A container forklift is particularly designed to unload and load huge, heavy freight containers. They are used to transport freight off and on trains, ships and truck beds. Container forklifts are the most durable and biggest kinds of forklifts manufactured. They need to be extremely maneuverable on terrain that is uneven and have enough power and torque to safely raise large containers. Typically, they have large pneumatic tires and heavy-duty diesel engines.
Like all types of forklifts, a container forklift uses forks to be able to raise the containers. Forks must be positioned to ensure the load is secure during transport. Several container forklift models are only designed to raise the containers several meters off the ground. Other container handlers utilize another method for carrying containers to greater heights. A container handler uses a device attached to the front of the vehicle to clamp down on either end of the container like jaws. The machinery is counterbalanced with weights to maintain stability.
Carrying and transporting containers is the main purpose of a container forklift. Standard forklifts do not have sufficient reach for working in ports. The forks are rated based on the most weight they could handle. The capabilities of the forklift should be posted prominently in the cockpit and should never be exceeded.