When your warehouse receives shipping containers, it’s possible that your loading dock will be unavailable for unloading the containers. Your facility may also lack a loading dock, which would make it difficult for you to complete the unloading or loading processes in an efficient manner. If you find yourself in this situation, you could use a shipping container ramp to further streamline your shipping operations and bridge the gap between the ground and floor of the container.
The right ramp should be able to support the weight of the equipment you use as well as the weight of the shipment load. When placed in the correct position, this type of ramp makes the unloading process much more efficient.
These ramps can be lifted from the support bracket when they aren’t in use for convenient storage. The numerous benefits associated with shipping container ramps include everything from better versatility to more stability. This article shows you how shipping container ramps can streamline your shipping operations for good.
The Different Types of Shipping Container Ramps
The three primary types of shipping container ramps include stationary ramps, mobile ramps, and forklift ramps. Each type of shipping container ramp is meant to be used with different projects and applications.
Stationary Container Ramps
Stationary container ramps are designed to be installed near the shipping container. These ramps usually have a capacity that ranges from 5-15 tons and can be used in facilities that don’t have a loading dock. The main issue with this type of ramp is that larger ones can’t be quickly moved from one location to another.
Mobile Container Ramps
Mobile container ramps are outfitted with wheels that allow them to be transported to any location in your warehouse with ease. These ramps reduce the duration it takes to complete loading and unloading tasks, which can save a considerable amount of time and money while also improving safety.
Mobile container ramps are typically available in several different sizes, which means that they can accommodate numerous applications. For instance, smaller ramps can be used with dry van loading and container truck operations. Larger ramps have higher weight capacities that allow for heavy equipment to be taken over the ramp. Heavy-duty mobile container ramps can withstand loads of up to 40,000 pounds.
Forklift Container Ramps
Forklift ramps provide warehouse personnel with a safe and simple way to navigate from the ground to the shipping container. These heavy-duty loading ramps are designed to deal with heavy loads that are a combination of forklift equipment and the items that are being loaded or unloaded.
Forklift ramps support weights of around 15,000-30,000 pounds, which ensures that they can handle large forklifts. These ramps are routinely equipped with numerous safety features, which include serrated grate decking for perfect traction, a safety chain that secures the ramp to the trailer, and dock plates that accommodate safe exit and entry.
Benefits of Using Shipping Container Ramps
The shipping container ramps you select for your facility should provide you with numerous benefits depending on the exact projects and needs that the ramps are used for.
These ramps eliminate the gap between the ground and the container, which makes it easier for your equipment to load and unload items. Efficiency is also improved with the inclusion of forklift slots, which allows larger ramps to be moved to another location via a forklift. Manual labor isn’t required to pull or carry the ramp, which saves time.
Ramps come with a lip plate along the front end, which can be positioned on the bottom edge of the container to create a seamless connection. Once this connection is made, stability should be easy to maintain when using a hand truck or forklift to perform the moving process. You can also be confident that the goods won’t shake or fall during transportation. By taking this approach to loading and unloading operations, it’s easier to maintain worker safety.
Keep in mind that these ramps are also considered to be highly stable. Before you use a container ramp, make sure that you connect the fixed chains to the container, which allows the ramp to be firmly secured before you start loading and unloading items.
Shipping container ramps also provide you with enhanced versatility because of the different types of ramps at your disposal. For instance, stationary ramps can be as small or large as you need them to be. If the main piece of equipment that you’re using is a small hand truck, you can select a portable loading ramp that supports up to 750 pounds.
Even larger ramps offer more versatility with the inclusion of collapsible functionality. Some ramps can be folded into a smaller version that can be moved and stored without taking up an ample amount of space.
Using shipping container ramps in your warehouse should help you reduce operational costs. By making it easier for employees to complete loading and unloading tasks, you’ll effectively save time. Higher efficiency also results in lower costs.
How to Choose the Right Shipping Container Ramp Solution
There are several considerations that you should take into account when you’re searching for the right shipping container ramp for your facility. Before you do anything else, make sure that you identify the types of equipment that your personnel will be using to load and unload items.
Do your personnel more commonly use hand carts, pallet jacks, or forklifts? All three of these tools have different wheel sizes, weights, and applications. If you’re only set to unload items with a hand cart, you’ll benefit from a light-duty ramp that doesn’t need to span the entire width of the shipping container. Having a smooth-traction surface shouldn’t jostle the wheels.
If you commonly load and unload with pallet jacks, you’ll likely need to obtain a relatively large or heavy-duty ramp that comes with a much higher weight capacity. Depending on the application, consider selecting a ramp that spans 35 inches or more to effectively accommodate forklifts. Since pallet jack wheels are relatively small, the ramp’s surface should have a diamond plate or grit traction, which should be enough to accommodate smooth movement.
When you use a forklift for heavier shipments, consider a ramp that has heavy-duty weight capacity and a punch plate surface. The majority of forklifts weigh around 8,000-10,000 pounds. You should add together the forklift weight with the weight of your heaviest load. In this scenario, you may need to select a ramp that supports at least 20,000 pounds.
You should also take time to measure the container’s floor height. The majority of shipping containers come with a ground-to-floor height that ranges from six to eight inches, which means that the ramp you choose should be designed for the right height.
From here, you should review the connection point options at your disposal. There are several ways that container ramps can be connected with the edge of a container. However, not every option will be right for you and your warehouse. Certain ramps come with cut-outs that are positioned around and over container locks, which means that they are only able to be used in that specific position.
There are other ramps that are outfitted with a lip that clears the lock entirely. These ramps don’t need to be placed in a single location around the container. Some ramps are made to be situated on the container edge, which bypasses the locks. These ramps will be equipped with chains that you can use to lock the ramp in position while it’s in use.
Make sure that you also take portability into account. If you believe that your personnel will be moving the ramps you purchase via manual labor, look for a ramp that’s able to handle the exact weight capacity you want while also being light enough for easy transportation. When your team prefers using a forklift to transport heavier items, choose a ramp that comes with fork-holds for simple portability.
An additional factor that you should consider involves deciding what type of traction surface is suitable for your equipment and climate. These surfaces can be anything from a grit-coated surface to a punch plate. The ramp you choose should be able to withstand the weather that occurs in your area. For drier climates, you might want to select a fine surface coating.
In comparison, grit coating holds up well when it’s raining. As for diamond plate, it’s highly popular among warehouse owners that expect to use their ramp in all weather conditions. These ramps have anti-skid characteristics. Another option is punch plate, which will provide your forklifts with more traction during icy or snowy conditions.
Why Choose QMH?
Here at QMH, we want to help you improve the productivity and loading/unloading efficiency in your warehouse. Whether you need to choose a storage solution or a shipping container ramp, our team will work with you to identify your goals and determine what the best solutions are. Call us today to find out more about how your warehouse can benefit from shipping container ramps.