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