Need a Rail Car or Shipping Container Loading Solution?

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Do you move your product by rail car or shipping container? Loading and unloading rail cars or containers are often done with IC forklifts. Carer electric forklifts have revolutionized the rail car and shipping container loading industry.

In the pulp and paper shipping industry, applications operate high hours over many shifts. They use high energy consumption clamp attachments. The development of electric forklifts for these applications was challenging.


Rail cars and shipping containers are space restrictive. They demand a forklift solution that can navigate accordingly. The forklift needs to have a very small footprint, short turning radius, and a low overhead guard to enter containers. These high use, multi-shift applications, often use clamps that consume a lot of energy to operate. They need forklifts with a 10,000 lb to 15,000 lb lift capacity. This requires up to 40% more in fuel consumption costs. More heat, exhaust and sound is created, that operators are forced to contend with day after day.

IC forklifts have been loading and unloading rail cars and containers for decades. Manufacturers have struggled trying to develop a solution that would overcome application challenges. How could a propane forklift overcome heat, exhaust, and sound, and keep up with high demands?

It would then seem, the ideal solution for these types of environments would be an electric one. Electric forklifts were not a viable solution in these applications. The battery power output was unable to keep up with the energy consumption demands. Companies would not consider an installation where the operator would need to change batteries. Penalties with holding up rail car movement would be too costly. The size of the lead acid batteries required made the forklift too large to fit in small spaces.

An electric solution was needed for the rail car and shipping container industry. The battery power system needed to keep up with the high energy usage applications. It was important that there was no need for changing batteries.

With these challenges in mind, we have designed and launched the KR55H2-Short. This was created to overcome the ongoing pain points these industries have had to withstand.

Carer Electric Forklifts has been manufacturing electric, high lift capacity, forklifts since 1976. Distribution for Carer in North America is out of Seattle, WA and Vancouver, Canada. The distribution centers include full parts inventories and technical support. The department of engineers at Carer represents 40% of total staff at Carer. Their goal is continuous development of new electric forklifts. The engineers have accomplished this goal. Now companies operating IC forklifts in the rail car industries can save money. They are also eliminating harmful exposure to carbon emissions.

A Carer KR55H2-Short electric forklift has a smaller footprint and similar power output. It can also operate in all weather conditions. It is designed for multi-shift applications operating up to 6500 hours per year. This reduces fuel, maintenance, and labor costs. It also eliminates carbon emissions, and generates almost no sound or vibration.

This particular Carer chassis is a winning alternative to the IC solution. It is the modern-day upgrade to the standard boxcar forklift. The Carer KR55H2-Short comes with a lowered overhead guard and is designed to access containers and rail cars. The high voltage operating system has very efficient energy consumption. They come with lithium batteries for high daily operating times. There is no need for spare batteries. Operators will enjoy a significant reduction in fuel expenses.

The lithium battery power system eliminates the need to change batteries. The high output battery charger supports excessive energy requirements. From loading and clamping over multiple shifts. the battery will last 6500 hours per year. The lithium batteries need no maintenance, no battery watering, and no facility ventilation. They will operate for beyond the useful life of the forklift without needing to be replaced. The batteries meet all safety certifications for industrial applications and can be recycled at the end of life.

Operating the KR55H2-Short will provide cost savings. We typically see a 12 -24 month ROI for most rail car and container loading applications. The financial justification is an easy decision for most financial directors. The comparison of an IC truck to electric only considers fuel savings. In reality, a more realistic ROI would incorporate the following:

Total current monthly operating cost analysis (for diesel forklifts) includes:
• Capital costs (extended depreciation and internal cost of funds)
• All repairs and maintenance costs
• Intangible costs (emergency rentals, freight, down time, administration, etc.)
• Energy (diesel) consumption cost (today and forecast future costs)
• Costs associated with unproductive labor (fuel tank refilling)
• Tire replacement

Total forecast monthly operating costs (for electric forklifts) include:
• Reduced utilization through elimination standby idle time
• Capital costs (extended depreciation term and internal cost of funds)
• Reduced repairs and maintenance costs
• Reduced intangible costs
• Energy (electricity) consumption costs
• Costs associated with unproductive labor – limited battery maintenance
• Reduced tire replacement costs

When looking at the challenges that face any industry, eliminating extra expenses is key. At Carer, developing new and innovative solution is what we do. The KR55H2-Short is a perfect example.

Need a Rail Car or Shipping Container Loading Solution? was last modified: July 7th, 2020 by Carer Forklifts