Live Unload The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Live Unload: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

Let’s look at some of the fundamental aspects of live unload in shipping industry.

If you have any question on live unload, you will find the answer right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is A Live Unload In Shipping?

Live Unload is also referred to as rapid unload. A term used in the shipping industry refers to offloading a vessel transporting cargo in a shipping container.

Here the trucker waits for the container to be unloaded on-site instead of dropping and leaving.

S/He then returns the empty container to the container yard at the port.

 Unload in shipping

Unload in Shipping

When Should A Live Unload Be Arranged?

Consider Live Unload:

  • If your goods are in low volume.
  • Suppose the cargo can be unloaded within 2 hours. Most truckers offer 1-2 free waiting hours.

When the 2 hours’ elapses, they charge an additional fee on an hourly rate (approximately $75 per hour), reflecting on the quote or invoice as a trucking wait fee.

  • If your cargo is fragile hence needs to be handled with care under supervision.
  • Also, if you have palletized cargo and the warehouse has forklifts, the unloading process will take the shortest time possible.
  • If your goods are perishable, hence they need to be offloaded faster before going bad.
  • If the goods are valuable and need to be inspected after then live unload should be arranged.

How Does A Live Unload Work?

Live unload occurs at the delivery point. First thing first, you need to schedule for a live unload early in advance.

I think it is best done in the morning because of the fresh energy we humans have.

The trucker arrives at the warehouse at the specified time. S/he has a specific unloading dock or garage door.

The process of unloading is supposed to begin immediately after the driver pulls up.

Well, it’s not always the case. The driver is expected to stick around and watch as the container is being emptied.

Depending on the contract signed, the driver may or may not be paid during the first two hours. However, the first two hours are mostly free.

Drivers charge if you exceed the 2 hours.

You pay according to the driver’s prorated hourly rate. Meaning the price may differ among drivers.

Live Unload highly depends on the staff at the warehouse. If they have facilities and equipment such as lifting devices, the process can even take 30 minutes.

The type of cargo you have also determined how fast or slow the process may take.

For instance, if you have palletized cargo and forklifts at the offloading point, the process will be quick.

After a successful offloading process, the trucker leaves the site with an empty container to the container yard or proceeds to the next pick-up point.

Live Unload can be tedious and a burden to the drivers.

Especially if there is a schedule mismatch if they get delayed at the warehouse, which may affect their next delivery.

How Much Space Do I Need for A Live Unload?

Here are the dimensions of a 20ft high cube container.

Dimensions of shipping container

Dimensions of shipping container

 You need the following amount of space:

  1. Enough space for the truck to drop the container.
  2. Tilt-tray trucks are mostly used to deliver cargo. You need:
  • A slightly levelled area,
  • 5m of high clearance
  • 3m of width clearance
  1. Roughly 20m in a straight line from where the container is placed down

A side-loading truck is best for a limited space.

What Is The Difference Between A Live Unload And A Drop And Pick?

Both are truck delivery options; however, they are different.

Live Unload is where the driver drops off the container at a warehouse. Waits for the container to be unloaded, leaving the empty container at the port or the next delivery point.

Drop and pick, on the other hand, is self-explanatory. The driver literary drops off the container at the warehouse then picks another empty container before leaving.

It’s cheaper than a drop or lives unload. The driver doesn’t have to make another trip to the warehouse or wait for the truck to be unloaded.

Nevertheless, it’s convenient if you normally receive containers after a few days.

 Drop and pick

Drop And Pick

How Does Live Unload Vs Drop And Hook Compare?

Drop and hook is the same as Drop and Pick, so don’t get confused.

Here is the difference between the two:

  • Live Unload. The driver has to be physically present to watch the offloading process. While Drop and Hook, the trucker doesn’t have to supervise the offloading of cargo.
  • Live Unload, the trucker waits for the container they came in while the driver picks a different one in Drop and Hook.
  • Drop and hook are cheaper as the driver doesn’t wait for the container to be unloaded. Also, it doesn’t go back to the warehouse for the container; s/he picks and leaves.
  • The container doesn’t have to make a schedule in Drop and Hook, unlike in Live Unload.

How Long Does It Take To Unload A Shipping Container?

It depends on the content in the container.

If it’s palletized cargo and there are lifting devices like forklifts and skilled manpower. It can be unloaded in less than an hour on average.

For loose cargo in different sizes and shapes, most warehouses take 3-4 hours for a normal 800-1200-unit container.

Non-standard cargo takes an entire day. Availability of material handling gears and skilled manpower can help speed up the process.

Unloading container

Unloading Shipping Container

Do I Need To Rent A Ramp For A Live Container Unload?

Yes, you do. Depending on how often you need to use a ramp, you can hire or purchase one.

Ramps are very important. They help

  • Avoid double handling of cargo
  • Are relatively cheap to purchase
  • Are mobile hence can move along the site
  • Can quickly set them up

Ramps helps you run a forklift from the ground up to inside the shipping container while the container stays on the truck.

Stationery ramps can be fixed into position. You can also use mobile ramps to move around the site.

The only downside of ramps is they take too much space, and it’s dangerous to run forklifts up and down.

What Other Equipment May Be Needed For A Live Unload?

Apart from a container, truck, and a trucker, the following equipment is required for Live Unload to be successful:

  • Cranes
  • Forklift
  • Ramps
  • Shelves
  • Bins and drawers
  • Racks
  • Telescopic boom conveyor.

What Are The Considerations For Unloading Sensitive Or Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous or sensitive goods can be in solid, liquid, or gas states.

