A container side lifter is a type of specialized semi-trailer that is used to hoist and transport standard containers over long distances. Also known as a container side loader, this trailer is basically used for container transfer.

It comprises of lift modules or cranes that are installed to the trailer chassis. These lifting components can also be fitted onto a sub-frame usually mounted on a truck.

The lift modules for the trailer are usually made of quality and proven high-tensile steel needed to provide enough strength capabilities.

They include outstanding features like the wide reach stabilizer jibs and leg controlled through a hydraulic unit that can either be powered from power take off (PTO) system of the tractor or from an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU).

The lift modules can easily slide smoothly inwards or outwards for 20’, 40’ or 45’ positions.


Learn the capacity, dimensions and specs of container side lifter/loader


There are dimensions and specs of container side load trailers. The container side lifter trailers have 37T-45T capacity. You can learn more details in the sheet.


Item Unit Parameters
Lifting Performance Max. lifting capacity kg 37000
Max. working range mm 4000
Max. stabilizer outreach mm 3200
Weight Curb mass kg 14500
Mass of sidelifter kg 7250
Maximum gross mass kg 40000
Dimension Outline dimension of semi-trailer(L×W×H) mm 14100×2500×4000
Outline dimension of sidelifter(L×W×H) mm 1020×2500×2490
Wheel base mm 8000+1350+1350
Track(front axle/rear axle) mm 1820/1820/1820
Front overhang / Rear overhang mm -/2370
Approach angle/Departure angle ° -/13
Engine Model —— Kubota V2403-M-DI-E3B-CSL-1
Power/rotation speed kW/r/min 36.5/2600
Emission standard —— Off-road, Euro III


1. Types of Container Side Lifters


A conventional container slide lifter is a typical inline model installed with a stabilizer leg inline and lifting jibs. Other models have a dual side loader supplied together with either dagger leg or leg-over stabilizers.

Container side lifters can also be categorized based on the design of the chassis such as:

  • Lattice Chassis– this is the original design that is very unique in nature. It is the most preferred standard type of design. It has a very low tare weight and at the same time offers great strength.
  • I-Beam Chassis – this was introduced to provide customers with another optional chassis benchmark. As a result, customer can choose this type based on their needs and comparisons to the other.
container side loader drawing

container side loader chassis drawing 

Get Detailed Specifications!

Contact us


2. Container Sidelifter Design Features


A side lifter is made up of the following features:

  • Lifting Cranes– also known as crane modules. These are hydraulically powered cranes that lift the cargo/container either from the ground, another vehicle, a loading dock, a railway wagon or straight from the top of another container placed on the ground from any other platform as listed above. Lifting is possible on and off the chassis. The cranes are normally located at the top of the Sidelifter Chassis and are usually able to move along the chassis that is being shifted through the hydraulic motors or the hydraulic cylinders in order to load different container and cargo lengths.

container side lifter drawing

  • Driving Power Unit– typically, the cranes are powered through a trailer mounted diesel or gasoline engine. However, the cranes can also be powered through a PTO from the tractor or the truck.
  • Stabilizing Legs. These are hydraulic legs that are used in the lifting of a fully laden shipping containers while keeping the vehicle in position. They prevent the vehicle from tilting. The stabilizing legs can be adjusted to aid operations on uneven ground and enhance greater margins of safety and load limits when stacking the containers. The legs can be extended and tilted to provide extra capabilities when containers are lifted in confined locations such as on trailer decks.
  • Chains. There are chains attached from the upper part of the cranes to the corner castings at the container base when performing lifting operations. There is a special connecting device that when placed between 20ft container makes it possible for the user to lock together two 20ft containers. This allows the side lifter to haul them as though they were one 40ft container.
  • The Cab/Tractor. This is used to pull the trailer. In some scenarios, it supplies power via the PTO. This accessory also supplies compressed air for the brakes in the wheels of the side lifter. Usually, the side lifter cannot be operated without connecting it to the tractor. This is so because even though the power pack is carried by the side lifter, the tractor provides the much-needed compressed air for use on the trailer brakes and also extra stability during the lifting operations. 
  • Chassis. The chassis is an important construction. It manages the weight of the loaded cargo/container. More than that, it supports the cranes. 
  • The Remote Control. This is a device that is operated with buttons and joysticks and are basically attached through a multi-pair electric wire or through a radio signal. This allows the driver operator to move around the container and have a view of the unit from different angles when conducting the lifting operation.

Wireless remote control


3. Container Sidelifter Design Considerations


A container sidelifter trailer is designed for various productivity gains. The main ones as will be discussed extensvely herein include fast, safe and flexible container handling operations.

At the end of the day, you will be able to cut down on transportation expenses, increase your profits and have a competitive edge.

Most importantly, these sidelifter trailers will increase your capacity to move many more containers through quick and safe operations.

This is an innovative design that enhances efficiencies, saves time and ultimately increases productivity. Below are detailed design considerations used in the building of a  container side lifter. 

  • Container transfer – the process of transferring a container from a side lifter to a flat-topped or skeletal truck is straightforward. When the stabilizers are extended, there is sufficient room for the chosen trailer to back into position under stabilizers during loading. If not, the stabilizers can be let low once the flat-topped or skeletal trailer has been positioned alongside. Normally, there is more than 300mm clearance present on each side of the transferring trailer.

container swing lift drawing

There is a faster turnaround time from the beginning to the end. The process is also faster even when the side lifter is already loaded with a container.

Load can be transferred to a Quad axle trailer linked to a four-axle tractor without the need to jack knife the adjacent truck and the Quad axle trailer.

