How to load a car in a Shipping Container

car wheel secured in containerThis guide will help you load a car in a shipping container securely. Not only do you need to ensure it is secure for the duration of the shipment (while at sea) but also when the container is being loading or unloading at the ports. In this guide we cover chocking and strapping – the most popular way to secure a car in a container.

When loading a car in a shipping container we suggest you use ramps to load the car and get it over the container lip step and into a central position. Follow your usual procedure for parking up, then chock all 4 wheels. Chocks can be made from wood, but you can purchase specifically designed metal/plastic chocks if necessary. Chocks must then be screwed to the floor – all of our CSC plated containers (new or used) come with a guaranteed good floor and eyelets perfect for shipping goods. Please be aware though: if you are using a shipping line owned container for your shipment, if you damage the floor they may charge you for any repairs.

Once the wheels are chocked securely, you should lash the wheels to the securing eyelets located at the bottom of the container side walls (position of the eyelets will be subject to the length and manufacturer of the container, but generally they are located in each corner and along the top and bottom rails of every container). If the shape of your car means that it is not appropriate or perhaps even possible to secure ratchet straps around the wheels, the car’s front and rear towing eyelets can be used to lash it securely in the container. It must be strapped in some way! If you are not securing a car but another vehicle follow the same principle.

Bear in mind the vast majority of cars will fit inside the 7ft 8 inc internal width of a standard shipping container, but with most cars you can’t drive them in and then open the doors to get out. Most customers will push the cars into the shipping container when loading.

car secured in container

One of the benefits of shipping a car in a container rather that using a RORO service is you can ship other goods along it such as spare parts or other goods required at destination. It is worth following a similar procedure to make sure any other goods are just as secure. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise at destination! This is a guide intended to help the reader and needless to say we will not accept any responsibility for any damages in transit or loading. The responsibility of loading remains with the individual. So again, please take care!


Its worth knowing when you load a car in a shipping container that ratchet straps have multiple size and strength options available. So ensure you get the right strap for the right cargo. Please have a look at our most popular shipping container ratchet straps and other shipping container accessories.

Budget Shipping Containers offer export spec containers in 3 main sizes. While a 20ft container is suitable for shipment of one car or 4×4, a 40ft, and especially a 40ft HC container, provides sufficient space for two average size vehicles so may be more cost effective if you have more than one vehicle to ship.

  • 20′ long x 8′ wide x 8’6” high
  • 40′ long x 8′ wide x 8’6” high
  • 40′ long x 8′ wide x 9’6” high (High Cube)

We have new and used containers available with CSC plates (typically a used container will be sold with a minimum 6 month CSC plate whereas a new container will have circa 5 years CSC).

We also offer shipping container bolt seals which are recommended by ourselves when exporting goods globally. They consist of an individually numbered bolt and cap. If the seal is tampered with or broken in transit, by recording the seal number before it leaves and checking it again on arrival you will be able to see if your container has been opened. If you ship your container with a padlock on it and customs want a look inside, they will break off your padlock, throw it away and replace it with a customs signified seal of their own. So in our opinion, rather than fitting a £40 padlock to get it cut off, a £5 bolt seal is more cost effective and more likely to stay on throughout your journey! However if you choose to ship your container without a seal, it will be accessible to anyone and everyone en-route. Please have a look at our bolt seal page, there are different quantities available so if you ship a lot, have a look at our ‘multi-buy- discounts.

Finally, if you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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