Skip to main content
Get a quote
8124 1920x700 forklift straddle crane 3

How To Avoid Over Or Underloading Containers

Bison Group

13 Oct 3 Minutes



If you've ever had a container picked up overweight after it has shipped, it's an experience you won't want to repeat. The further from home the overload is detected, the bigger the financial damage.

Unwanted costs can include:

  • Returned container + freight charges

  • Third party stripping and repacking costs

  • Extra container hire and weighing charges

  • Delays and missed cut off times

  • Demurrage

  • Higher risk of accidents

  • Fines and penalties from affected parties

Given the risk of high one-off costs from overloading, it’s a natural tendency to underload the container. However underloading, even by a small amount, can be costly too.

  • Extra shipping costs

  • Lost revenue

Think, if you could safely increase the payload of each container by 10%, you would ship 10% less containers per year. If you shipped 200 containers in a year, at an average shipping cost of $3,000 per container, underloading by 10% costs your business $60,000 each year.

Another, less obvious cost of underloading containers is the negative impact on revenue and cash flow. Underloading delays sales and cash receipts and increases the cost of funding your business. This cost turns on the time value of money in your business.

But despite the costs of both under and overloading, containers are regularly loaded blind. All too often, you won’t know exactly when to stop loading and will simply use best judgment to estimate (or guess!) when the container is full.

How much is this costing your business? And how can you avoid these costs?

By optimising the container payload.