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Common Container Types and Their Uses

Most Common Container Types and Their Uses

About 90% of the world’s cargo is transported by sea. That explains the massive ships that cruise our waters, delivering containers to various destinations. Currently, several container types are used to transport goods all over the world. These containers have different uses that suit the commodities in transit. Below are some of the containers and their uses:

  1. General Purpose Containers

This container is also referred to as a dry container. It is fully enclosed to protect the content from harsh weather conditions. The container has side walls, a floor, and a rigid roof. General-purpose containers are typically the most used containers in the shipping industry. These containers carry typical cargo like cars, clothing among other non-perishable or fragile goods. However, the containers can be modified using flexitanks or linear bags to ship dry bulk cargo or liquid bulk cargo.

  1. Open Top Containers

These containers have a convertible top that can be taken off entirely. They are ideal for cargo that is over-height and cannot fit in the container via the door. Open top containers are used to transport tall machinery or bulky finished products whose loading requires a crane. These containers come with installed lashing rings to the lower and upper side rails and corner posts to keep the cargo safe.

  1. Flat Rack Containers

It is a storage container with collapsible sides. These sides are folded to produce a flat rack. Its end walls are pretty stable to secure the cargo making this container ideal for oversized goods shipping. The container transports big reels, heavy machinery, construction material, and vehicles on tracks. Some flat rack containers are capable of transiting up to 45 metric tons!

  1. Refrigerated ISO Containers

Also known as a reefer, this intermodal container is mainly used for intermodal freight transport. It is refrigerated to enable a smooth transit of the temperature-sensitive cargo. Even though the reefer has an integral refrigeration unit, it relies on external power to keep the unit running. The power is acquired from reefer points in the container ship, land-based site, or quay. While on-road transit, the reefer receives power from diesel generators. These containers can control the temperature in a wide range from -65 °C to 40 °C. It is used to transport all the temperature-sensitive goods such as fresh produce, fruits, flowers, fish, etc.

  1. ISO Tanks

ISO tanks are storage containers used to transport liquids. They are made using anti-corrosive material due to the nature of the goods they carry. These containers can also store dry commodities like sugar, but they are exclusive for the transportation and storage of liquids. Most companies will use these containers to transport and store crude oil and petroleum products.


  1. Double Door Containers

These containers have doors on both ends. They are ideal for faster loading and off-loading of the container. Double doors are also called tunnel containers and provide sufficient room for commodities like iron and steel. Both doors have a secure locking assembling and come with weather-tight seals to keep elements safe.

  1. Open Side Containers

These containers are pretty similar to the general-purpose containers, only that these can open on the side. With such features, you have more access and a more expansive room for loading and unloading. Most of these containers come in 40′ and 20′. They can be used as storage facilities and also transportation of common and bulky goods. These containers are also perfect for conversions to an office, stall, or even a café.

  1. Half-Height Containers

Such containers are ideal for the transportation of dense and heavy goods. Goods such as stones and coal are perfect for these containers. They are mainly used in the mining sector. These containers cannot handle taller commodities since they have a low center of gravity. Half-height containers are also quite strong, which makes them withstand the harsh conditions of the industrial environment.

Final Thoughts

Most of these containers are also ideal for conversion. Whether you want to set up a café, office, stalls, or a home, most of the standard-size containers will serve the purpose. If you are looking for transportation or storage in containers, first consider the nature of your goods, then choose the most suitable container.

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