Main Blog How to Prepare a Site for Shipping Container Delivery

How to Prepare a Site for Shipping Container Delivery

November 30, 2021
Coast Containers

Shipping containers come in many types and sizes to provide different storage solutions for various industries. Often we forget to consider that the shipping container foundation is a crucial part of preserving the lifespan and quality of your container. 

Let’s dive into the important details of preparing a site for shipping container delivery.

The Importance of Shipping Container Site Preparation

It is important to know how to prepare an area for shipping container delivery before we deliver because you want to protect the container’s quality and the land surrounding the container. Ensuring the foundation for shipping containers is sturdy and durable will prolong the life span of your sea can. 

Placing your container on soft ground soil can result in the container sinking slightly into the ground or degrade the exterior due to a moisture build-up underneath. Luckily there are many ways you can prepare your site to support the base of your sea can, which we will dive into after we discuss how important access to your container is for delivery and unloading.

In most cases, we provide you with a few different delivery options. A 20’ STD shipping container can be delivered to your location of choice by a 20ft truck, small tow truck, a pick up with a tilt deck trailer, or a crane truck by request. If your container is delivered on a tilt deck truck, you will need to ensure our delivery vehicle has the following space requirements:

  • Minimum width of 14 feet. All containers are on a 12-foot wide deck, requiring a minimum of 1 foot on each side for the truck to back in and out of the location.
  • Maximum height of 18 feet. The deck will be lifted upward to a maximum height of 18 feet before being placed in position.
  • Minimum straight-line clearance of 65 feet. Straight-line clearance is the length of the truck, deck and container.

40ft shipping container foundation requirements are significantly larger than 20ft containers and require a much larger space when delivered. Delivery for a 40ft container will need the following to ensure the truck has enough room for maneuvering and positioning:

  • Minimum width of 14 feet. All containers are on a 12-foot wide deck, requiring a minimum of 1 foot on each side for the truck to back in and out of the location.
  • Maximum height of 18 feet. The deck will be lifted upward to a maximum height of 18 feet before being placed in position.
  • Minimum straight-line clearance of 110 feet. Straight-line clearance is the length of the truck, deck and container.

4 Container Site Preparation Tips

Site Location

Determining where you want your container delivered starts with ensuring our truck has access to back in and place the container without any obstructions. Our drivers will need enough space to maneuver and position your container. The area must meet the height, width and straight-line clearance specifications for the chosen container size to guarantee a successful delivery. 

Ground Conditions 

After choosing the location, you will need to start prepping the area for the shipping container. Portable containers are most commonly placed on a sturdy surface such as a driveway, residential street, gravel surface, concrete pad or wooden platform. Suppose you are simply placing the container on firmer soil or a gravel foundation for shipping containers, you will need to level the ground and potentially compact the ground underneath. If the ground is not level, you will need equipment and machinery suitable to flatten and compact the surface. It is recommended that your container is slightly raised to allow runoff from rain and snow to escape from underneath. If you plan to build a more sturdy base for shipping containers than soil or a gravel foundation for the shipping container, consider using concrete piers, a concrete slab or wooden beams to support your sea can. 


Depending on your location, there are a few factors you need to consider to make sure you can access the content in your container easily, such as: 

For smaller location sites such as a driveway or beside a building where one side of the container will be blocked, please inform us when you purchase your container the direction you want your door facing. 

If you require frequent access to your container, you should consider placing the sea can near your home or worksite. This will ensure you are not taking unnecessarily long trips to your container, especially during the long winter months. 

Finally, your container site should have a clear path not only for delivery but so you can access it by vehicle and have room to clear snow away in the winter. 

Make Sure There Are No Obstructions

The final crucial step in your shipping container preparation process is to ensure no obstructions preventing delivery. Obstructions can affect the delivery and placement of your sea can, including powerlines, parked vehicles, branches, construction and more. Since our trucks may require 65 feet or 110 feet of straight-line clearance upon delivery, you will need to ensure your site is clear of materials and objects that could affect the delivery process before our drivers arrive to avoid any additional delays.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Type of Foundation

Concrete Piers

Concrete piers for shipping containers are a foundation option that is most affordable and convenient to install. Concrete piers are created from concrete blocks that can be placed in the shape of your container size. Each pier will be placed underneath all four corners of the container, and we recommend placing two in the middle for a 40ft container to provide additional support. The weight of the container will keep these concrete blocks in place while leaving space underneath the container between the ground to leave space for water runoffs.  

Concrete Slabs

Concrete slabs are another foundation type that is ideal for long-term shipping container placement. Pouring a concrete slab on your property is the most effective way to protect the quality of your container long-term. This foundation is ideal for people who plan on keeping a container on the slab for years to come. 

Wooden Platform or Beams

A wooden platform or beams can also be a supportive foundation for your container.  Four beams can support each corner while raising the container off the ground, and we recommend putting gravel underneath to reduce moisture and leave space for rain and snow runoff. This foundation type is suitable for lighter containers stored for a shorter period. 


We hope you enjoyed our tips and methods on how to prepare an area for shipping container placement. These tips will help prolong the lifespan of your container while ensuring your delivery runs smoothly. If you are looking to purchase a shipping container, Coast Containers would be happy to assist you with finding the best type of container and size for your needs. We have many locations across Canada for you to choose from that offer new and used containers!

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