Container handling solutions for the smaller user

Container handling solutions for the smaller user

The three main types of container handlers on the market today that are available for users in a low to medium throughput container handling environment are: the Reach Stacker, the Forklift and the Mini Straddle Carrier.

According to definitions a Reach Stacker is a vehicle used for handling intermodal cargo containers in small terminals or medium-sized ports. Reach Stackers are able to transport a container short distances very quickly and pile them in various rows depending on its access.


Reach Stackers have gained ground in container handling in most markets because of their flexibility and higher stacking and storage capacity when compared to Forklift Trucks. Using Reach Stackers, container blocks can be kept up to 4-deep due to second row access.

A Forklift or Forklift Truck similarly is a powered industrial truck used to lift and move materials including containers short distances. Forklifts are rated for loads at a specified maximum weight and a specified forward centre of gravity (as are Reach Stackers).


The definition states that an important characteristic of the forklift is its instability. The forklift and load must be considered a unit with a continually varying centre of gravity with every movement of the load. A Forklift must never negotiate a turn at speed with a load raised as it may tip over.

Forklifts are a critical element of warehouses and distribution centres. However these structures need to be designed to accommodate the efficient and safe movement of the Forklift Truck. In addition operators are required to be licenced to drive both Forklift Trucks and Reach Stackers.

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By comparison a Mini Straddle Carrier is designed so that the load is carried in the centre of the machine. The machine picks up and carries containers while straddling the load. Therefore the weight of the container does not affect the centre of gravity nor cause the weight on one axle to be higher than another.


Mini Straddle Carriers are gaining prominence in the market place due to the fact that they do not require licences to operate, they have lower wheel weights when compared with Reach Stackers and Forklifts and they are more manoeuvrable by comparison allowing for their use in much smaller operations where space is at a premium.

There are however varying models of Mini Straddle Carrier available and there are important differences between these to note, mainly when it comes to Point Loads.

Often when Point Loads are talked about, this is often confused with wheel pressure. Point Load is the total number of kilograms, and pressure is the kilograms per square centimetre. A machine with less wheels may have larger tyres to reduce the pressure that the wheels put on the ground surface, but the Point Load will still be very high. Another consideration is whether the Load Point is evenly spread out over all of the wheels, or concentrated on one Point Load like a Forklift or a reach Stacker.

Most yard surfaces are not designed to take the Point Loads of anything more than a transport truck, and therefore when a heavy machine that does not have low Point Loads carries a container across a yard, the large Point Load causes surface damage.

Now back to the Mini Straddle Carrier specifically, some Mini Straddle Carriers have 4 Point Loadss, some even have 2 Point Loads (3 wheels), but in order to minimise the risk of damage to your yard ALL of the Mobicon Mini Straddle Carriers have 8 Point Loads (the lowest point loads in the world).

Having the lowest Point Loads in the world is an outstanding feature of all Mobicons Mini Straddle Carriers allowing users to handle containers on yard surfaces that other container handlers such as Forklifts and Reach Stackers and even other brands’ Mini Straddle Carriers will damage with their large Point Loads.

By ensuring even distribution of weight over all eight Point Loads, the pressure in each area of the ground surface touched by the wheel of a Mobicon Mini Straddle Carrier is drastically reduced.

Definitions sourced at Wikipedia (sources listed within the site).

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