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Why weight distribution is vital when loading cargo containers

Why weight distribution is vital when loading cargo containers article image

As this picture shows, during loading and securing cargos in trailers, train wagons and containers it is vital to take weight distribution into account to avoid damage.

A cargo container is designed to carry cargo. At the container’s outside it shows how much maximum weight it can take. During loading the strength of the loading platform (container floor) where the cargo will be placed should be taken into account.

The container floor is made from beams (lengthwise) with crossbars in between. Together these beams/bars form the frame on which the floor is placed. The floor is not designed for heavy selective loads.

Cargo weight should be evenly distributed over the entire length of the container floor.

  • A 20ft container floor, build accordingly ISO 668 standard, may be loaded with 4-5 ton/metre
  • A 40ft container floor, build accordingly ISO 668 standard, may be loaded with 3 ton/metre

If the ballast exceeds these numbers per metre, more beams should be placed lengthwise.

These beams cannot stick out from underneath both sides of the cargo by more than 1m.

If this still is not sufficient you need to find other means of transportation such as a flat rack, as the floor construction.

Also, while driving a forklift inside a container you need make sure not to exceed the maximum floor ballast according ISO standard 1496/1.

A forklift can drive inside a cargo container if:

  • The weight of the front axle (forklift including load) does not exceed 5.460kg
  • The contact surface meets a minimum of 142cm² per tyre
  • The minimum width of the tyres is 18cm
  • The distance between the wheels on 1 axle is 76 cm

There is a saying “cracking ice does not break”. However, when the ice starts to crack, the point of breaking comes very close.

So be careful you “don’t fall through the ice” while loading a cargo container and that the cargo weight is correctly distributed on the loading floor to avoid much misery.

More information about weight distribution inside containers can also be found in the CTU Code. You can also talk with a cargo restraint specialist. Besides weight distribution they can also advise you how to cost-effectively and safely secure your cargo.

Cargo Restraint Systems specialise in Cordstrap one-way lashing systems to secure cargo in containers, on flat racks or direct break bulk on ships.

For more information visit: www.cordstrap.com or www.cargorestraintsystems.com.au

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