Whether you are buying a container for personal or business storage or looking to convert it into a building for storage or living, there are many benefits to using a cargo unit. However, one factor that must always be considered is how it will move to different locations where you want to move it. When a container is brought to its destination, it is usually carried in the back of a truck by a crane that can lift it and transport it to the desired location. But what if the place doesn’t fit well for the container, or you want to move it somewhere else? What method will you use to transport it from one location to another? Even when the container is empty, is it heavy? To move a shipping container, you need the proper tool and machinery.

Things to consider when moving a shipping container

What does it require to move a shipping container? You can tow your container from one place to another or use heavy machinery. You decide what method to go for depending on your budget and needs. What is the weight of your shipping container?
Before deciding on one method, check the weight of your shipping container. Standard 20-foot shipping containers typically weigh over 5,000 pounds. 40-foot shipping containers, on the other hand, can weigh up to 8,200 pounds. Due to these heavyweights, shipping containers are moved frequently using semi-trailers or flatbed trailers.

Who can move a shipping container?

You can move your shipping container or hire someone to do it for you. If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) but don’t have access to the equipment needed to move a shipping container, it may make sense to hire a rollback truck. Without the CDL, you might still be able to drive your container based on the Department of Transport (DOT) regulations. These Gross Limitations are set in terms of Gross Vehicle weight rating (GVWR).

What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating?

GVWR is calculated as the maximum weight a truck can carry, including the importance of the truck itself.

Ways to move a shipping container:

Whether you need to move a shipping container to a different country or relocate it to a nearby location, you will need help transporting it. Sometimes you might have to use two options at the same time.
Shipping containers by road is the most used method. Below are some of the most popular trailers and trucks used in shipping container transportation.

Container lifting jack

The cost-effective and affordable container lifting jacks are the alternatives for lifting containers in regions with minimal container volume.

It can lift heavy weights but doesn’t stack containers. It can work in tight spaces restricting movement around the site.

Tilt-bed or Rollback Trucks

Rollback trucks, also known as flatbed tow trucks, are a popular transportation option when the container is not too heavy. This truck’s unique design allows the inclined method to push the container onto the ground. Suppose you transport the container less than 200 miles and unload it without additional equipment. In that case, the tilt bed truck is a good option. It is important to remember that the box is tilted with this method, which means its contents are not held level. And make sure you have your device securely mounted before you ride.

Step Deck Truck:

This truck has a flat platform on which the container is placed. The difference here is that the platform is lower to the ground, making it suitable to support larger equipment such as high-cube containers. A forklift or crane is required to lift the shipping container onto and off the truck.


If cost is not an issue, the easiest way to move and stack shipping containers is using a crane. There are some situations where getting a crane on-site is complicated. If your site can safely accommodate a crane and your budget allows for using a crane, you can save a lot of time. It is usually easier to use the crane to place your shipping container on the trailer or bed of your truck. But cranes require special licenses or operators—if you don’t use one for your job, you’ll probably need to hire someone to lift the crane for you, even if you’re driving the shipping container from place to place.


Some forklift models can lift a shipping container alone, but not your regular standard-size small forklift. Many smaller forklifts are not strong enough to lift a shipping container directly, nor are they wide enough to prevent warping or damage to the shipping container. Using a small forklift means that all the weight or pressure of the shipping container is applied to its centre. You can easily cause an accident if you use the wrong forklift. It is essential to check the maximum weight the forklift can manage before you start moving the container.

Transportation by Train

Train is the best and most feasible option if the loading point and destination are close to a railway line. In contrast to road transport, the railway requires planning to transport the shipping containers to and from the railway stations. Any of the trucks mentioned above can do this.

Transportation by Ship

Historically, shipping containers were transported via sea. Many companies and industries prefer this original transportation method for shipping.

Shipping is the best option if you plan to transport a container over long distances or even overseas. Moving the container in and out of the port will lead to additional costs. With this type of container transport, rules and regulations must be observed. However, you must also arrange to transport the cargo container to the loading dock.

Outsourcing of transport

The entire logistic management and the operational process can be outsourced to an expert who offers end-to-end solutions. A shipping company is well-equipped to advise you on the best shipping method and make all the arrangements.

Outsourcing saves you a lot of time, worry, and money. The end-to-end solution provider takes care of your entire sea container transport. They take care of the different rules and laws, means of transport, clearance, and more. You only must choose where the container will be delivered, and they will take care of all other aspects of this process.

How much does it cost to move a shipping container?

The shipping cost varies significantly between when you place an order and when it is delivered. The price is determined by various factors, including fuel charges, pickup and drop location.

The total cost of moving a shipping container depends on whether you are driving it yourself or hiring a professional service to do it for you. Moving a shipping container alone is cheap only if you have the skills, license, and equipment. If you need the equipment needed, you might need to rent them. If you decide to hire a company to move the container, you might have to consider other factors like the weight of the container, the number of containers being moved, the distance to be covered etc.

Cost of moving a container Internationally

If you need to ship your container overseas, the cost can be either cheap or expensive, depending on where the container is going. Exporting a shipping container to the US is more affordable than exporting a container to countries like China.
The rates also fluctuate when the customs charges are applied, which differ from one country.


Determined by the type of move, there are many different solutions on the market to get your shipping container from one place to another. Cost can vary widely based on the level of service, the distance your container needs to be shipped, and the amount of equipment required for your specific container shipment.

Also, while sending the container to a nearby or far-off place, keeping the department of transport (DOT) regulations in mind is crucial.

However, there are various methods to move a container from one place to another but try to get your shipping container exactly where you want it to be when you first pick a location. Not moving it at all saves you money and time.

How can BOXXPORT help?

BOXXPORT is a top-notch container service provider having business worldwide. Companies approach BOXXPORT for the container shipment market and find opportunities to participate in the digitalisation of their business.

When buying and selling shipping containers, we promise cost-effective and faster container trading without any hassle. You can log on to https://www.boxxport.com/ for more information or contact us at https://www.boxxport.com/signup.