Shipping containers are loaded onto ships using giant dedicated cranes, but that’s only a small part of their journey. To get to the port where it is loaded on the ship, the container must travel many miles overland. Some ports have rail lines directly into the freight yard, but generally, the rail hub is miles away. A loaded container may travel from Kansas City to Los Angeles by rail, but it also travels to and from the railyard over the roads.
Containers are built to highly standardized dimensions not only to allow them to stack easily on the deck of a container ship, but also so that they fit onto a specialized truck chassis. This temporarily turns the steel box into a tractor trailer truck much like any other. Every container comes equipped with locking corner posts that secure it to the truck chassis or other containers when they are being stacked.
That’s fine, if you have a crane to lift the container up onto the chassis, then another to lift it off and put it on a train or a ship, but that means every truck driver needs to get in line and wait for their turn with the crane operator.
This video shows the potential for another option that allows any tow truck of sufficient size to quickly and easily add wheels to a shipping container that’s sitting on the ground, then drive it to its destination. While the idea is still in the development stage, it certainly holds a great deal of promise for shorter haul pick-up and delivery of containers.
Storage containers, because there is generally not a large crane or heavy lift fork-truck at the customer’s site, are usually delivery with a flat-bed lift truck. These sorts of flat-bed trucks are basically larger versions of the flat-bed tow truck that you might see at your local auto shop.
The concept shown in the video above, however, would be another good option for the delivery of storage containers. If the inventors perfect their design and get all the right approvals to allow it to be used on the public roadways, it could open up storage container delivery as another revenue source for local tow truck companies, allowing more flexibility in the scheduling of deliveries.
Just as more and more people are thinking of creative ways to use shipping containers for other purposes, it’s interesting to see inventors like these thinking of new ways to deliver them to job sites.