Types of Shipping Containers for International Shippers

Shipping containers are the most innate part of the shipping industry. Containers enable shippers to transport almost all kinds of goods or cargo from one place to the other, safely; and are considered as the most efficient in transporting freight.

Types of Shipping Containers

If you are an international shipper, you must already be aware of the most common types of containers – dry and refrigerated (also known as reefer) containers. There are more than 10 other types of containers that are used in sea freight shipping, which may not be as widely used, but are available for cargo that has specific requirements.

  • Dry Storage Containers – are used for transporting dry goods or materials. Almost all types of standard goods that do not have any specific requirements can use the dry storage containers. These containers come in 10ft, 20 ft and 40ft size and are thus the most common type of containers used in the shipping industry.

  • Flat Rack Containers – are usually used to ship freight that is either heavy or is of weird shape. These containers do not have walls on the side nor do they have a roof, they may have standing walls at the ends, which may be fixed or collapsible. This lets the shippers load the heavy freight from top or from the sides. Flat rack shipping containers are usually 20ft of 40 ft in size and are made of steel for sturdiness and strength.

  • Open Top Containers – are used for easy loading and unloading of bulk cargo or for freight that is higher than the standard container height. These containers are not literally open, their top can be secured by plastic sheets, ropes to secure the cargo from weather conditions.

  • Tunnel Containers – help in easy and quicker loading and unloading of cargo, thus have an increased efficiency. Tunnel containers are dry storage containers, but with doors at both the ends.
  • Side Open Containers – are dry storage shipping containers with one door at the end of the container and the other along the side of the container. This type of shipping containers make it easy to load and unload cargo that is wide and cannot be loaded through the end door of the container. Side open containers also facilitate loading and unloading with the help of forklifts.
  • Refrigerated Containers – commonly known as reefers are similar to dry storage containers but have refrigeration capabilities, keeping the temperature of the container lower than the outside temperature. These are used for goods that require to be stored in a specific temperature.
  • Tank Containers – are used for shipping liquids and gases, hazardous or non-hazardous. These containers are cylindrical in shape, placed in a regular container sized steel frame. The tank containers are made of non-corrosive materials  like steel.

While these are some of the most used and known shipping containers types, here is a list of some other types of containers that are available as well –

  • High Cube Containers – are similar to standard containers, only are one foot taller than them. These have higher storage capacities.
  • Ventilated Containers – are used for goods that require air circulation even during transport.

  • Insulated Containers – these containers have thermal insulations and are used to transport goods that need temperature higher than the outside temperature.
  • Half Height Containers – as the name suggests, these containers are half the height of standard dry containers and are designed to make loading and unloading easy for goods like stone, coal, etc.

  • Double Door Containers – are used for loading and unloading of wider materials like construction materials. These containers have double doors along the length of the containers.
  • Car Carriers – are specialized containers built specifically to transport cars.
  • Special Purpose Containers – can be built in any specific shape or dimensions. These are designed for specific goods for which standard container sizes may not be relevant. These special purpose containers are costly and are usually not used by companies, unless absolutely required.

Which Shipping Container Is Right For You?

Shipping containers are generally available in 8 feet, 10 feet, 20 feet and 40 feet sizes. The most commonly available ones are 20 feet and 40 feet containers.

Now that we know the most common container types and their sizes, it might be easy to just pick one of them for your freight shipping need. However, there are still chances of confusion while deciding the best type and size of container for your freight. So how would you decide which container type is right for you?

If all the above information confuses you, freight forwarding companies like ProConnect Integrated Logistics can always help you choose. Simply provide us with your cargo details like commodity type, weight and volume of the cargo, specific transportation requirements and leave the hassle of choosing the right container for your cargo to us.

ProConnect Integrated Logistics is an experienced freight forwarder and will ensure your shipment is transported in the right way to its destination safely.

Have shipments to be transported? Get quote.

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