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Shipping Container Delivery: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ensure a Smooth Experience

Updated: May 21, 2023

To ensure a stress-free delivery of your shipping container, there are a few things to consider:

Avoid rough roads:

One of the primary concerns when it comes to shipping container delivery is the condition of the roads. Dirt, gravel, or damaged pavement can all pose challenges due to weight limits and the risk of getting stuck or causing damage to the road and equipment. As such, it's important to carefully evaluate the delivery route and avoid rough roads whenever possible.

Be mindful of steep inclines and declines:

Another factor to consider when planning your shipping container delivery is the grade of the local roadways. Steep inclines can make it difficult to haul a heavy load uphill, while steep declines can pose safety hazards. To ensure a successful delivery, it's essential to contact your delivery company to evaluate the delivery route and determine if the local roadway grades are suitable for the weight of your container. By doing so, you can avoid potential safety hazards and ensure that your container is delivered without incident.

Avoid tight turns:

It's important to consider the turning radius of your shipping container when planning your delivery. Shipping containers need sufficient turning clearance to prevent getting stuck or causing damage. A 20ft container requires a minimum of 60ft straight line clearance, while a 40ft container requires a minimum of 100ft. Narrow roads in rural areas or crowded urban settings with buildings and parked cars may not provide enough space for a safe turn. Be sure to carefully evaluate the delivery route and avoid tight turns whenever possible.

By avoiding these potential challenges, you can help ensure a smooth and successful delivery of your shipping container.

Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279

Height Restrictions such as Overhanging Trees, Power Lines, and Low Bridges

If you're planning to order a shipping container, it's important to ensure that the delivery route is free of any obstacles that may hinder the delivery process. Height and width restrictions, as well as weather-affected roadways, are some of the most common obstacles that may cause delivery hazards and delays. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate through these obstacles and ensure a successful and hassle-free delivery.

Height Restrictions

Height restrictions can include power lines, overhanging trees, low bridges, arches, building eaves, and even gateways. To ensure that the delivery process is smooth, it's important to make sure that there is at least 14ft of vertical clearance along the entire route. This means that any obstacle that doesn't offer sufficient clearance is considered a height restriction. To avoid delays and ensure a successful delivery, it's important to check the entire route and make sure that there is enough space for the shipping container to pass through all sections of the roadway.

Width Restrictions

Width restrictions are also common obstacles that may hinder shipping container delivery. A minimum of 14ft of horizontal clearance is required for a shipping container to pass through a roadway without causing any delays or getting stuck. Narrow roadways with less than 14ft of width may not permit a shipping container delivery, and a lack of alternatives may result in cancellation. Ideally, any roads leading to your location should be a standard 2-lane marked road at minimum.

Weather-Affected Roadways

Weather conditions can also affect the delivery process, making it impractical and dangerous. Icy roads, flooded roads, muddy roads, roads covered with debris after extreme weather, and snowy roads that have yet to be plowed are all conditions that may cause delivery hazards and delays. To avoid such conditions, it's important to plan the delivery according to the weather forecast and make sure that the route is safe and accessible. If you're not sure whether the local roadways can accommodate a successful shipping container delivery, contact us to receive a free delivery guideline assessment and review of your local roads and features before ordering your shipping container from US Conex.

​​Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


Tilt bed trailers are designed to perform secure shipping container delivery with direct placement on the ground at the drop-off location.

truck and trailer

Tilt bed trailers have been designed with the specific purpose of executing the secure conveyance of shipping containers to their intended location, with a direct placement on the ground upon reaching the drop-off site.

These trailers are particularly useful for small-scale enterprises, private properties, and other similar locations that lack specialized forklifts or cranes for hauling or offloading the container from the delivery vehicle. In order to plan for a successful container delivery, one must take into account the location, the available space, and the conditions in which the container will be placed. Given that it is impossible to move the container without specialized equipment once it is in place, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the surface and location are appropriate for the drop-off of the storage container.

US Conex collaborates with customers to assess whether a tilt bed container delivery aligns with their specific requirements. Tilt beds have the capability of hauling 20ft and 40ft shipping containers, and the delivery process entails pulling the trailer out from under the container, necessitating a straight-line clearance of at least 100ft. Prior to delivery, the customer must also determine the orientation of the container doors, as this will dictate how the container will be loaded onto the trailer.

​​Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


Flatbed shipping container delivery is a distinctive process that differs from tilt bed trailers. Unlike tilt bed trailers, flatbed trailers do not possess their own off-loading mechanism, which implies that any storage container delivered on a flatbed necessitates manual off-loading with the aid of cranes, forklifts, or other lifting methods. Due to this requirement, flatbed storage container delivery is ideal for business locations or private properties that have heavy lifting equipment available on-site. Because the responsibility for off-loading the shipping container falls upon the customer, the drop-off preparation is comparatively uncomplicated when compared to tilt bed delivery.

Additionally, flatbed storage container delivery requires significantly less clearance space than tilt bed trailers. In contrast to tilt bed delivery, which requires a minimum of 100ft straight-line clearance to remove the trailer from underneath the container, the flatbed trailer can lift the container directly and place it at the desired location using specialized equipment. We offer flatbed trailers that can transport both 20ft and 40ft shipping containers, including all available variations, to your business or private property.

Our delivery planning specialists are always available to help you choose the most cost-effective and appropriate delivery option for your specific goals. To learn more, please refer to our Space Clearance and Drop-Site Preparation guidelines or contact us to discover our shipping containers for sale and why US Conex is the top choice for shipping containers.

