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Rough guide to container transportation

shipping container delivery

Last Updated on October 4, 2023

There are many types of container transportation available in the UK.

We always use an 8-wheeler HIAB rigid lorry to deliver and offload our 20ft containers or this type of vehicle with a trailer (also known as a ‘Drag’) for a pair of 20ft containers to our customers’ sites.

We are often told that an 8-wheeler lorry has been on our customers’ sites and that our HIAB lorries should be fine to deliver their container(s).

The 8-wheeler HIAB lorry (road lorry) that we use is quite different to the 8-wheeler Tipper truck (construction lorry). So here are some of the differences:

  1. The 8-wheeler Tipper trucks are fitted with ‘Double Drive’, ‘Diff locks’ and ‘Cross locks’ – these enable the vehicle to drive over rough terrain. They could even drive over ploughed fields.
  2. The 8-wheeler Tipper truck also has a different wheel base; again for a better drive over rough terrain and this also gives a smaller overhang. So some road ramps and steep areas are more accessible for the Tipper truck.
  3. The 8-wheeler HIAB lorry does not have ‘Double drive’ or ‘Cross locks’; this is the reason we say that we are unable to drive over grass, mud and unmade roads.
  4. The 8-wheeler HIAB lorry also has a longer wheel base, which gives an 8ft overhang behind the last axle. Hence, steep slopes or ramps can often cause us problems.
  5. When deciding whether an 8-wheeler HIAB lorry can drive up a ramp or steep hill, imagine a 50 seater coach. If you think a coach can drive up your ramp or steep hill, then an 8-wheeler HIAB lorry should be able to.
  6. HIAB vehicles have an unbalanced weight distribution. The front axle carries the weight of the cab, engine and the crane. This therefore means that it ploughs into the ground rather than over the ground.

Hi ab offloading a 20ft sea container

This is what happens when a vehicle gets stuck.

Overhead cables

We are often asked to offload a container(s) or drive underneath overhead cables. We generally say that this is not possible; the HSE stipulates that we must have a clearance of 18m from the top of the crane height which equates to 28m from the ground. This is subject to the strength of the power cables. Please see the HSE information about overhead cables and guidance on avoiding danger from power lines for more information.

Offloading from the road

We are not allowed to offload a container from a public highway. You, as the client, would have to ask your local highways department to see if a permit is required prior to the delivery date. If a permit is required, then our driver will need to see it before offloading.

Please remember that our vehicles use outriggers off the side of the vehicle, which require at least another 5ft on each side of the vehicle. Many small lanes just do not have the space for our outriggers. Please call us to discuss.

For more details about our delivery/offload and collection/lift on please refer to our Delivery and Collection page.

Please call us to discuss your delivery requirements on 0800 121 7388 or 01473 557409.

About Jane Billing
Jane Billing has over 30 years’ experience in shipping container supply. During that time Jane has gained a very broad knowledge of the whole shipping container industry. From construction, to shipping, to adaption and conversions, if you have a question about any aspect of the shipping container industry Jane will likely have the answer for you. After many years working for some of the biggest names in the shipping container industry Jane set up her own company, Billie Box Ltd, in 2012. Since launching, Billie Box Ltd has sold well over 1500 new and used containers.

Shipping Container transportation FAQs
Can I have a container offloaded underneath power cables?

Well yes, as long as the working height restrictions are adhered to.

Can I have my container offloaded inside a building?

Yes, however, this is dependent on the building interior height, overhead cables, the door sizes and type of interior flooring. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Can my container be offloaded from a public highway?

This is not usually a problem, but we recommend you contact your local highways department to request permission.

How do I get a shipping container or storage container delivered?

We use HIAB lorries (crane-mounted vehicles) to deliver the containers to your site. When on site, the vehicle will be able to offload the container to the side of the vehicle. Please see our Delivery and Collections page and our Rough guide to transport. If you are unsure of your site, we can carry out a site survey for a small fee.

How soon can I have delivery?

We offer 3-5 working days delivery, subject to availability of the equipment and transport operators. However, if you require delivery sooner, then we will endeavour to service your requirements.

Is the 8-Wheeler tipper truck the same as an 8-Wheeler HIAB lorry?

No, a tipper truck and HIAB lorry are different vehicles. We will advise on transport options in your quote.

Who can move a shipping container?

A shipping container can only be moved by professionals who have the experience and equipment necessary for such a task. When you order with Billie Box, our team will be happy to safely deliver and offload your shipping container to your chosen destination.

Will the delivery lorry be able to drive over grass?

This is weather dependent. If it has been particularly wet, then generally the answer is no. Some of our transport companies are willing to attempt this, however you may be requested to sign a disclaimer, to say that you will repair any damage caused to the vehicle and/or any costs associated with the retrieval of the vehicle, if it gets stuck. However, the driver will make the final decision.