Container Handler

A container forklift, what exactly is that? Within logistics, containers are used every day to transport goods. This can be done by land (trucks, trains) or by sea (container ships). Container storage and transshipment is involved in all transport options for containers. Storage means that containers are unloaded from ships, trains or trucks and stored at a designated area. Container transfer means that a container is 'transferred' from one form of transport to another. And for this, a container forklift is indispensable!


What about the container forklift?

The term 'container forklift' does not actually exist. Within the logistics industry, this type of forklift truck is called an empty container handler or a reachstacker. In fact, it comes down to the same thing. It is a forklift truck, from the heavy machinery category, which is used for picking up, putting down and stacking sea containers.

But why then two different types of forklifts for the same application? The differences are as follows:


  • An empty container handler is used for the storage and transfer of empty sea containers, obviously. These type of machines do not have the lifting capacity to pick up loaded containers. Most of the time the empty container handler uses a hydraulic clamping system or a spreader with twist locks. It lifts containers from the side or top.
  • A reachstacker is used for the storage and transshipment of loaded sea containers. This type therefore has more lifting capacity (up to 45 tonnes) and is capable of picking up, moving and stacking filled containers. This always happens with a so-called spreader, with which containers are picked up from the top.


Kalmar container heftrucks

When talking about a container forklift, then the name Kalmar will often be mentioned. This brand is very well known within the international world of container handling. Reliability and economic lifespan are of paramount importance to the Swedish brand. It is therefore not surprising that many terminal operators around the world make the safe choice of a Kalmar Reach Stacker or Kalmar Container Handler.

Kalmar Empty Container Forklift at Containerdepot


Buying a container forklift

If you are going to buy a container forklift, it is important that you keep a number of things in mind. First of all you will have to make the decision whether you need an empty container handler or a reachstacker. If storage or transhipment only contains empty sea containers, then it is best to use a empty container handler for this. If it is also - or even primarily - intended for working with filled containers, then a reach stacker will be the most sensible choice.

In addition, it is also good to think about the capacity of the forklift and the method of purchase. The Kalmar product range varies in lifting capacity and stacking height. There is a suitable solution for every situation and demand.

You can of course choose to buy a container forklift. This is particularly interesting when the machine is going to be used intensively for a longer period of time. If you do not want to release capital for a large investment, then Operational Lease or Financial Lease is also a possibility. When you are looking for a solution in the short term, renting a forklift may be the better option. Of course there are also plenty of options for this!