Different Types of Shipping Containers
There are various types of shipping containers serving various purposes and accommodate a variety of goods. Shipping containers come in different dimension, materials, and so on. But to fit the standards of cargo shipping, each must adhere to maritime safety and reliability standards.
1. Dry storage container
This is the most commonly used type of shipping containers, with different sizes according to ISO. While sizes vary such as the 20ft, 40 ft and 10ft, unit variations can exist within each type of size category. For example, a 20-foot shipping container may look and measure the same outside but may have different cargo handling configuration inside to suit the type of cargo being handled and ease of offloading at receiving ports.
2. Flat rack container
These are containers with collapsible sides suitable for heavy cargo that needs loading from top or sides such as pipes, engines and other machinery. They are made of steel, come with or without walls and come in 20′ and 40′ sizes.
3. Open-top container
Open-top containers which usually comes in 20′ and 40′ dimensions are generally made of corrugated steel, and wooden floor. The roof consists of removable bows and the door header may be swiveled out. These two features help simplify the packing and unpacking of the container. For example, it becomes easier to pack and unpack the container from a height or through the doors by crane or crab when the roof is open and the door header is swiveled out.
4. Tunnel container
Also known as tunnel-tainers or double enders, a tunnel container has double doors on both 8-feet ends that, when both doors are open, the container resembles like a tunnel, hence its name.
Loading and unloading becomes convenient and more accessible than a standard container — you don’t have to unload all items at the front end to reach items at the back — especially for small items to store, or using a loading pallet or forklift. The presence of two doors help in quick loading and unloading of cargo materials.
5. Open side container
Open side containers are just the same as standard storage containers only that sides can be opened to allow bigger space to load goods. The two large bi-fold doors are built on both ends of the side wall which can be opened especially when items are loaded using a forklift that require wider space.
6. Double doors container
Double doors container is similar to a standard containers but becomes more accessible because the door on the end can also be opened, creating a more flexible and efficient storage solution. They come in 20′ and 40′ dimensions.
7. Refrigerated ISO containers
These containers are specially built with temperature regulated environment to carefully control interior temperature. Such type of containers are exclusively used to ship perishable materials such as fruits and vegetables over long distances.
8. Insulated or thermal containers
These are the shipping storage containers that come with a regulated temperature control allowing them to maintain a higher temperature. The choice of material is so done to allow them long life without being damaged by constant exposure to high temperature. They are most suitable for long distance transportation of products.
Container storage units used mostly for transportation of liquid materials, they are used by a huge proportion of entire shipping industry. They are mostly made of strong steel or other anti corrosive materials providing them with long life and protection to the materials.
10. Cargo storage roll container
A foldable container, this is one of the specialized container units made for purpose of transporting sets or stacks of materials. They are made of thick and strong wire mesh along with rollers that allows their easy movement. Availability in a range of colored wire meshes make these shipping container units a little more cheerful.
11. Half height containers
Another kind of shipping containers includes half height containers. Made mostly of steel, these containers are half the height of full sized containers. Used especially for good like coal, stones etc which need easy loading and unloading.
12. Car carriers
Car carriers are container storage units made especially for shipment of cars over long distances. They come with collapsible sides that help a car fit snugly inside the containers without the risk of being damaged or moving from the spot.
13. Intermediate bulk shift containers
These are specialized storage shipping containers made solely for the purpose of intermediate shipping of goods. They are designed to handle large amounts of materials and made for purpose of shipping materials to a destination where they can be further packed and sent off to final spot.
As the name suggests, circular shipping containers, made from a choice of materials like steel, light weight metals, fiber, hard plastic etc. they are most suitable for bulk transport of liquid materials. They are smaller in size but due to their shape, may need extra space.
15. Special purpose containers
Not the ordinary containers, these are the container units, custom made for specialized purposes. Mostly, they are used for high profile services like shipment of weapons and arson. As such, their construction and material composition depends on the special purpose they need to cater to. But in most cases, security remains the top priority.
16. Swap bodies
Also known as exchangeable container or interchangeable unit, these are a special type of containers used mostly in Europe. Its design is optimized to minimize on empty weight and save fuel costs. They are provided with a strong bottom and a convertible top making them suitable for shipping of many types of products.