Best equipment for unloading shipping containers
Updated: Jun 15
If you’re a business that currently imports goods from overseas, or you’re considering doing so, shipping containers will play a vital role in the process. How they’re used, loaded, and unloaded is crucial to the safe and efficient transportation of your goods.
Safely unloading your shipping container
There’s a range of factors to consider when unloading a shipping container, such as time, manpower requirements, the space required, the equipment you will need, and the contents of your container.
Unloading the container
When the container arrives, either at your premises or at warehousing, the unloading process will begin. It’s important not to rush in, but to carefully consider the order in which you’ll do things.
Something people often forget to consider is the clearance from the ground up to the container. If you have access to a loading bay ramp or dock at your premises, then this won’t present any problems.
What special equipment will I need for unloading a container?
To ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible you will need a few essential pieces of kit.
● Bolt cutters - a strong pair of bolt cutters is essential. You’ll need them for cutting the container seal when the container arrives. The container will have been locked at origin with heavy-duty bolts that secure the container and its contents.
● Pallets - are the contents of the container going to be palletised for warehousing and distribution purposes? If so, you’ll need to ensure you have enough pallets on hand for the contents.
These are the basics of any unloading operation, but what about the heavy-duty specialist equipment that makes short work of the process?
Mobile Yard Ramp
Sometimes called a yard ramp, container ramp or forklift ramp, these can be used in a fixed position, or mobile and moved into place where required, This will enable you to unload a container and allow a light forklift to be run up and down the ramp and inside the container, while the container remains on the chassis. It’s worth remembering, however, that reversing a forklift down a ramp can be dangerous and it isn’t always suitable for heavier or awkward loads.
Perhaps the easiest way to unload a shipping container is at dock-level. A loading dock is an area of a building where goods vehicles can be safely parked ready for unloading. A dock-level forklift can then be used to unload the contents of the container. This is a straightforward means by which to unload a container, dependent on its contents.
Ground level unloading is best handled by a counterbalance forklift. The design of these types of forklifts simplifies the process of unloading containers. They’re designed with their forks protruding from the front of the vehicle. They don’t have any outrigging, arms, or legs to help stabilise them. Instead, they retain their stability while being able to get in and out of smaller spaces more effectively than a conventional forklift design. They can be driven up to the precise spot where the unloading is to take place. They don’t require any reach facility and they can turn on their rear wheels, making them probably the most useful piece of equipment in the loading and unloading process.
A professional service
As SSO Logistics, we are fully equipped to safely and efficiently receive your container and then unload it. We have a range of specialist equipment at our industry standard warehousing facility and our staff are trained and experienced in handling it correctly.