The hazardous effects they can cause can be either minimal or fatal; hence they need to be handled with care:

Here are tips you need to consider while offloading cargo:

  • Make the staff aware they are handling dangerous cargo. Yes, even if the goods have been labelled. This will remind them to wear protective gear.
  • Don’t drop them off the trucker; they may explode. Handle them with care.
  • Don’t place them next to others, especially if they are different goods that can react when they come in contact.

What Are Some Tips For Unloading A Live Container Quickly?

Time is valuable, especially where money is a factor.

Here’s how to quicken the unloading process:

  • Ensure the container is placed on a levelled surface.
  • Unload the container directly into the garage.
  • Have enough manpower to assist; the more the merry.
  • Liaise with the warehouse management before arriving so that they get ready to unload after you pull up.
  • Choose a site that is free from people and vehicles to avoid damages and accidents.
  • Install battery-powered lights inside the container for cargo to be seen clearly.
  • Consider using lifting devices and equipment such as sloppy ramps to ease the process.

How Do I Find Lumpers For A Live Container Unload?

The process of unloading cargo highly relies on manual labour. Therefore, you need lumpers. Contact the freight unloading services near you.

They will provide fast and accurate offload services.

What Are The Benefits Of Hiring Professional Container Unloading Services?

Professional container unloading services come with the following pros:

  • They are reliable.
  • Reduces the possibility of product damages; you are sure of safety.
  • Are fast hence reducing truck waiting fees
  • They are cost-effective depending on the company you select
  • They ease the offloading process.
  • Use of automated offloading systems and equipment provides workers with safe working conditions
  • They create an organized working environment.
  • They maximize the space available.

Container unloading process

Container Unloading Process

What Are The Considerations For Unloading A Shipping Container?

Below are some tips you need to consider to have a successful offloading process:

  • Make a schedule with the warehouse to create space for you and be ready to receive you.
  • Ensure the offloading space is a levelled ground.
  • Slowly and carefully open the container door just in case the goods moved or shifted during transit.
  • Put on the lights so that the offloading crew can see through the container.
  • Be on the lookout for any risks and adjust your strategy if the conditions change.
  • Instruct your workers on the safety procedure they need to embrace.
  • Hire enough skilled manpower.
  • Use equipment like cranes, forklifts, vertical container lifts, etc. Use a mobile ramp around the site.
  • Ensure your workers have safety gear, especially while handling dangerous cargo.

What Are The Key Hazards Associated With Unloading A Shipping Container?

They include:

  • The container is placed on uneven ground.
  • Lack of enough lighting to allow offloading of goods.
  • Loose items that were not secured adequately during transit; hence some fall from the height.
  • Unpalletized cargo.
  • Loose items that force the door open or that fall on the offloading crew when they open the container door
  • Unsafe systems applied during the offloading of cargo include:
  • Having congestion around the working area that may cause accidents.
  • Ignoring risks associated with slip, trip or falls
  • Failure to provide information of the content in the container, whether it’s dangerous or overweight.
  • Failure to manage chemical spillage inside the container
  • Ignoring risks that may occur as a result of exposure to fumigation chemicals in the container.
  • Lack of facilities and equipment in the warehouse that force the workers to carry heavy items in awkward positions.

How Do I Control Risks During A Live Container Unload?

You can control or eliminate risks during Live Unload by:

  • Liaise with the unpacking crew to ensure they are fully prepared.
  • Consult with the other site users before offloading the container on the ground.
  • Consider the container pathway before it arrives. Get rid of any obstacles like overhead power lines etc.
  • Choose a levelled ground for unpacking. Ensure the space is enough to open doors and offload.
  • Check the stability of the container. If it’s situated at height to access a loading dock, lower the landing leg of the trailer.
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in and around the container for operating plant and offloading.
  • Consider the environmental conditions on-site. Whether it’s raining, sunny, the area is well ventilated, and whether or not it’s safe for workers to work there.

Does Cargo Insurance Cover Lost Or Damage During A Live Unload?

No, it doesn’t.

There are different types of cargo insurance and types of policies.

The responsibility for securing the cargo is divided between the shipper, consignor, packer, driver, and the carrier.

Loss or damage is subjected to general average, fire, accident, entry of seawater in the vessel, etc.

It covers something that has happened that was not expected. Therefore it doesn’t cover damage or loss that may occur during Live Unload.

The party liable will take care of that.

How Do I Ensure Cargo Is Safely Packed For Transit And Unloading?

Here are packaging tips you need to put into consideration:

  • Don’t underestimate internal packaging. Use air cushion and bubble wrap on fragile cargo. Tape the edges of the internal box.
  • Fill any empty spaces in the box to stop goods from moving. Band the goods together using tape.
  • Use double-walled boxes on the exterior. If your using recycled boxes, ensure they are inside out to cover the label of the previous shipment.
  • Label your cargo, i.e. whether it’s dangerous or fragile so that they can get the special treatment they deserve.
  • Consider creating or palletizing heavy cargo.
  • Choose a container with fastening straps to fasten your cargo.

Is There A Minimum Time Requirement For Live Container Unloads?

Typically, it takes 1-2 hours to offload a 20ft container.

However, the process of offloading can take 30 minutes or even less.

It all depends on the type of goods you have, manpower, and equipment available.

What Are The Alternatives To Live Unloads?

We’ve learned all about Live Unload. If it’s not your cup of tea, your carrier can offer you alternatives.

You can unload your container from one of the depots.

The carrier will then transport the container directly to the depot, where it will be waiting for you to unload.

Most trucking companies offer several days’ unload time and can also provide fair storage rates.

For all your shipping from China, BanSar is here to help – contact us now.

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