Shipping container delivery

One of the most common questions we get asked by our customers is how do we deliver a container.

We deliver shipping containers nationwide EVERY SINGLE DAY, which means that we had many opportunities to identify the best practices to ensure a smooth and efficient delivery experience.

As long as the site is clear and adequate spacing is provided for delivery, the container delivery process should take approximately 15-20 minutes. Please consider that additional delays for waiting time, inadequate space, improper container loading instructions, etc will all result in additional time which can result in additional costs.


Shipping containers are delivered on tilt and load trailers which are able to back into position and slowly drop the container down into the desired location. In order for a successful delivery, the site will need to meet two main criteria: space to maneuver and straight-line clearance.
Space to maneuver on-site includes being able to enter the property easily and have adequate space for the container placement. Entering a site can be problematic for trailers delivering 40’ containers. These trailers are 53′ long and require free and clear access to the property in order to deliver without assistance. They are unable to make sharp 90-degree turns from two-lane streets or similar into narrow entrances.

Once the trailer has entered the property, the site must have sufficient width, height and most importantly, length requirements to guarantee a smooth delivery. As the container will be sitting on a deck that is 12’W, they will require at least 1’ ft on either side to back into and out of position for a total width requirement of 14’W. Once in position, the driver will tilt the bed of the container upwards and at its highest point, the container can reach a height of 18’H. Finally, the span required to drop the container is referred to as straight-line clearance.



Once the delivery truck has entered the property, the following straight-line clearance is required on-site to deliver the containers into their desired location.


For the delivery process to run smoothly, the truck will require a minimum of 65 feet of straight line clearance to deliver a 20’ shipping container. This space requirement includes the length of the container itself, the length of the truck deck and finally, the truck itself as shown below.


The same process is used to deliver a 40’ shipping container. However, as you can imagine, the truck is much larger and requires a much larger clearance area. For the delivery of a 40’ sea can to run smoothly, the truck will require a minimum of 110 feet of straight line clearance as shown below.


The weight of the trailer and empty container are also a consideration for a successful delivery. As the combined weight can exceed 50,000lbs, we recommend delivering on firm ground that is able to support the weight and prevent the trailer from sinking. This is especially a factor on grass or a desired location that requires the truck to cross an unpaved field or similar terrain.

On arrival, the delivery drivers will assess delivery conditions on site (accessibility and ground conditions) and determine if they can proceed with the delivery as planned. If the requirements are not met, they can refuse delivery which will result in delivery charges applying for the unsuccessful trip or they may propose to drop in an alternate location that is more easily accessible.

If you have any questions about any of the above-mentioned delivery considerations, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to guide you through the process to better assess your site.


One of the most important factors we can recommend is to ensure that the containers doors are sitting on a relatively level ground surface on delivery. This prevents the frame from bending and twisting which can lead to eventual issues opening and closing the doors over time. For this reason, we recommend any of the following surfaces for your storage container: concrete pad, pavement, crushed gravel base, railroad ties, concrete blocks, wood, etc.

We also strongly recommend that the container does not sit directly in grass or surfaces where water can pool to extend the longevity of your sea container. Excess moisture can rot the undercarriage of the container which can affect the structural integrity of the flooring.


Obstructions can cause delays or completely halt the delivery process. Obstructions that can prevent a delivery include but are not limited to: low hanging tree branches, powerlines, heavy traffic, , parked cars, etc. Ensuring the desired location is free of any of these elements will avoid unnecessary delays which can results in additional delivery charges.


Most standard shipping containers have doors on one end. So the placement of the original container doors on the truck is very important to consider for its final placement at your location.

Keeping in mind that the truck backs into position to tilt the container onto the ground, loading the truck with the container doors facing the rear will result in the doors being placed in their final position first.

If the container doors are loaded to face the cab of the truck, the doors will be the last part of the container to be placed onto the ground. While the sales team can certainly help explain the process in more detail, it is the customer who better understands the final placement on site and must provide us appropriate door loading directions for delivery.




Each container is delivered at ground level using a hydraulic tilt trailer. This means that the truck deck will extend out and then upwards which will tilt the back of the container down onto the ground. Once in place, the truck will then move forward slowly until the container is lowered completely into its final placement.


For rental customers, we ask that you kindly advise us by email 2-3 business days prior to the end of the lease of a container rental in order to ensure adequate time to arrange pick up of the container. The specialized trailers that carry containers are often booked many days in advance so it is difficult to guarantee same or next day pick up at the end of the rental period. This is especially important to keep in mind if the timing of pick up is critical for the next steps on site. Once pick up has been scheduled, please ensure the container is completely empty and accessible for pick up. Additional charges may apply for on-site waiting time if the container is blocked on-site or if debris is left inside. Please note that the container must be returned to us in the same condition while allowing for normal wear and tear.


  • Advise 2-3 days prior to pick up
  • Ensure the container is empty and accessible



For commercial and industrial container rental customers, our Canadian winters can have an impact at the end of the lease term when it is time to arrange pick up of the container. When calling to request a container pick up in the winter months, there are a few issues to take note of to avoid additional delivery costs. As a starting point, the container must be free and clear of snow on the roof. This is a ministry of transportation directive and the driver can refuse to pick up if this criteria is not met as they can risk significant fines on the road for falling snow and ice while driving. Oftentimes, the container can also be frozen in the ground and the tilt bed is unable to lift the corners. To prevent this issue, we often recommend heavily salting the four corner castings where the container makes contact with the ground, the day PRIOR to pick up.

  • Remove all snow & ice from the roof
  • Apply salt to four corners on day prior to pick up