HomeCommercial Terms15 Types of Shipping Container Units explained

15 Types of Shipping Container Units explained

Types of Containers with their details - 1. Open Top Container 2. Open Side Storage Container 3. Dry Storage Container 4. Flat Rack Container 5. Half-Height Container 6. Tunnel Container 7. Tank Containers 8. Drums Containers 9. Cargo storage roll Container 10. Refrigerated ISO Containers 11. Car carriers Containers 12. Intermediate bulk shift Containers 13. Special purpose Containers 14. Swap bodies 15. Insulated or thermal Containers

quick fact: Did you know, there are 15 different types of shipping containers units

Shipping containers are one of the most important integral parts of the global trade and shipping industry. Did you know an interesting fact that more than 90% of the world trade is transported by various types of shipping containers? The movement of cargo done by containers is the safest and most economical method. As per the dimensions, size, mass, weight, fragility, perishability, durability, special care/specifications if required.

What is a shipping container?

Shipping containers have transformed the global logistics industry by standardizing the shipping and transportation process. The main purpose of these shipping containers is to transport goods from one place to another without damaging the goods. Through containers, cargo can be transported anywhere in the world by any means of transport (sea, air, rail, road) with ease and one of the most cost-effective ways. They are very strong and highly durable in nature so that they can be re-used in long-distance transit global trades.

Out of the 15 major types of shipping containers, these are the most popular and commonly used containers –

  • 20 ft’ general purpose = 20’GP = 20’DV = 20FT = 20′
  • 40 ft’ general purpose = 40’GP = 40’DV = 40FT = 40′
  • 40 feet high cube = 40’HC = 40’H

Read this – How to calculate CBM in LCL exports shipment? to know the CBM formula and CBM calculation for LCL exports shipments.

Types of Shipping Containers

There are many types of containers available in the world when you try to ship your goods from one board to another. Price rate of shipping goods depends on the type of container.

There is a shipping container for every purpose. Let’s find out what are the different types of shipping containers in complete detail with their usage. We have listed the 15 most common types of shipping container below –

1. Open Top Container

As the name of this container type suggests, it is an open-top container which means it has an opening from the top. Open-top containers are similar-looking containers to other traditional ones but as you can judge with the name that an open-top container always has a convertible top. You can remove the roof if you want to ship something which is taller than the height of any container. These containers are made of steel like all other containers, the top side is then covered by tarpaulin rubber while the floor is wooden.

Open top container
Open top container

2. Open Side Storage Container

Open side-storage containers in Shape are pretty much like any regular container. But the major difference between an open sided-storage container and a regular container is that you can open the side panel which is the longer side of the container as well as the front side door of the container. To make the open side-storage containers moisture-proof, rubber seals are fitted along the length of the opening side doors. These containers generally are available in 20 feet and 40 feet size, they also come with a reefer option.

Open side storage container
Open side storage container

3. Dry Storage Container

Dry storage containers are also called standard containers. Dry containers also known as dry freight containers/ dry storage containers are airtight containers that do not have a ventilation system. They can be used only for transportation of dry cargo, they can not be used to transport liquid goods. This type of container is easily available in the market and they are available in various dimensions such as 10 feet 20 feet and 40 feet. These containers are generally used to ship non-perishable goods.

Dry storage container
Dry storage container

4. Flat Rack Container

Flat rack containers do not have any side-body or rooftop. These containers have collapsible sides, the sides can be converted and folded to make a flat rack for shipping cargo that requires this configuration of containers. These types of containers are used for heavy cargo like machinery which needs side or top entry in order to secure the goods. The flat rack containers are used to transport very bulk cargo, timber, heavy machinery, boats, farm equipment, etc and they can load up to 40,000 kilograms of weight.

Flat rack container
Flat rack container

5. Half-Height Container

As you may have judged with the name that half-height containers are basically containers having half height. They may look just like regular containers but they are half in height when compared with regular containers. Half-height containers are generally used for goods that are low in volume but very heavy in weight. Such as metal, stones, sand, ores, mined-minerals, gravel, machinery, etc where the center of gravity is low. They are available in various formats like – no top, removable hardtop, and removable soft top.

