Can You Tow a Shipping Container With a Pickup Truck?

It’s a common question asked in the trucking industry – can you tow a shipping container with a pickup truck? The answer to this question is not so simple, as it depends on several factors. In this article, we will explore the possibilities of towing a shipping container with a pickup truck and what you need to consider before attempting it.

Towing Capacity of Your Truck

The most important factor to consider when towing a shipping container with your pickup truck is its towing capacity. This is usually printed on the side of your vehicle or in the owner’s manual.

The weight of an empty 20-foot shipping container can range from 1,800-2,400 lbs, while heavier 40-foot containers can weigh up to 4,500 lbs. Therefore, it is important that your pickup truck has enough power and torque to pull such heavy loads.

Trailer Hitch

Another important factor when considering whether you can tow a shipping container with your pickup truck is the type of trailer hitch installed on the vehicle. Most pickups are fitted with Class III or Class IV hitches which are rated for up to 8,000 lbs. However, some trucks may be equipped with weaker Class II hitches which may not be suitable for such heavy loads.

Tire Pressure and Load Distribution

When loading and securing the shipping container onto your trailer, it’s important that you pay close attention to tire pressure and load distribution. You want to ensure that your tires are inflated properly for optimal performance and safety while hauling. Additionally, make sure that the load is evenly distributed across all four tires so as not to cause any damage or put unnecessary strain on any particular tire.

Driving Conditions

When driving with a loaded trailer behind you carrying a heavy cargo like a shipping container, it’s important that you take into consideration the road conditions and traffic patterns. You want to avoid driving at high speeds or in congested areas where there are many obstructions or sharp turns which could cause damage or endanger other motorists.


In conclusion, it is possible for most pickup trucks equipped with strong enough hitches, proper tires pressure and load distribution system as well as taking into account road conditions and traffic patterns, can tow a shipping container. However, before attempting this task make sure you know exactly what your vehicle’s capabilities are so you don’t put yourself or others at risk.

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Stephen Dunn