Reach Stackers

You Hire can also offer Reach Stackers as an alternative Container Handling solution.

For most Container Handling operators it can often be difficult to know the difference between the operation of a Reach Stacker compared to the traditional Laden Container Handler. When looking at the differences between a Reach stacker and a Laden Container Handlers it is worthwhile to consider their operational features to compare the units.

Below is a general overview of the operational characteristics –


Reach Stackers can access a second row with a full container and handle light weight containers in the third row. Laden Container Handlers can only handle containers in the first row. Reach stackers when equipped with stabilisers (that cannot be fitted on laden container handler) can be used for extended reach applications such as second rail line loading/unloading.


Reach stackers are able to much more efficiently use stacking space in the terminal as it is possible to block stack containers up to 4 rows with a minimal impact on the number of shifts required to select any container in the stack.


On a Laden Container Handler, the mast is a “negative weight” which means the weight of the mast sits beyond the fulcrum (drive axle centre). This means that more Counterweight is required to effectively stabilise the machine. With the reach stacker the boom is a “positive weight” as it is behind the fulcrum (drive axle centre).

Reach StackerThis determines a completely different weight distribution between the two machine types.

This difference in weight distribution alters the ground pressures as well as the overall stability and speed of operation.


As a result of the above weight distribution, a Reach Stacker has a longitudinal stability that is far superior to the one of a Laden Container Handler.

When driving, which is the phase of the operation where the stability is most important and where typically the truck is at a higher risk of overturning  the Reach Stacker, which has the ability to “reach-in” and carry its load over its front axle enables a much higher stability factor than the equivalent Laden Container Handler.

Many engineering calculations have this stability variance as much as double.


The much higher stability in driving configuration enables a Reach Stacker to be a lot faster than a Laden Container Handler when performing load transfers. In short, the longer the distance covered in a working cycle the higher the productivity of a Reach Stacker.


Reach Stackers are equipped with a container spreader that is connected to the boom via a high articulation system:

  • The spreader has a side-shift ability of +/- 800 mm (against the +/-300 mm of the Laden Container Handler)
  • The spreader has a +190/-100° spreader rotation ability (against a +/- 3° on the Laden Container Handler)
  • The spreader has a dampened (and power controllable) load swing range of +/- 60° (whilst the Laden Container Handler can only allow 10° max load swing)

Reach Stackers can handle containers even with the chassis positioned at 45 degrees against the stack substantially reducing the stacking aisle and therefore making it possible to stack in areas that would normally be too narrow.

Reach Stackers can also rotate containers to position the door to the back of a truck without having to double-handle the container. Reach Stackers can even handle containers longitudinally (at low stacking heights).

The longer side-shift range of a Reach Stacker enables the unit to balance containers that are out of balance and still retain much of its side-shift ability to perform a safe and fast positioning of the out of balanced container on the stack.


Reach Stackers do not have the mast to obstruct the vision of the operator. This is a substantial safety advantage when moving containers around the terminal.


The reach stacker can lower the boom so that its overall height in this position is just approximately 5 metres enabling the unit to negotiate low doorways, power cables and passing roadways. It also enables the machine to be parked indoors for maintenance.

A Laden Container Handler requires extremely high doorways, cannot work where there are power cables or indoors without extremely high door clearance.


A Reach Stacker can withdraw its spreader (even with load) over the front tyres. This makes the machine extremely compact when driving in yards. This is not possible with a Laden Container Handler as it is not capable of rotating its spreader or load at angles which would allow it to fit into narrow spaces.

Also, due to superior stability a Reach Stacker can safely drive with the container fully lifted such to pass over high stacks and cut turning corners to drive in very narrow driveways. This is not possible for a Laden Container Handler. For safety reasons a Laden Container Handler needs to travel with the container lowered so that the bottom of the container is just above the height of the driver’s eyes.

While the advantages of a Reach Stacker may be of benefit to large container handling operators, there are other elements that should be considered. Firstly, in basic terms a Reach Stacker is going have a heavier overall operational weight than a standard Laden Container Handler.

A Reach Stacker also adds a considerable number of highly technical operational parts including the boom and the rotator drive mechanism compared to the simpler operation of a masted Laden Container Handler. Further, a Reach Stacker operator requires a specific high-risk licence whereas a Laden Container Handler can be operated with a standard forklift licence.

The expert team at You Hire would be pleased to provide a no obligation assessment of your operation and offer our advice on the most suitable Container Handling equipment for your business based on the operational environment, productivity and commercial considerations.