A type of machine that is specifically used to unload and load heavy, huge freight containers is referred to as a container forklift. They are used to shuttle freight on and off truck beds, trains and ships. Container forklifts are the biggest and most durable types of forklifts made. They need to be very maneuverable on uneven terrain and have enough torque and power to safely raise bulky containers. Usually, they have heavy-duty diesel engines and big pneumatic tires.
Like all kinds of forklifts, a container forklift utilizes forks to lift the containers. Forks must be positioned to ensure the load is secure during transport. Various container forklift models are only designed to raise the containers a few meters off the ground. Other container handlers use another method for carrying containers to greater heights. A container handler uses an apparatus affixed to the front of the vehicle to clamp down on either end of the container like jaws. The machinery is counterbalanced with weights to be able to maintain stability.
Lifting and transporting containers is the main purpose of a container forklift. Standard forklifts do not have enough reach for working in ports. The forks are rated based on the maximum weight they could handle. The capabilities of the forklift must never be exceeded and should be posted prominently in the cockpit.