International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China

Container Chassis: What is it and Do You Need One?

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Container chassis are trucks that are built specifically to carry containers. There are lots of ways to use container chassis, including the transportation of goods and the transportation of passengers. Generally speaking, “container chassis” refers to trucks that have been converted only for transporting containers, but trucks may also be built with custom chassis designed for that purpose.

A chassis is a frame that has axles and tires connected. In many cases they can come with GPS and weight sensors. The good thing about a container chassis is the fact drivers don’t have to offload it first. These days it is easy to ship containers with the added features of GPS trackers and LED lights. Shipping containers offer a simplified way to transport goods. 

There are different types of chassis for example a standard one will get you transporting a 20- and 40-foot container. If you are needing to move something bigger than 40 foot and over the 36,000 to 44000 pound limit then you need to opt for a tri axle chassis. You need to know the weight and size of the shipping container in order to get the right type of chassis for your needs. A chassis can take containers through ports warehouses and terminals.

Do I Need to Use a Container Chassis?

A container chassis gets your goods moved safely and quickly without hassle. A container chassis helps keep your goods protected when transporting them Let’s looks at some benefits that a container chassis offers.

An attachment of the containers to the chassis is effortless and safe. As a result, unnecessary movements of containers are prevented, making shipping safer.
Fast and affordable: Multiple containers can be loaded simultaneously, resulting in a fast and cost-effective operation.
Most of them are constructed from relatively light components, but they can carry a lot.
Various types of chassis are available. The variety of options available to companies depends on their needs.

Chassis Types Commonly Used for Shipping Containers

Let’s start with the most common types. Here are the features they have and how you can use them.

Chassis for Tilting Containers

Using a chassis that is specific for tilting containers is important as they are made for loading and unloading the containers. The tilt chassis has a few features such as a hydraulic system and a lower and upper frame. On all tilting chassis you will find a roller that connects the upper and lower frame. Tilting containers are perfect for items such as raw grains as all you need to do is tilt the container and the grains slide out. The drawback of this process is the cost. The cost is higher but if you want the ease of use then this is the option to choose.

Common Chassis

The common chassis is just basic and does not include any features. This chassis does not contain any tilt functions and it will need a crane to load and unload it. For containers between 20 to 45 ft this type of chassis is perfect for you. The drawback of using a common chassis is the extra fees for the overhead cranes. Although you will get the security of knowing the items will arrive safely.

Container Chassis that Extends

An extendable chassis is a great choice as it can work with any container sizes.  It has the benefit of being able to extend from the back allowing for bigger containers without a problem. If you often have different sized containers, then this is the option to go with as you can change with the extender when you need to.

Important Information: Functions and Measurements

After explaining about the types of chassis and what they are used for we can now discuss more about them in detail. Such as their features, dimensions and purpose.


When it comes to chassis sizing there are plenty to choose from and it will depend on what you need to ship as to what size you get. These are the current sizes available:

20 ft chassis
40 ft chassis
45 ft chassis
48 ft chassis
53 ft chassis

There are tire laws and regulations in some countries that you need to abide by. Some regulations for instance are require an even distribution of tires on the trailer. You will need to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations to avoid any fines, extra fees or a chance your shipment cannot be fulfilled.

What Can a Container Chassis Be Used for?

The uses for a container chassis are huge. Let’s talk about the common uses for a container chassis.

Disposal and Storage

On-site storage and distribution can also be done with container chassis, like in areas where mobile or temporary storage is needed, in places like engineering, farming, and relief efforts. Storage and distribution chassis can be customized, with shelves, lights, and climate controls.

Intermodal Transportation

Intermodal transportation is when shipments are moved via different methods like sea, air and truck. Container chassis makes this process easier as there is no need to unload the products when the cargo is changed over to a different shipping method.

Transportation and Logistical Services

Container chassis is common and an important process in the logistics industry. The container chassis is used to move products to warehouses and distribution centres from terminals and shipping ports. Container chassis fits ISO containers which are used for raw foods and industrial equipment.

Decide What You Need One For

Knowing what the chassis is going to be used for can help you choose which one is suitable for your needs. Some chassis containers are designed for a certain function such as moving tanks will require a chassis that is designed for the tank shape. This ensures it is secured properly and won’t move around.


The next category you need to think about is the design and functions of the chassis. If you are only needing to transport lightweight items, then going with a lightweight chassis would work.
If you are looking at stackable items, then a gooseneck can help with that.

Which Type is Right For You?

It’s important to make your decision based on your specific needs. 


If containers are the only thing that you move, then opt for a flatbed chassis as it can be used for dual purposes. For containers you only need a basic chassis that can transport containers. Tilt chassis is perfect for when you need to unload cargo at a certain place and no other equipment is needed so you avoid the extra fees.

