Shipping containers are an essential part of international trade and logistics. They come in various sizes and types to accommodate different goods and transport methods. Understanding the different container options available can help businesses make informed decisions about their shipping needs.
In this article, we will explore the most common types of shipping containers, their sizes, and what they can hold.
Four Main Types of Shipping Containers
1. Standard General-Purpose Containers:
These containers have a single door with four walls made of high-strength steel. They are versatile and can be used across different transportation modes like ocean, railways, and trucks. Standard containers typically come in 20-foot or 40-foot sizes, with a height of 8’6″. They are suitable for transporting a variety of goods.
2. High-Cube General-Purpose Containers:
Similar to standard containers but with added height, high-cube containers are one foot taller at 9’6″. These containers offer more space for cargo and are ideal for companies requiring higher cargo demands or looking to maximize packing efficiency.
3. Reefers (Refrigerated Containers):
Reefer containers are modified shipping containers equipped with refrigeration units. These units connect to power supplies on cargo ships to maintain specific temperatures inside the container during transportation. Reefer containers ensure perishable goods like fresh produce or pharmaceuticals remain at optimal conditions throughout the journey.
4.Insulated Shipping Containers:
Unlike reefers that require external power supply connections, insulated shipping containers feature insulation materials like foam to regulate temperature inside without relying on electricity from external sources.
Different Container Sizes & Capacities
1. 20-Foot Standard Container:
The smallest standard size available is the 20-foot container.
– Can fit approximately ten standard pallets or eleven Euro pallets.
– Provides around 33 cubic meters (m³) of storage space.
– To put it in perspective, you could fit one standard car within this container’s dimensions.
2. 40-Foot Standard Container:
Twice the size of a 20-foot container, the 40-foot container is commonly used for larger loads.
– Can fit up to twenty standard pallets or twenty-four Euro pallets.
– Offers around 67 cubic meters (m³) of storage space.
– Can accommodate approximately two standard-sized cars.
3. 40-Foot High-Cube Container:
The high-cube container provides additional height compared to the standard version, allowing for even more cargo capacity.
– Offers up to seventy-six cubic meters (m³) of storage space.
– Fits approximately twenty-six standard pallets or thirty-three Euro pallets.
Other Types of Containers
Apart from the common types mentioned above, there are specialized containers designed for specific goods. These include:
1. Open Top Containers:
Feature an open top covered with a removable tarpaulin or hard roof that allows easy loading and unloading from the top.
2. Flat Rack Containers:
Suitable for oversized cargo or goods that cannot be loaded through traditional doors due to their shape and size.
3. Tank Containers:
Designed specifically for transporting liquids such as chemicals, food-grade products, and hazardous materials.
4. Bulk Containers:
Used for shipping dry bulk commodities like grains, coal, minerals, and other loose materials in large quantities.