Your Guide to Stacking Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are large, metal boxes, used to transport goods across the sea or land. These containers play an imperative role to our global economy, enabling manufactured goods to be transported seamlessly. 

Unfortunately, transporting goods in such large containers does pose risks, particularly involving the containers themselves. For instance, if stacked inappropriately, the containers could collapse, which ultimately threatens the safety of the crew, and would of course incur a significant loss of goods.

Thus, it is clear that you must take careful consideration when stacking shipping containers to prevent these issues. Read our comprehensive guide to find out more. 

Before Stacking Shipping Containers

Prior to stacking your shipping containers, here are some things you must take into account:

1. Check Your Stacking Location

Carefully assess the area in which you will be stacking your containers. Ensure that the ground surface is completely flat and firm. Also look out for any signs of cracks and uneven surfaces. Using a bubble-level tool may be helpful in helping you assess the location. Remember, in order to stack the shipping containers successfully, the initial foundations must be solid and reliable.

2. Establish a Maximum Stacking Height

There is always a common question as to how high you can stack your shipping containers. Generally speaking, you can stack up to eight or nine containers on top of each other – but the exact figure is highly dependent on your own circumstances. 

You must also consider the reliability of your ground surface. After the initial assessment of your stacking location, you should have a relatively clear idea of how to adjust the maximum stacking height. In addition, check the shipping container stacking regulations of your location – as this will inevitably inform the height of your stack. 

Notably, take into account external factors like the weather, which will impact the risk of your containers. A day that is accompanied by heavy winds would inevitably not suit a high stack. 

3. Assess Your Shipping Container

Make sure that the shipping container itself is up to standard. You do not want to use a container that is largely used and damaged, as this will not provide you enough structural reinforcements. 

A quick way to check your shipping container is by looking at the CSC plate – which will inform you of the container’s age and may also supply details of the maintenance history too. When inspecting your container, look out for any dents and holes in both the interior and exterior; since you do not want water coming in during transport! 

When checking the interior, be aware of any odours and previous residue such as chemicals. Make sure your shipping container is fully clean and empty before inserting your goods!

Also look out for structural damages and check that all the mechanisms are working. For instance, no loose bolts and hinges. Check that the locks are working well too. 

Choosing a trusted brand is an easy way to save yourself the hassle. For reliable and affordable shipping containers, browse our range at THS Containers today. 

Stacking Your Containers

You are now ready to begin stacking shipping containers. Take a look at some key things to consider: 

4. Stacking Purposefully

When you are stacking shipping containers, make sure you adhere to the guidelines provided by OSHA – which details how to use container forklifts and cranes appropriately. Some guidelines include making sure that the crane is properly maintained and that the container is secured well. 

Oddly enough, the smaller containers are usually stacked at the bottom rather than the top. The reason behind this is that there is more strength provided from two smaller containers at the base rather than one large container. 

When stacking, make sure that the corner castings are in line with the casting container below. 

Additionally, it is important to distribute the weight of your stacking containers appropriately. The heavier containers should be placed at the bottom, whereas the lighter containers are kept at the top. As a result, the centre of gravity is maintained at an equilibrium and the issue of structural failure is alleviated. 

Containers should be stacked where there is no margin of movement – to avoid constant collision during transportation. 

5. Secure With Care

To ensure the stability of your stack, using reliable stacking pins is a necessity. Stacking pins essentially help hold the shipping containers together. It is important to use a durable stacking pin, in order to maximise the solidity of your stack. 

Here at THS Containers, our stacking pins have a galvanised finish, and have a 50 ton breaking load – to give you confidence that your containers are held together effectively. For more detail on our stacking pins, you can browse our page here

In some cases, you may find yourself requiring further securing mechanisms due to the quality of your containers and the weight. Some examples include lock boxes, inner bolts or heavy duty straps.

Ready to Begin Stacking Shipping Containers?

Here at THS Containers, we offer affordable purchase and hire of shipping containers. Alongside our 25 years of experience, you can be assured that we offer the best value for money. Contact us today for a quote.


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