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How to Open and Close Shipping Container Doors

By June 10th, 2020 Uncategorized No Comments

Whether using shipping containers for sale or a shipping container rental, knowing the proper way to open and close the doors is important. Understanding how the doors are built and a couple key steps to opening them will help. If the shipping container hasn’t arrived yet, preparing the location of the unit will avoid a ton of headaches. 

Level Land is Key

Before the storage container arrives, make sure the land is level. If the unit is dropped on an uneven surface, you’ll probably still be able to open the doors. However, closing them could be very difficult or not possible at all.  Placing a shipping container on a level, hard-packed surface like concrete, asphalt or gravel is ideal. If dropping a unit on grass or dirt, level that area as much as possible. Wood blocks under the container are always a good solution if you must place a container on uneven land. You may only need to level or shim up a corner(s) by an inch or two.

Before opening the doors, look at the black rubber gasket/seal around the perimeter of each door. That black line should be straight across the top. If one side is higher than the other, the container is most likely unlevel or “racked.” If the gasket is lined up, the shipping container is probably level and the doors should open and close without issues.

Steps to Open

Shipping container sizes can vary and operating the doors of a shipping container may seem easy.  However, injuries can occur when people use wrong techniques. 

Open the right-hand door first and follow these 3 steps:

  1. Rotate and lift the handle hinges upward. Pull the handles up, then rotate them out and towards you or away from you (depending on the container) so they are perpendicular to the face of the door.
  2. This rotates the long vertical silver poles called locking rods that are attached to both handles and the cam keepers.
  3. The cam keepers lock the top and bottom of the doors. Rotating the handle disengages those keepers and breaks the seal. The doors are now ready to open…simply pull. 

With some practice, opening a shipping container door becomes easier. 

Common Problems

Uneven surface, rusted door seals, torn or damaged gaskets, and uneven distribution of stored items are issues that can cause difficulty opening and closing doors.

When loading a container, pay attention to how the load is distributed throughout the container.  If the doors are difficult to close after the container is loaded, check how the stored items are distributed and move some items around to prevent any potential issues.

If the stored items are evenly distributed and you are still having trouble with the doors, check the corners of the container. Corners sinking in grass or dirt are a common problem when extra weight is added. In this case, shim up those corners until the container is level again. 

Depending on the condition of the unit, a shipping container may have some wear and tear from traveling around the world or withstanding extreme weather. Rust or warping of doors and lockrods may cause the container frame to be racked, preventing the gears from working correctly. 

If you would like to speak with us one on one, a container specialist is standing by to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to call us today at (678) 829-5902 or complete an online quote request.

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