Ports and docks are unique environments and thus require specialised plant equipment. Exposed to the elements and needing to lift a variety of cargo and equipment, forklifts and reach trucks that operate on docks need to be particularly hardy.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of plant options for docks and ports. Reach stackers, forklifts and cranes all have their place on the dock.

What To Look For In A Lift Truck

First and foremost, the lift truck needs to be rugged. Big tyres for grip are essential for handling cargo in bad weather. Most work on docks happens outdoors so having a forklift that is designed to handle the stresses of wind, rain and frost is very useful.You also need flexibility. Cargo comes in all shapes and sizes, so having the right machine for the job will keep you operating a peak efficiency.Visibility is also important. A high cab and no obstructions to your view mean that operators can drive with confidence and accuracy. This will make your overall operation much safer too.

Reach stackers

reach stacker is a fast and efficient option for handling containers. Capable of lifting very heavy containers, a reach stacker can move single containers around on site, transfer containers between the ground, the stack, rail wagons and chassis and - depending on the model - stack up to 2 - 3 containers high and deep.

Reach stackers are automated and controlled from the driver’s seat without assistance from personnel on the ground.

The reach stacker has a number of benefits at its disposal. One advantage that it has is that because there is no mast at the front, this allows for better visibility. And because they are lighter, it can be argued that they have a greater capacity for flexibility. For example, a reach stacker can pick up empty containers with greater ease than a forklift truck.


General cargo terminals benefit from the versatility a forklift truck can offer. With different attachments, forklift trucks can be used in most cargo handling situations such as handling pallets, paper rolls, coil rams etc.

Most ports handle a variety of goods and we have gained success with our ability to offer great versatility, serviceability and safety.

Top Loader

Top loaders are a specially adapted forklift that lift shipping containers from the top and can stack containers in a single pile. They have many of the same characteristics as a reach stacker, in terms of their speed, automation and ability to move containers around.

Side Loader

Self loading trailers - also known as side loaders, swing lifts or side lifters - are a high capacity chassis that can lift, transport and transfer full containers to/from the ground or other chassis.This flexible equipment is ideal if you need to lift shipping containers in multiple locations. However a disadvantage of side loaders is that you also need a prime mover to operate the equipment. The container lifting apparatus weighs up to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb), which increases the tare weight compared with a regular chassis and can displace available payload.

At PHL, we stock a wide range of lift trucks suitable for a variety of environments. Explore our range right here.


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