How-To Guide

How to Choose a Container Ramp

How to Choose a Container Ramp

For the discerning business who receives container shipments, sometimes none of your docks are available to unload your container, or your facility is not equipped with a dock at all. Yet your latest container needs to be unloaded as soon as possible. What can you do? The floor of the container is 6-8 inches off the ground, and you don’t want your forklift or pallet jack to jolt your shipment as it passes over the lip each time. The solution is simple – invest in a container ramp that can support the weight of your equipment in addition to the shipment load so that you can smoothly and efficiently move your product off the container and into your warehouse. In order to make an informed decision about the container ramp you need, consider the following factors:

1

Identify the equipment your team uses to load and unload

How are goods unloaded at your facility – with a hand cart, a pallet jack or a forklift? These tools differ in weight, application and wheel size. If you only unload using hand carts, your ramp can be lighter duty and it won’t need to span the full width of the container. A smoother traction surface such as a coat or a grit won’t jostle the wheels. Pallet jacks require medium to heavy duty ramps with a higher weight capacity, and the ramp will need to span at least 35 inches to accommodate the forks, with room to spare. Because the wheels on a pallet jack are smaller, grit or diamond plate traction surface will probably be sufficient for smooth movement. If you use a forklift and deal with heavier shipments, you’ll need the Mack-daddy of products; choose a ramp with a heady-duty weight capacity, as well as a tough punch plate or grit traction surface. Most forklifts weigh about 9,000 pounds, so when you calculate the weight of your forklift and your heaviest load, you might need to look for ramps that can support 20,000 pounds or more.


Measure the floor height of your containers
2

Measure the floor height of your containers

Most shipping containers tend to have a ground to floor height of 6 inches or 8 inches, so make sure that your ramp is designed for the correct height.


Review the connection point options
3

Review the connection point options

There are a few different ways to container ramps are designed to get snug with the edge of a shipping container, and not all of them will be a good fit for you. Some ramps have cut-outs that fit over and around the container locks, which means they can only be used in that position. Others feature a lip that clears the locks completely, and they are not limited to one location along the container. Finally, some ramps are designed to sit directly on the container edge, bypassing the locks completely, and come with chains that can be locked into position on the container to prevent the ramp from falling or slipping while in use.


Think about portability
4

Think about portability

If you anticipate moving your ramps using nothing but sheer manpower, you’ll want a ramp that can handle the load yet be light enough to transport easily. If you know that your team prefers to use a forklift to do the heavy lifting, select a ramp that has incorporated fork-holds for easy portability.


Decide what traction surface suits your climate and equipment
5

Decide what traction surface suits your climate and equipment

Although we touched on traction surfaces a little bit as it pertains to the equipment you’ll be using, it’s also important to consider the region in which your facility is located so that your ramp is suitable for the weather. Finer surface coating is best suited for dry climates, whereas grit coating will hold up well under precipitation. Diamond plate is well-known for its anti-skid properties in all weather, and punch plate will give your forklifts great traction ever in snowy and icy conditions.