Containers are the backbone of the global transportation industry. Shipping containers are structures that store and carry various products that need to be shipped from one location to another – both domestic & international.
More than 90% of the world’s cargo is moved by ships. And a huge variety of cargo is shipped across the globe every day. This means that the types of containers being used would also be different. Their dimensions, structure, materials, nature of construction, etc. everything will vary from each other. Some of the different types of containers that are used on a daily basis are:
General Purpose Containers
Also called dry containers, these are fully enclosed boxes. This protects the cargo within from weather elements like sun, rain, hail, snow, etc. the roof, floor, and sides are rigid and tough, made from the strongest quality iron and steel. Much of the regular cargo gets shipped through dry containers. These are the most commonly used ones. There are certain variations of dry containers like liner bags or flexitanks. These are used to carry liquid or dry bulk cargo. These containers are available in 20’, 40’, and 40’HC.
Flat Rack Containers
The sides in these containers are collapsible. They can be folded so that the container becomes a flat rack – with the floor and front and back sides. Oversized cargo can be shipped in such containers. Examples are – vehicles, heavy and oversized machinery, construction materials, big steel rolls, etc. you can load close to 45 metric tonnes of cargo in such containers.
Open Top Containers
Like a flat rack container, open-top containers to have a collapsible portion. But instead of the walls, it is the roof. The roof can be completely removed. For cargo with unwieldy heights and can’t be loaded normally through the doors, this is the option. Tall machinery or heavy and bulky cargo need this type of container for transportation. The cargo is loaded via cranes or rolling bridges. These containers come in 20’ and 40’ sizes.
High Cube Containers
These are also general type or dry containers but with a bigger dimension. They are taller by about one foot. These are available in 40’ and 45’. When the cargo type is general but the volume is bigger, shippers avail of these containers. They come with a distinctive yellow-black marking.
Double Door Container
There are doors at both ends of the container that can be opened simultaneously. This facilitates much faster loading and unloading of goods. They also provide more space to carry goods like iron and steel. Both the doors are weather-resistant to protect the cargo within. These containers are also called “tunnel containers.”
Open Side Container
These are similar to open doors with the difference being that here the sides of the container can be opened. This allows for even faster loading and unloading, along with wider room and access. They come in 20’ and 40’. For cargo that is difficult to load through the standard way, these containers are very useful.
ISO Reefer Containers
This is a refrigerated container. When you have to transport temperature-sensitive and perishable commodities like meat, fish, vegetables, dairy items, certain types of medicines, etc. you would need the services of a reefer container. Made of a special type of steel, these come in dimensions of 20’ and 40’. They keep the internal temperature regulated with assistance from external power sources.
A mechanical compressor in these containers helps to keep the internal temperature hot or cold, as per the requirements of the cargo. The insulated containers, also called thermal containers, can withstand higher temperatures with their temperature control mechanism. They resemble a thermos flask. Items like blood, organs, biological and chemical goods, pharmaceutical items, etc. can be transported through insulated containers.
Half Height Containers
At times, shippers need to transport quite heavy and dense cargo that comes in bulk. Items like coal, stone, certain heavy minerals, etc. come in this category. These goods are transported through half-height containers that come with a low center of gravity. This makes them suitable to accept heavier loads than their full-size counterparts. They are also strong enough to withstand harsh industrial environments.
Made of very strong steel with anti-corrosive materials, tank containers are used to transport various types of liquid cargo. There are several rules and regulations regarding loading the cargo here to prevent mishaps. The container should not be less than 80% full, otherwise, there would be surging of the liquids in transit that can be risky. And they shouldn’t be more than 95% full. This would leave some space for thermal expansion.
Swap Body Containers
These containers are meant only for transportation overland as they can’t be stacked and lack upper corner fittings. Used mostly in Europe, these have a convertible top. Thus, a range of products can be shipped in them.
Cargo Storage Roll Container
These containers are foldable. They are used to transport sets of materials or stacks. They are made of wire mesh. Accompanying rollers facilitate easy movement.
As the name suggests, these are specifically used to transport different types of cars over long distances. The sides are collapsible that allow the car to fit perfectly within the container without getting damaged.
Intermediate Bulk Shift Container
These are specialized containers used for intermediate shipping. These are transported to a particular location from where they can be sent off to the final destination.
Special Purpose Containers
These are transported to a particular location from where they can be sent off to the final destination.
Primarily, these are used to transport weapons and other military equipment. They are built as per the requirement of the cargo that they will carry. The chief concern is the safety and security of the cargo.
Also, read 20ft Shipping Container Dimensions