Half height container
Half height container

6. Tunnel Container

Tunnel containers are also called double-door containers. They are standard containers having a door opening on both sides and when both these doors are opened, it resemble a tunnel. This type of container is used when you need your cargo to be loaded and unloaded quickly.

Tunnel container
Tunnel container

7. Tank Containers

Tank Containers are sometimes also called tankers are cylindrical shape shipping containers. These types of containers are made out of strong steel in order to transport liquid materials, hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Not like any other container, a tank container must be filled only up to 80% of its total capacity to prevent the possibility of dangerous spilling of liquids. To carry such materials, these containers are built from high-quality stainless steel. They have an insulation layer from the inside and a protective layer outside the container.

Tank container
Tank container

8. Drum Containers

As the name suggests drums containers are cylindrical/circular-shaped containers that look like barrels. It is like the smaller version over a tank container which is made out of strong durable materials. If you have any cargo which is in liquid form and less in quantity then you can use drum containers to transport it. Drum containers come in 2 formats that are – open-top and welded-top containers.

Drum container
Drum container

9. Cargo storage roll Container

Cargo storage roll containers are foldable containers. Roll containers are specially made for purpose of transporting stacks of material. This type of container is made out of thick and strong wire mesh along with the rollers on the bottom which allows them to move easily.

Cargo storage roll container
Cargo storage roll container

10. Refrigerated ISO Containers

Refrigerated ISO containers are also called reefer containers. These containers are specially made so that you can control the temperature in them to maintain the good’s temperature as per the requirement. The lowest temperature it can go to is -30 degrees Celsius and +30 degrees celsius. If you want to move goods like specialty chemicals, vegetables, fruit, meat, ice cream, seafood, dairy, pharmaceuticals, flowers, etc.

Refrigerated ISO container
Refrigerated ISO container

11. Car carriers Containers

Car carriers containers are specially designed in order to ship cars over long distances across the world. These containers are made so that you can easily load and unload cars with collapsible sides. Through these containers, any type of vehicle can be shipped depending on the type of car as well as suitable containers for it.

Car carriers containers
Car carriers containers

12. Intermediate bulk shift Containers

With their name, it is very easy to judge that intermediate bulk ship containers are made for shipping to an intermediate location. These are easy to load and unload so that goods can be packed and send off to the final spot of destination. This type of container is used to transfer liquid or powder forms of nature like metals in a powder state, chemicals, pharma products, food substances, etc.

Intermediate bulk ship containers
Intermediate bulk ship containers

13. Special purpose Containers

Special purpose containers are specially customized to use in high-profile services. Such as shipment of weapons, unique machinery, custom-made goods. This type of container is very hard and strong in build quality to transport cargo to serving the purpose of special-purpose containers.

Special purpose containers
Special purpose containers

14. Swap bodies

Swap Body is a type of container which is used for both rail and road transport. This type of container body is used in western countries majorly in Europe. They can be used on both rail and road. these containers can not be stacked on each other as they miss corner fittings. Swap-body containers provide strong bottom support and they have a convertible top.

Swap body containers
Swap body containers

15. Insulated or thermal Containers

Insulated or thermal containers are specially made for the cargo which needs to be kept at a specific temperature all the time. This type of container has two walls, inner and outer wall where the inner wall is insulated with thermal material so as to maintain the internal temperature of the container. So that it can have less interaction with outer temperature, contamination, reaction and to keep the shipped goods at a specific temperature. Spray Foam Insulation, Rigid Foam, and Fiberglass Insulation. If you are looking for insulating your containers then you can go to this link – Shipping container insulation and check the entire process and types of shipping insulation.

Insulated or thermal containers
Insulated or thermal containers

We hope that you have understood all types of shipping containers mentioned in this article. If you have any questions or want to discuss and want to know more about this topic then please write down your comments below or mail us.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for helping me understand that shipping containers would be used to transport goods from one place to another without causing damage to them. I can imagine how important it would be to ensure that they are of good quality to also keep companies from losing revenues. Their products would have to be in good condition so that their customers would have a good impression on them which will have an effect on their reputation.

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