How to Move Your Own Shipping Container

When it comes to shipping containers, there are a variety of ways they can be utilized to make your life simpler. Whether you want one on your construction site, need additional storage for your home or you’re using them to build a modular home or structure, the possibilities are endless.

As you prepare to move these containers, however, that’s where your options become a little more limited and it’s important to do your research to choose the best method for you and your budget. In this blog post, we will cover various methods to move your container as well as discussing what are the most affordable options for transport.

Shipping containers were designed to be used exactly as their name implies. They are made to transport goods on large ships traveling countless miles across our world’s oceans. So when they make it to land, how do they get from point A to point B? What methods are used to move them to and from your home or job site? Generally speaking, trucks are the most common means to transport shipping containers. If you opt to utilize this method, you must consider the dimensions of the container and the accessibility of its final destination.

While selecting the proper transportation needed for your box, there are two kinds of trucks that are most often used; tilt bed trailers and flatbed trailers.

Tilt Bed Trailers

Tilt bed trailers are one of the most effective and safe ways of hauling a shipping container, especially if you’re moving the container 200 miles or less. This will usually cost anywhere from $300-500 if you stay local and $1500+ if you are traveling long distance.

When choosing this option, you will need to ensure there is enough space for the trailer to safely back up and enough clearance height when the trailer tilts its bed back during loading/unloading.

The best thing about using this method is the container can be offloaded quickly and easily without the use of cranes and forklifts. It is worth noting though, that if you have contents inside your container during the time of moving, they should be secured or fastened as they might otherwise move around during transport and loading/unloading.

Shipping container being delivered with tilt bed trailer


If you find yourself needing another moving option or if you are hauling your container for over 200 miles, we would recommend you consider utilizing a flatbed trailer. This is generally a more affordable option, especially when moving companies operate per mile. You can expect to pay $3 per mile in most places (not including additional service fees).

While affordability is a huge selling point for this option, there are some downsides. Flatbed trailers lack surrounding walls and you will need a crane or forklift when loading/unloading the container on the trailer bed. Unless you have personal access to one of these tools, this may come at an additional cost.

As a general rule of thumb, shipping containers that are 20 feet or shorter should be lifted with a forklift that has 6-foot tines and is able to hold the weight of the container, as well as any contents within it. It is also important to note that standard warehouse forklifts should NOT be used to lift a container as the load would be far too much.

If the container is larger than 20 feet you will need a specialty forklift with 8-foot tines that can handle at least 15,000 pounds. With either option, you’re looking to spend roughly $400-700 dollars per day for the rental fee.

Shipping container being delivered with flatbed

If you have the ability to rent a crane, this is usually the best option in terms of functionality and affordability. To rent a small crane for a day, it will cost you roughly $200 in most United States rental locations. The good news is shipping containers are already designed to be lifted by cranes and have built in corner castings, making this process quite simple. Additionally, these machines can handle the weight of shipping containers of nearly any size.

While moving your own container may seem like a daunting task at first glance, there are many tools at your disposal that can make the job a breeze.

However, if you have a container you’re looking to move and you live in Washington State, Oregon, or Arizona and need some assistance, we may be able to help! Visit to learn more.


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