Haulin cans is the only kind of trucking I have ever done :)
I got into haulin containers right outta truck drivin school in 1987. That's all I've done ever since. So I really am not qualified to compare to other type like flatbedding with the tarping and all that noise.
I just sit in the truck and the ports do the loading/unloading with top picks, side picks, forklifts ( the humongous 1's) and of course they use overhead cranes but they are freakin slow so I prefer all the previously mentioned machines.
Lets say I pick up a loaded can from the port and take it on lets say an average regional run of about 200 miles out. Ok so 4 hours or so and Im there and backed up to the dock.
Can haulers really don't touch the freight 99.9% of the time. But sometimes if the warehouse guys are decent and don't treat me like a p.o.w. then I might help them unload if I see the guy could use a hand. But like I said 99.9% I just sit in the truck and chill, or if its nice outside I might go for a short walk.
Until recently like (3 years ago recently) the container equipment (chassis) you had a 60% chance of being stuck with some illegal piece of work with inoperative lights, bad or no brakes, dried-out cracked sidewall tires and blow-outs were very common.
But nowadays its improved since the states lawmakers are on to the ports and rail companies screwing over the drivers with bad equipment so now they are held responsible so the equipment is way better now.
I used to be an owner operator and lease to a container drayage company but I got sick of the never ending repair bills and regulatory costs of ownership so now I just drive for a owner op and I get 41% of the truck gross per week so my average is $780/week.. sometimes its more, sometimes less.
But Im happy its a relatively easy life but as in any occupation/career there's gonna be some jerks especially the longshoremen at the ports.
But again things are changing over time and now there isn't a heck of a lot of face-to-face dealing with those highly overpaid and lazy cry babies.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have mountain passes going east 45 minutes out of Seattle so winter driving skills and throwing chains on is common in the winter. But somehow I was lucky last winter I had really good timing I never once had to chain up the truck.
In a nutshell, if you don't mind sitting in long lines at the port a few times a week and pulling sometimes really ugly containers then you might want to give it a try. And like ZI said, the pay is decent and what I held to the last of my post is WEEKENDS OFF :)