Understanding Container Chassis Types: A Comprehensive Guide

The container chassis is the backbone of a shipping container or ISO tank container’s portability, ensuring their safety and efficient transport between warehouses, ports, terminals, and wherever else they need to go. These wheeled metal frames also allow efficient container haulage as drivers move containers without needing to unload them first, saving considerable time and money. In short, they are essential to making the whole process of transporting cargo fuss-free and straightforward.

Read on as we dive deep into the purpose of container chassis and the various types they come in.

What is a container chassis?

A container chassis is essentially a trailer that accommodates various types of shipping containers and hooks onto a truck to facilitate movement. At its most basic, they consist of a steel frame with axle systems, tires, and nothing more. However, container chassis technology has significantly improved over the years, with some coming with additional features like LED lights, weight sensors, and even GPS tracking.

The axle or the long shaft that connects the wheels determines how much weight a chassis can hold. Most container chassis typically have two axles and can carry 20- and 40ft containers. At the same time, those with a tri-axle configuration can handle the same-sized containers but weigh above 36,000 lbs and 44,000 lbs, respectively.

Exploring chassis types

This guide delves into three key container chassis types, each tailored to specific cargo transportation needs:

1. Skeletal chassis

The skeletal type chassis is engineered to accommodate standard shipping containers, including sizes of 20 feet, 40 feet, or 45 feet. These minimalist chassis designs provide essential structural support for cargo. Loading and unloading containers onto skeletal chassis require overhead cranes. This design meets the practical and efficient demands of transporting standard-sized containers.

2. Flatbed chassis

Flatbed type chassis are ideal for transporting 40-foot or 45-foot normal shipping containers. These chassis streamline loading and unloading processes, eliminating the need for specialized equipment like overhead cranes. The flatbed design ensures swift, cost-effective cargo transportation.

3. Lowbed chassis

Designed to handle larger containers with non-standard dimensions, the lowbed type chassis accommodates 30-foot or 40-foot containers that are 10 feet or 12 feet wide. Containers measuring 30 x 12 feet or 40 x 12 feet may require police escorts due to their substantial size. The lowbed chassis meets safety regulations and transportation protocols for these larger containers.

What to consider when choosing a chassis

Choosing the container chassis for your needs will depend on your requirements. The following are the key factors to consider to arrive at the one that suits you best:

1. Industry-specific requirements

If you only intend to transport shipping containers, a chassis modeled after containers will serve you best. However, if you also plan on moving other types of cargo, it is better to opt for a flatbed chassis instead since it serves a dual purpose. Otherwise, if efficient loading and unloading are among your requirements, there is no better choice than a skeletal chassis.

2. Weight threshold

The number of axles on a chassis determines how much weight it can accommodate. For standard containers, a two- or three-axle chassis will be more than enough for your needs.

3. Cost

Carefully evaluate your requirements and container specifications prior to choosing a chassis. As mentioned earlier, specialized configurations will typically cost more than their barebones counterparts. Therefore, make sure you know exactly what you need to avoid paying for features that add no value to your project.


Chassis trailers in Singapore come in many shapes and sizes to transport all sorts of cargo. Given this abundance of options, it makes sense to do your due research first to understand what type of chassis you need to guarantee your containers and cargo stays safe and sound from point A to B. At OSG containers, we provide top-tier haulage services to ensure your cargo is transported safely and efficiently. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today for your container haulage needs.

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