​​Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


shipping container clearance chart

Before buying new or used shipping containers, it’s important to ensure the drop-off site is adequately equipped to accommodate a container delivery. This includes having enough space to store a 20ft container or a 40ft container and enough area for delivery vehicles and other equipment to perform their duties safely and securely. You’ll also need to ensure that any limited-access locations have minimum height and width clearance for the truck, trailer, and shipping container before placing your order. Roads leading to your business location or private property will also need to accommodate truck and trailer clearance. They must be suited for heavy vehicles regarding road weight limits, road conditions, road grades, overhanging objects, and turning radiuses. At US Conex, we’re here to help you prevent any delays or setbacks in your shipping container goals by being fully prepared ahead of time. From consultation to site inspection, we offer a range of services to help you determine the optimal site and schedule for your storage container delivery.

Minimum Clearance A shipping container will require a specific minimum clearance depending on its length and the delivery trailer type.

20ft Shipping Container

  • 100ft Straight Line Clearance: This applies to roads leading to the drop site and at the drop site itself. With a 20ft shipping container, our truck and trailer will require at least 80ft straight line clearance to be able to unload the unit.

  • 14ft Vertical Clearance on the Road: Roadways leading to the drop-off site should be free of any overhanging obstacles with a minimum of 14ft vertical clearance at all times.

  • 12-14ft Width Clearance.

  • 16ft Vertical Clearance at Drop-Off Site

40ft Shipping Container

  • 125ft Straight Line Clearance: A minimum of 100ft straight line clearance is required during the delivery of a 40ft shipping container.

  • 14ft Vertical Clearance on the Road: This includes all sections of the road leading to and at the drop-off location.

  • 12-14ft Width Clearance.

  • 16ft Vertical Clearance at Drop-Off Site

​​Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279


Avoid Difficulties and Delays by Preparing for Shipping Container Delivery with this Simple Checklist

A big part of the work involved with shipping container drop-offs is being prepared. When your location is well-suited for drop-offs, storage, or transfer of shipping containers, the process can be completed in just 1 hour or less. Having a suitable drop site will also ensure that the container is not damaged or compromised during storage. It also makes its removal much more efficient in the case of future transfers, alternative uses, and resale. Here’s what to consider before ordering a shipping container to help save time and avoid safety risks, equipment damage, or delivery cancellation.

☑ Short-Term or Long-Term Site Preparation?

Depending on your goals, your site may require short-term or long-term container storage preparation. Long-term storage or permanent use typically requires additional steps to ensure the container is not damaged or compromised over time while being conducive to your goals. Please get in touch for more information on the difference between long-term and short-term site preparation.

☑ Delivery Vehicle & Trailer Clearance

Drop sites without sufficient clearance can make it difficult or impossible to perform container drop-offs. For successful delivery and future logistics, ensure that your drop site offers enough clearance to maneuver the vehicle, trailer, and shipping container into place. Learn more about shipping container delivery clearance.

☑ Level Ground

The drop site and surrounding area should be on level ground to ensure secure delivery vehicle access and container placement. It is also necessary to create even weight distribution across all four corners of the shipping container. Land that is not level can make it difficult for delivery vehicles to get into position and lead to container damage due to uneven weight distribution resulting in pinched doors, bent corners, and other defects.

If the ground is not naturally-level, it can be modified with stone pavers, blocks of wood, gravel, or railroad ties under the corners to create even weight distribution.

☑ Drop Site Ground Surfaces

Shipping containers can be dropped off on any surface that is firm, level, and dry. Drop sites will ideally have an asphalt or concrete space prepared for shipping container drop-off. However, surfaces such as compact dirt, gravel, and even grass may be suitable — provided that they are level, safe from weather, and offer even weight distribution and support. This will ensure that the shipping container does not sink or move when in position. Surfaces such as sand, soft dirt and muddy grounds are not recommended as it may result in container shifting, sinking and damage.

☑ Drop Site is Free of Debris and Obstacles

Make sure your storage container drop site is free of rocks, tree stumps, branches, or any debris that can cause an inconvenience or equipment damage during your storage container drop off.

☑ Drop Site is Free of Safety Hazards

Apart from sufficient vertical and horizontal clearance, the drop site should also be free of any safety hazards such as low-hanging wires, cables, branches, and equipment that may pose risks during drop off. In the case of limited visibility, crews can rely on spotters to help them navigate the vehicles and container into position.

☑ Weather Conditions

From transportation to drop-off, a big part of successful delivery is

keeping ground surface conditions in mind.

To prevent difficulties and delays, it’s important to plan your shipping container

delivery around weather forecasts that may suggest suitable surface conditions.

Bad weather may result in snowy or icy roads and surfaces,

muddy roadways and grounds, flooding and soft soil that may

lead to difficulties and delivery cancellation.

We’re here to work with you and determine the quickest,

safest and most optimized delivery schedule for your location and needs

☑ Being Ready

Another important step to not overlook is simply being ready for delivery day. Make sure that your neighbor residents or businesses are informed about your delivery and that no vehicles, equipment, or other obstacles are in the way. You’ll also want to ensure that you or a representative is onsite at the time of arrival to avoid delay fees. Your contact phone number should be available at all times before and during delivery to prevent miscommunication or other complications.

If you are unsure about your shipping container drop site, it may be wise to have a backup drop site just in case. If the delivery crew considers your drop site unsafe or otherwise unsuitable, they may request that your shipping container be dropped off elsewhere. If you insist on an unsuitable drop-off location, you may be asked to sign a waiver for any damage or other setbacks that may be incurred during unloading.

​​Easy Shipping Container Delivery | USCONEX | Start by Getting a Quote or Call 1-813 393 1279

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