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Containers need to be moved around a wharf, but are heavy and can weigh up to 35 tonnes.  A forklift moving them around and stacking them must be very heavy, so that it does not tip over. Forklifts can stack containers five high. Such big forklifts are called reachstackers.

A forklift picks a loaded container up at the corners using a spreader and special twist locks to keep it in place. Forklifts can be fitted with other attachments, so they can be used to move logs, coils of wire and other materials.
Some of the jobs of forklifts are to:

  • Move containers on and off trucks and rail cars
  • Move containers to storage areas or to the crane
  • Stack containers in storage areas
  • Move cargo on pallets on and off ships with ramps (roll-on roll-off ships).

Image supplied courtesy of Port of Melbourne Corporation.

When containers are stacked one on top of the other, special twist locks can be placed in between so the containers can be locked together.

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