Now when it comes to the weight capacity each chassis has a weight limit and this is all due to the axle that it has. For standard containers without a huge weight amount you can get away with a 2-3 axle, but more is needed the more weight you have.

Costs You Need to Consider

There will be cost differences from the basic chassis to a specialized one. For example, a tilted chassis will cost more than a basic one. Ensure you work out what you need first so the costs can be estimated to give you an idea of what you are looking at paying. 

Costs will differ in some cases and places will differ in price to others. Costs may be higher than they were a few years ago as they are in short supply, so prices are expected to rise.

Here is an estimate of what you could be looking at paying:

20 ft container chassis in the price range of $6500 to $13000.
40 ft container chassis is between $10,000 to $15,000.
45 ft container chassis is around $10,200 to $15,000.

If you require containers to transport the items in, then let us know as we can help you find the right container for your needs and budget. We have various types and can help direct you to the one best suitable for you.

Renting or Buying Which is the Best Option?

You can either rent or buy the chassis. It will depend on the requirements needed and how often you plan to use it. While buying is cheaper in the long run it will require a substantial lump sum up front to pay for the chassis. If you plan to ship often then buying is the more appropriate option. For those who want modifications then buying is the only option as with leasing you cannot modify the container chassis. If you own one outright and there is a shortage then you won’t be affected. With renting you may not be able to get one when you need it due to shortages.

Can You Convert a Container Chassis to a Flatbed?

The answer is yes, it is possible but it’s not an easy process or one that people get excited to do. To do this you will need a flatbed kit. In most cases a fifth wheel coupling is added and a hitch up the front. 

You can then drag the cargo up into the truck bed and then tie it down. Some hitches are installed on the back, but aftermarket ones can be found on the bumper. The drawback is it will take some time figuring out just where to mount the coupling. You need to ensure it’s low enough, so your vision is not interrupted but it also needs to be high that when you are carrying a heavy load it is not going to bottom out on you.

Why is There a Chassis Shortage?

Unfortunately, the world is seeing a shortage of things and that includes container chassis. So many businesses rely on the container chassis that’s how we get items around the world. When goods cannot get to market it doesn’t just affect that one business or the receiver but also the whole supply chain.

The shortages haven’t just been seen in chassis’s but also the containers as well. So far there has been a backlog of chassis components in the last two years so manufacturing orders have been hard to fulfill on time. There is a shortage of microchips dating back to 2021 which has then led to assembly plants shutting down within the vehicle sector. 

The production of container chassis has not developed much within the last few decades, but freight volume has grown drastically. The demand for chassis capacity is huge due to the rise in demand for freight and bigger container ships which is why the capacity for chassis are low.

With a limited port chassis, we are seeing a huge amount of cargo just sitting around on the wait list to be transported. The overall supply chain is now affected.

Another downside that encourages the shortage is the fact the chassis is often used as storage. While they are storing goods, they are not available to be used for transporting goods.

The Chassis Use Charge, What is it?

This is another fee that you need to consider when it comes to transporting your goods. When the company MAERSK left the business, many others had the same idea. The only option left was to either rent or buy so the trucking companies then ended up with an extra charge.

You are expected to pay for a chassis usage fee when using the ocean carrier’s equipment. The point of this is to motivate companies to have their own to avoid paying those charges. An attempt was made to try and help the shortage by using the common chassis pool for delivery.

Not every carrier will charge the chassis fee so check the costs involved when enquiring about transporting your goods and the fees at the receiving end. These fees are found in the US but can be incurred in other countries too.

How does a container chassis help logistics?

Container chassis can lower the price of transporting goods as you can stack items up. They are also durable and speed up the shipping process.
Let’s look at how they can benefit you.

It is an easy and cost-effective way to move items from one place to another.
You have flexibility with the weight of the goods.
Items are protected from the harsh weather and chassis offers stability.
Goods are delivered in the same condition as they were received. 
Ease of use for unloading and loading items.
Goods can be transported to different countries.
What are the Detention and Demurrage Fees and How You Can Avoid Them
Dealing with everything that comes with chassis renting and buying can be a struggle. When there are delays there are fees to deal with to. You have the detention fees, congestion-surcharges and the consolidation fees to consider. We are a company that tries our best to help you avoid as many extra fees as possible.
The good thing about our company is that we have both users and suppliers and many shippers owned containers that can be found in 2,500 locations.
We offer greater flexibility and help you choose the best for you. All you have to do is tell us what you want and when and we do our best to make it happen. We do our best to keep the carrier fees as low as possible.


Using a container chassis helps to transport your goods safely and efficiently. Chassis works to keep everything in order and reduces how much the shipment moves around during transport. Container chassis are an important part of the transportation sector. They are made to move cargo containers with all sorts of products. There are many weight capacities and sizes to choose from and without it there wouldn’t be an affordable option to transport goods over long distances.