How Many Types Of Shipping Containers Are There?
Since they were invented in the 1960’s, causing a revolution in the way cargo is transported all over the world, a variety of shipping containers have emerged to meet the needs of those who want to move their goods.
Essentially shipping containers have evolved in all sorts of ways. As long as they fit the footprint you can largely put anything that fits that space into a container. Exact dimensions of the shipping containers can be seen here. Shipping containers were invented in the USA so are measured in feet and inches not metres!
Let’s now look at what different shipping container types there are and what you might hire or buy from Gateway Container Sales.
1. Standard size boxes
There are two lengths of standard shipping containers:
Standard containers usually only have one set of doors at one end. You can however get ‘double door ended’ containers that have doors at both ends.
You can get longer containers than the standard size. These come in 45ft (1371.6cm), 48ft (1463.08cm) and 53ft (1615.44cm). These larger boxes are all high cube (9’6 / 289.56cm).
One of the first changes to the design of shipping containers was to add a refrigeration unit to them. These are commonly known as reefers and can store goods such as food and pharmaceuticals that need to be kept at an exact temperature range for transport.
3. Insulated containers
Insulated containers are similar to reefers but without active air conditioning within. These prevent extreme temperatures – too high or low – from the climate outside affecting the temperature within.
4. Half Height Containers
Shipping containers are best packed tightly for the preservation of the goods within them. However there are exact weight limits for them fully laden so, for heavy goods, it might make sense to pack a half height container to meet weight limit requirements, but avoiding the problem of the goods rattling around inside and potentially being damaged.
5. Open top and removable hard-top
Open top containers are ideal for cargo which is too large to fit through the end door and need to be loaded via crane. They can come with a removal hard top or soft top tarpaulin cover, which is then lashed tightly. Most open tops are standard height.
6. Side opening containers
Where the cargo going in is almost the same size as the dimensions within – and can’t fit through the front doors – you can use side opening shipping containers. As the name suggests, you can load them from the side with a forklift.
7. Bulk containers
Useful for powders and aggregates that are too small in volume to be sent by bulk cargo ship, these are designed in a way that they can be loaded from the top and upon opening a hatch at the bottom, will empty out at the other end.
8. Tank containers
These are similar to bulk goods containers in that they are designed to carry fluids that aren’t in sufficient quantity to be on a tanker. They are loaded and unloaded in a similar way to that of a tanker truck.
9. Flat rack containers
Moving a tractor or a yacht? Flat rack containers are ideal for shipping a vehicle that’s too large to fit in a standard size container, and can be loaded from the side.
So there you have it!
Yes, there are 9 headline variations of shipping containers – quite an evolution from a simple metal box! Here at Gateway Container Sales we can provide you with most of these types – contact us today to discuss your needs.