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Your Shipping Container Door Questions Answered

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Shipping container doors
March 9, 2023
minute read

Everything from shipping container door dimensions to how to remove them for your next modification

Here at Larnec, we’re asked many questions about shipping container doors. Why? Because it’s our specialty! We’re the go-to experts for personal access doors and modifying shipping container doors.

So if you’re looking to purchase new shipping container doors or are having trouble with your current doors, then this is the article for you! We answer the most common questions we receive about shipping container doors - that’s everything from weights and height to access, installation and removal. Read more below.

Shipping container door access

How to open shipping container doors?

Opening large shipping container doors can seem daunting, but pretty simple. Each door has two lock rods, vertical rods and bar systems - which must be released before the door can be opened. The lower locking bar must flip up and slide upward to unlock it. The upper locking bar must be unlatched by pressing down and forward on the two handles.

After both bars are unlocked, the door should swing freely open. It should be noted that the locks must be replaced after the container has been opened and securely locked again when closing the doors. These steps are necessary to ensure that the contents of your unit remain secure while they are being stored or transported inside the container.

Can other doors be added to modify a shipping container?

The simple answer to this question is yes! We see a lot of clients wanting to add personal access doors to modify their shipping containers. Whether you’re looking for a custom personal access door or security door, we have a range of pre-hung, 4-sided door jamb door options for your modified shipping container.

Can I install an access door inside a shipping container?

Installing an access door inside a shipping container is certainly possible and can provide convenience during loading and unloading operations, as well as protection from the elements while items are being handled. Although it requires specialty components to ensure the container door is properly sealed against water ingress, once installed, there should not be any significant issues with maintaining a secure environment.

Why are shipping containers modified with access doors?

Shipping containers are modified with access doors to improve the efficiency of transporting goods. The built-in doors allow workers to quickly and safely get in and out of the container when loading or unloading items without using cumbersome openings, ladders, or other potentially dangerous equipment. Furthermore, these doors also help contain valuable items inside the container while they’re being transported and provide easy access when verifying inventory status or custom inspection seals. Companies throughout industries like construction, mining, agriculture and retail rely on shipping containers with access doors as an efficient and secure way to transport their valuable goods.

How to remove shipping container doors?

If you need to remove the door of a shipping container, you should always take safety and caution seriously. Removing shipping container doors only takes a few simple steps and will vary slightly depending on the door type. 

Begin by inspecting the hinge pins and fittings on the door, ensuring all fasteners are disconnected - if any are damaged or missing, replace them with compatible parts before continuing. Take extra care when attempting to manually lift the entire door out of its frame as it may be heavy; try to get assistance from another person if possible. 

Once removed from the frame, put the door on a flat surface in an area with enough room for handling. Finally, clean off any rust or dirt that might have gathered on the hinges so they can be reinstalled without damage.

Weight and dimensions

How wide is a shipping container door?

Shipping container doors vary in size depending on the type and dimensions of the container.

  • Standard-size shipping containers usually have double cargo doors that measure 2.3m x high by 2.2m wide. 
  • High cube containers increase the interior height by around 30cm, so their double doors measure 2.6m high by 2.2m wide. 
  • Refrigerated containers tend to come with an additional swinging door measuring a little smaller, between 1.75m and 1.95m in height and width, depending on the manufacturer. 
  • Personal access doors for shipping containers can be customised to meet your needs.

It should be noted that these measurements do not include door frames or seals, which add another 2-3cm extra. Shipping container doors are designed to be vibration-proof and watertight, making them suitable for transporting goods across countries and climates.

How much does a shipping container door weigh?

Shipping container doors typically vary in weight depending on the size of the container. Standard ISO containers with double-door access weigh around 150kg each. The bigger the container and door size, the more they will weigh. 

For example, a 12m high cube container with an extended door height from 2.5m to 2.8m can weigh as much as 270kgs per door – over 50% heavier than an average. With all this differentiating weight range in mind, shipping companies need accurate intel when transporting containers and their heavy doors.

For personal access and security doors on shipping containers, these can weigh anywhere from 30kg - 40kg.

Number of doors

How many doors do shipping containers have?

Shipping containers are an essential component of international shipping, and as such, various standard sizes and configurations can be found depending on the needs of a particular shipment. Generally speaking, most standard shipping containers come with two doors: One at either end to load and unload the interior cargo. 

These doors are usually corrugated—that is, they have small ridges along their surface that make them more structurally sound—and they open outward and slide up and down in a track system mounted within the frame of the container walls. A few oversized containers may also feature easy access points such as pass-through side doors or removable tops, but this depends on what is being shipped and how it will be loaded into the container.

Do shipping containers have doors on both ends?

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes and designs. Most containers contain an access door on one end to allow easy access for loading and unloading cargo. However, some containers have doors on both ends or have been modified with additional doors on the opposite end to offer greater convenience, depending on the need.  

Depending on the type of container, these doors may be large enough for a forklift to pass through them easily, or they may feature the same standard door that can be opened and closed by hand. 

Is there a limit to how many modified doors can be added to a shipping container?

When adding modified doors to a shipping container, it’s important to consider the limitations when retrofitting the space for other uses. You’ll want to ensure that the container can still hold its load securely and remain structurally sound under the new conditions, as well as whether additional weight from any modifications, such as extra doors, may impact its capacity significantly. 

While there is no limit to how many doors can be added, it is generally best practice to refrain from overwhelming containers with changes that may compromise their functionality or strength. When in doubt, consult an expert, like our team, to ensure your modifications adhere to all relevant criteria and regulations.

Find shipping container doors at Larnec 

If you're looking for easy-to-install personal access shipping container doors, then Larnec is the answer. We offer expert advice for those who want to modify their shipping container doors and can meet any door requirements. Visit us online today to learn more about our shipping container doors, or speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members, who will be glad to help you find the perfect solution for your needs.

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