How to Move a Shipping Container?

Moving a shipping container is no easy feat. These are massive containers made out of strong corrugated steel. They’re built to last and stay put while sitting on a cargo ship crossing the ocean. Strong winds, huge waves, and other things can’t move them, so they’re generally expected to stay put wherever they land.

You’re going to need some heavy equipment to move a shipping container. If you’re buying one for your property or business, or you need to rent one short-term, the company you’re purchasing from will likely have the cranes and forklifts to get the job done.

With such a heavy item, where you want to put it needs to be decided well in advance. You can change your mind once it’s there and in place, of course, but it’s going to cost you money because you’re probably going to have to pay for someone or a service to come to do it for you.

Here is some helpful information on how to move a shipping container and what you should consider before it’s delivered.

moving a shipping container

Thinking About Where Your Shipping Container Will Go

Before you arrange for shipping container delivery, you need to carefully consider where the shipping container is going to go. A standard 20ft shipping container can weigh up to 5,000 lbs. while a 40 ft container can easily exceed 9,000 lbs. That means it’s not going anywhere once it’s on the ground.

You should plan for the right spot by considering the following:

Ease of Access

How close do you want your shipping container to be relative to your home or other structures? If you’re using the shipping container to manage and store inventory for a home-based business, you may want it to be close to your home to make working there easier. If you’re keeping lawn care items and gardening supplies inside, then you may want to set them back in your yard a bit.

Sun Exposure

Remember, this is essentially a large metal box. If it’s left out in the sun for most of the day, it’s going to get very hot inside. That may not be a big deal to some people, but if you’ve got sensitive items inside, you probably don’t want them to be super hot all day. Take the course of the sun into account when you decide where you’re going to put the shipping container.

Manage Moisture

If you live somewhere with significant climate changes, you need to worry about condensation inside of your shipping container. Also, you need to plan for how water will flow on your property when it rains.

If too much water gets under or around your container, you will start to see rust that, if left untreated, will damage the structural integrity of the walls.

truck with covered containers

How Far Is the Move?

Once you’ve got the shipping container in place, hopefully, you won’t have to move it for a very long time. If you do need to move it, though, the distance you’re moving matters a great deal. If you’re shifting the direction of the container or moving it a few feet, that is a lot simpler than taking it a long distance.

For example, designers move shipping containers around to new configurations if they’re building shipping container homes or commercial buildings. Likewise, getting shipping containers up on big rig trucks is a lot easier than lifting them on a large cargo ship.

Moving the Container On Property

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that moving a heavy shipping container is easy. These are massive items that are extremely heavy. One small mistake can cause serious injuries or even death. If the container falls on something or someone, consequences can be dire.

A lot of people have ruined trucks and other equipment trying to move their containers just a few feet. Even though it seems like a hassle to move it, most people are much better off paying professionals to move their containers.

A lot of trucks or home-owned equipment can move a 5,000-pound empty shipping container. Just remember that dragging a shipping container across the yard will tear up the grass and whatever else is in its way. If you can, get a jack under it and move it onto something that will help it roll to wherever it is going.

Some people have success moving containers by mounting brackets to the corners and mounting wheels on the shipping container. Then, it’s a lot easier to tow and move. That’s great for going in a straight line, but what if you have to turn a corner? You may need someone else to help with the move who can push a tractor into the back end of the container when it needs to turn.

Moving the Container Longer Distances

A heavy shipping container can’t simply sit on your run-of-the-mill trailer. It is going to need a special trailer that’s designed to hold containers. Unless you’re moving containers all of the time, it’s not going to make financial sense to buy a trailer like that, so you are likely going to need to rent one or hire a company with one.

Companies that sell shipping containers are a great place to start looking. If you live near any sort of city or developed area, odds are there is a company selling or transporting shipping containers that can help. Getting the shipping container on the trailer is the main issue here.

These companies typically use special cranes to lift the container up on a truck chassis or trailer. They aren’t mobile, so you may have to pay to rent a crane that will come to your property and lift your container up on wherever it’s going.

Most of these services charge to move a shipping container based on the mileage. Get a quote before you agree to move the container to make sure it’s worth your while.

Preparing the container for the move

How to Prep Your Shipping Container for a Move

Whether you are moving your shipping container a few feet or across state lines, you need to get it ready to make life easier. Unless you’re shipping items inside the container that need to go with it, you should empty the container before you try to lift it or pull it. These are already thousands of pounds, so don’t add to the weight count by having tools, furniture, clothing, or anything else inside.

When you are working with such heavy weights, most of the equipment you will use will have specific weight-bearing capabilities. A truck, for example, is built to pull a certain number of pounds. For your safety and the protection of your equipment, don’t exceed those numbers.

Make sure the doors are closed and secure in place before any moves. The last thing that you want is a heavy door to swing open and hit your truck, or worse, someone helping you. If something inside has to move with the container, ensure that it is secured and won’t shift weight around while you’re moving it.

Finally, make sure that wherever you’re moving it offers a clear path. For example, you don’t want to take the shipping container under any low bridges or try to get it through a gate where it won’t fit. Do the research and plan your trip to avoid any challenges.

Moving a shipping container can be quite complex. If you’re unsure about anything, call around and find a company that can help. It’s the best way to keep everyone safe and get your shipping container to its new location in one piece.

Agua Dulce Storage | 11715 Davenport Road Agua Dulce, California 91390 United States
Agua Dulce Storage | 11715 Davenport Road Agua Dulce, California 91390 United States

If you’re looking for a Storage Facility that offers to rent a shipping container or renting a space to park your shipping container, Agua Dulce Storage has got you covered! Here at Agua Dulce Storage, we offer a wide selection of parking units to accommodate your every need. To learn more about our storage facility, please check out our website at