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How to Transport a Shipping Container

Shipping containers are a reliable solution for transporting goods both locally and internationally. Renowned for their robustness and ability to secure cargo, they are a staple in the transport industry. However, moving a shipping container requires understanding several key steps. This blog will guide you through these steps, ensuring a smooth and successful journey for your container, whether across town or across the globe.

1. Preparing the shipping container

Your shipping container should be thoroughly inspected and prepared for transport. Ensure it’s damage-free, clean the surrounding walls, and securely fasten the contents to prevent shifting during transit. If you are not using a tilt bed truck, a forklift or crane will be necessary to move a shipping container. Many shipping containers have built-in corner castings which can be easily rigged for moving with a crane. 

2. Choosing the right transportation method

The transportation method depends on distance, costs, and location. For an on-ground destination under 300 km, a tilt bed truck is often the most cost-effective option as it doesn’t require additional equipment such as a forklift or crane. A flatbed truck is the better choice for longer ground distances as they are cheaper to hire in the long run. A step deck truck is necessary if you plan to have high cube containers delivered since they take up more vertical space.  Shipping container transport overseas typically involves freight ships.

3. Hiring a reliable transport company

Choosing a business experienced in how to transport shipping containers is essential. They should be equipped to operate a range of vehicles, including crane transport, forklifts, and step deck trucks. These companies should understand the nuances of container transportation.

4. Understanding the logistics

Shipping container transport involves complex logistics, especially for international delivery. This includes managing customs clearance, handling documentation, and ensuring compliance with global shipping regulations. A knowledgeable transport company can guide you through these processes, ensuring your shipping containers reach their destination efficiently.

5. Tracking the shipment

Many companies offer real-time tracking, allowing you to monitor your container’s journey to your site or storage site. This service allows you to plan around the container’s arrival.

6. Considering safety and environmental factors

Safety when you move a shipping container is paramount. Reliable container transport companies adhere to strict safety protocols to ensure secure handling. Additionally, in today’s environmentally conscious world, some transport methods are more eco-friendly, such as renting fuel-efficient trucks or reusing old containers. These practices not only help the environment but can also be more cost-effective.

7. Insurance and timeline expectations

It’s advisable to have proper insurance coverage for your shipping containers, especially when valuable or sensitive items are transported. Understanding the expected timelines for different types of transport can also help in planning. Local transporters usually take a shorter time compared to international shipments, which can vary greatly based on the distance and logistics involved.

8. Understanding the cost of transporting a shipping container

The cost to move a shipping container can vary widely based on several points. These include the distance of the transport, the size and type of the container, the chosen mode of transportation, and additional services like expedited shipping or special handling requirements. Other elements affecting price include the time of year (peak seasons may attract higher rates) and fuel costs at the time of transport. Understanding these can help you arrange transportation for your shipping containers in a more cost-effective way.

9. Tips to avoid common mistakes

  • Double-check container condition: Always inspect your shipping containers before transport to avoid delays caused by repairs. The built-in corner castings are especially important since they are what allow your container to be easily rigged to a crane.
  • Secure your cargo: Properly securing your container contents is crucial to prevent damage during truck transit.
  • Choose the right transport method: Evaluate your needs carefully to select the most appropriate transport method. Consider if you need a tilt bed truck, flatbed truck, or step deck truck. If you use one of the latter, you will need to hire a crane or forklift and consider that in the price.
  • Plan ahead: Organise your transport well in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  • Understand the paperwork: Ensure all your documentation is in order, especially for international shipping.
  • Communicate with your transport company: Regular communication can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure your requirements are met.


Moving shipping containers, whether locally or internationally, involves a series of critical steps. From preparing your shipping container and selecting the right transport method to understanding complex logistics and safety protocols, every aspect is crucial for a successful transit. By choosing the right transport partner, such as SEA Containers, you can ensure a smooth and efficient experience.

Contact us today to discuss your shipping container transportation needs and learn how we can provide you with a secure, efficient transport solution.