So you just purchased or rented your first shipping container. It is offloaded from the truck and you are finally ready to utilize your new acquisition until you realize you have no idea how to properly open and close the doors. It might seem relatively simple to some, but there can be a few snags along the way if the process is not correctly performed.

It is important to note that the container must be on as level a surface as possible.  If it’s not on an even surface, you may be required to shim up a corner(s), to ensure the container is level.

Once the container is level, proceed with opening the right-hand door first.

CA Door


(1) Once you rotate the handle hinges (also known as catches) upwards you simply pull the handle up and then rotate them out and towards you or away from you (depending on the container) so they are perpendicular to the face of the door.

 (2) The long silver poles called locking rods that are attached to both handles and the cam keepers rotate and allow the door to open.

 (3) The cam keepers lock the top and bottom of the door of the container and seal it shut. Rotating the handles will disengage the keepers and break the seal. Once all of the keepers are disengaged you simply pull the door open and repeat on the opposite side.

The process gets easier the more times you are run through it. However, there can be some problems along the way that you want to eliminate before you begin. Always check for any torn or damaged gaskets (rubber seals around the doors), uneven surfaces, rusted door seals. Unevenly distributed weight within the container can also prove to be a headache.

We would be happy to help you with any other problems or concerns you might run into. Feel free to contact Container Alliance at (800) 386-2345 or

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