Best methods for loading and unloading containers

Loading and unloading your container is a basic set of steps in the logistics process. It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s worth remembering that the goods contained in the container need to be packed correctly to be transported huge distances. They need to be safe, secure, and able to withstand being lifted and lowered several times. There can be no room for error, and when it’s time to unloading them, proper safety precautions must be taken.

Loading your shipping container

Before you begin to load your shipping container you need to ensure that your cargo is prepared for loading. Make sure that packages are secure and completely intact. The packaging needs to be robust enough to withstand transportation.

Badly packed shipping containers risk not only damaging your cargo, they can also represent a safety risk to the people who are in charge of transporting and unpacking your container. A loose item in a container travelling thousands of miles can cause considerable damage to what’s inside, creating a range of possible hazards when the container is opened as a well as a loss of income.

You can pack a shipping container yourself, or you can get a professional logistics company to do the job for you. If your workforce is familiar with the process and the standards required, then it can represent a considerable saving. If you are new to shipping cargo in shipping containers, then it may pay to have it taken care of professionally until a requisite number of your workforce are capable of safely handling the operation. Nothing should be left to chance.

Check your container

When your container arrives, you will need to check its cleanliness and overall condition. Check the locks and the serial numbers and write them down for reference.

Weight distribution

You’ll need to ensure that the weight of your cargo is evenly distributed over the floor of the shipping container. A container that’s too heavy at one end and light at the other can run into weight issues if the weight is too high on one axle. It also makes your container much harder to handle at the port, and in some instances can even be dangerous. Make sure that you don’t exceed the container’s maximum container payload. Container weight will need to be verified.

As a guideline you should never place wet goods above dry goods, as you run the risk of ruining your cargo. Never place heavy items on lighter items or you run the risk of crushing. Safely secure the cargo by packing your container as tightly as possible. You can also use straps to secure your cargo in place.

Unloading your container

Your container has arrived safely at your premises or professional warehousing and is now ready to be unloaded. If it was packed properly then this process is considerably easier. The containers will need to be placed on level ground, adequate lighting will need to be provided, and proper health and safety protocols adhered to. The process can either be carried out at ground level using nimble counterbalance forklifts, alternatively it can arrive at an unloading dock ready to be carefully unpacked.

A loading dock area is part of a building where goods vehicles can be safely parked and unloaded.  A dock-level forklift facilitates this process, and this can sometimes be easier than ground level unloading depending on what’s inside the container.

A professional logistics company can make the process easier

Needless to say, there’s plenty that can go wrong at this key stage of the entire process. Even if everything is done correctly, without the proper equipment and layout at your premises the task can be time-consuming and onerous. That’s why so many companies choose to use the services of a professional logistics company both for loading and unloading their cargo. They will have all the necessary equipment at hand and a highly skilled workforce who are used to handling all kinds of different cargo. They will have faced challenging cargo and unforeseen situations, making them quick to adapt and take any necessary steps to prevent problems arising.

At SSO Logistics, our experienced team and industry leading warehouse facility makes the whole loading and unloading process straightforward.

Why not contact our experienced professional team at SSO Logistics to find out more?