truck booking dashboard

Quite cool, eh? And not to forget, one of the easiest ways to get your container trucks right at your fingertips.

Want to explore this feature and oomph up your shipping logistics a notch higher? Click on the banner below and our team of experts will show you the platform in action. And if you’ve got any questions, they’re always ready to help you out. So, what are you waiting for? Give your cargo logistics process the digital makeover it needs!

container truck


Shipping container truck: Common FAQs

How are shipping containers placed on chassis?

A shipping container is first placed on a chassis using a crane. This is done carefully ensuring that the container's corner castings are aligned with the chassis’ twist locks (pins). The container is then engaged to the chassis with these pins.

How are shipping containers loaded on a truck?

Shipping containers are loaded on a truck in different ways. Some of the common ways are by using tilt bed and flatbed trucks, forklifts, cranes, side-loading trucks, and chassis.

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