Most importantly, the lift modules do not need to place the stabilizer legs on the adjacent trailer for purposes of stability. The container side lifter can handle containers of up to 9’6’ high.

  • Stability– the container side lifter has a wide span for the stabilizer leg and the outboard jib pivot that provides quick and safe operations even under difficult settings. Due to this high stability, the side loader is in a position to lift a considerable weight of up to 45 tonne balanced containers even under undesirable conditions. The center of container gravity is about a meter within the stabilizer support line. This is the most stable position you will ever find in the market. However, there are other options that have the center of container mass outside the stabilizer support line. This makes the set up less stable.

The leg-over design is normally lauded for its greater stability when compared to other leg designs that extend downwards in a triangular manner from the lift modules.

The latter acts as pivot points that can sometimes tip the container side lifter over when loading heavy containers.

  • Control– container side lifter can be remotely controlled using a radio remote control. The compact, user-friendly control operated using one hand and composed of a handheld pushbutton control unit enhances safe working conditions for the operator. With the control system, you can move both the lift modules using a single button operation using tow depression levels at quick speeds for a fast operation. Still, you can control a slow speed when doing accurate and precise positioning of your containers. You can also get a fully proportional control system that comes with a handheld toggle remote control system that makes it possible for the operator to directly manage the direction and speed of the crane movement.
  • Working Space – the container side lifter gives you the possibility of working in limited space conditions. The original leg over option has particularly been designed and proven against failure during both loading and offloading operations in restricted spaces. Through this capability, you can easily place your container against a wall.
  • Payload carrying capabilities– the range of container side lifters available in the market can give you side lifters that can manage a great payload capacity to work on your job faster. This is made possible through the ultra-high-tensile chassis and lift modules that are lightly-designed and well-engineered in a remarkably low tare weight.

Get Drawings!

Contact us

4. Benefits of Using Container Side Lifters


Owing to the design considerations mentioned above, listed below are the benefits that can be attained through the use of container side lifters.

container sidelifter

  • It gives you a chance to make many container movements per day. You can safey transfer conatiners to the ground in a matter of minutes. This increases efficiency and poductivity.
  • No many operators and equipment are required in the lifting operations. The trailer driver can offload the container in a matter of minutes on his own and can comfortably move 20ft and 40ft containers using the same equipment piece. No extra personnel or equipment are needed. This makes your operations cost-ffective.
  • The conatiner side-lifter is a tough constructiion that makes it a reliable equipment with minimal maintenance requirements. It is capable of handling container movements on any type of terrain and that incudes on a low cost dry terminal.
  • It can safely handle fragile, valuable and hazardous cargo. Differentiated cargo can easily be loaded and offloaded without messing up with any of them. The sidelifter action allows you to safely place your containers on the exact location as required to facilitate ease of access during loading and offloading as needed.
  • You can transport your containers anywhere and anytime via road. The ability to operate independently without requiring support of other equipment during loading and offloading operations makes it possible to transport containers by road.
  • Double stacking containers. Now that they can work well in restricted space areas, the container side lifter can safely and quickly stack fully loaded 20ft and 40ft containers on top of each other.
  • Operation costs- With the container side lifter, costs of operation are greatly reduced. This is so because the container and not the trailer is normally left with the customer. In many occasions, the customer stays behind with the trailer, which is an unproductive way of using an equipment. For the container side lifter, it is productive throughout the day loading, transporting and offloading containers from one job to the other.
  • A container side lifter can be used to transport many other cargo other than just the containers. It can handle industrial equipment, specialized containers such as portable buildings, fuel containers and so on.

More Details!

Contact us

5. Loading Applications of a Sidelifter Container


The container sidelifter is arguably the most cost effective and versatile piece f equipment for handling containers on the ground.

container swing lift

This type of equipment gives you the option of delivering and retrieving your containers with a desirable precision and accuracy. As a result, the container sidelifter can transfer loads safely to places of convinience.

It could be at transportaion depots, rail yards or any suitable rail siding.

You can use a container side lifter to other trucks, trailers or offload it on the ground. You can also use it to double-stack the containers on these laoding platforms.

The container loading and offloading taking place on the ground reduces risks of injuries. There is no waiting time since there is no other machinery needed to facilitate the lifting.

The need for ground preparation using other type of machinery is completely eliminated.

This saves you a lot of money for operations and again saves considerable amount of time for manufacturers, importers and distributors.

A sidelifter is therefore considered by logistics companies, sole transport operators and fleet managers as the most cost effective equipment.

sidelifter trailer




Sidelifter equipment were designed to taken on a maximum weight of 45 tonnes. However, continued innovation and development have seen recent designs take up to 47 tonnes.

All the same, there are smaller versions of this equipment that can take lighter loads where a lighter tare weight is needed. The operator has quite a number of options when working with this equipment.

They can tilt the chassis through the use of the stabilizing legs that offer an ability to work on uneven ground.  This can be done as the operator controls the lowering and raising of the cranes too.

Most important to note is the telescopic chassis of the side lifter also known as trombone chassis. This type of chassis allows the unit to contract and expand to make the desired room for accommodating a 20ft, a 40ft or a 45ft container.

The trombone chassis units are particularly applied for small secondary roads that do not have sufficient room for cornering especially for 40ft trailers.

  • Thank you for your inquiry
    Our engineer will reply you in 12 hours

  • Thank you for your inquiry
    Our engineer will reply you in 12 hours

  • Thank you for your inquiry
    Our engineer will reply you in 12 hours

  • Thank you for your inquiry
    Our engineer will reply you in 12 hours

  • Thank you for your inquiry
    Our engineer will reply you in 12 hours