How To Stack A Shipping Container The Safe Way

Are you wondering how to stack a shipping container the safe way?

We get a lot of questions from customers about shipping containers here at Southwest Mobile Storage and ensuring that containers are stacked correctly is a popular one.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to stack a shipping container the safe way, the proper way to do so, and why doing it safely and correctly is so important.

How to Stack a Shipping Container the Safe Way


First, why would you ever need to stack a shipping container?

If you’re only using one shipping container, like for storage, it’s not necessary to stack containers on top of each other.

However, if your project requires more than one container, such as a business pop up shop or container home, stacking containers becomes an important part of the building process.

Shipping Containers Stacked Safely
Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Making sure that your shipping containers are stacked in a safe way ensures that containers are able to handle the weight of each other and whatever is in the container.

The great things about shipping containers is that they are built for stacking.

Stacking process

When shipping containers are traveling on a ship, they are stacked on top of each other. This is done using heavy cranes and other machinery.

If you look closely at the corners of any shipping container, you’ll see what is called a ‘corner post’ or ‘corner casting’.

These corner posts are what allow for containers to line up and lock together.

The locking mechanisms on shipping containers helps to prevent them from slipping across the deck of a ship.

The stacking process is similar when using containers on land.

Here’s how to stack shipping containers the safe way:


1. Make sure you’re stacking on level ground

You should always make sure that you’re placing your shipping container on a level surface. This is especially true if you plan on stacking them.

A level ground surface can help the container stay in place.


2. Use the right machinery

When stacking shipping containers, it’s important that you use the right machinery to make sure they are stacked correctly.

Cranes or fork lifts are the best equipment to stack shipping containers. It’s also important that you have an experienced crew and operator to operate them.


3. Secure the container locks

Shipping Container Locking Mechanism

Corner posts/castings allow for containers to stay still when on a ship.

When using containers on land, twist locks are used to keep containers locked together so they can’t move.

Once the shipping containers have been properly stacked together, use the twist locks to hold them securely in place.


4. Add additional elements

Depending on your building project, you may want to use additional elements to keep stacked containers secured, especially in harsh weather.

Items like caulking, flash metal guards, and block caps help to protect stacked shipping containers from weather elements like rain or snow.

Why Stacking Safely is Important


We’ve looked at situations where stacking shipping containers would be relevant and we’ve looked at a few tips on stacking those containers safely.

But why is stacking shipping containers in a safe way important?

Container Restaurant

Safely stacking shipping containers prevents accidents, from workers helping to stack the container to the people and businesses that will be using them.

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sets guidelines for stacking materials, including shipping containers.

These regulations include height requirements or restrictions and stability factors. Again, this is to ensure the safety of everyone involved in working with stacked containers.

In this article, we discussed how to stack a shipping container the safe way and why you would want to do so.

Southwest Mobile Storage has dedicated and certified staff, engineers, and personnel that are trained in stacking and customizing our shipping containers.

Our containers are personally delivered by our staff to the location of your choice and we can help you choose which of our many containers will work for your project.

Give our offices a call at 800.686.9114 and our expert staff will help or answer questions you might have.