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  • Writer's pictureRaniel Admin

Types of shipping containers

Containers play an integral role in shipping goods around the world. Ocean freight is the most cost-effective form of shipping goods so when ordering products from overseas they will most likely arrive in a container. There are many shipping containers that serve different purposes. We have created a list of the top 14 most common shipping containers to help you find the most suitable container for your shipping needs.


1) 10’, 20’, and 40’ Dry Storage Containers

These are some of the most common shipping containers.  They are used for shipping dry goods that do not require temperature control.




2) Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers are especially suitable for heavy loads and cargo that needs loading from the top or sides. There are collapsible containers and non-collapsible containers with or without walls. Flat rack containers are manufactured from steel and come in 20′ and 40′ sizes.




3) Open-top Containers

Open-top containers do not have solid roofs. Instead, they have removable bows and a weatherproof tarpaulin roof which can be secured with ropes. This allows for a significantly simplified loading and unloading process. The door header may also be swung out allowing for easier access to the cargo. Open-top containers are ideal for bulky cargo such as machinery.




4) Tunnel Containers

Tunnel containers come with doors on both ends of the container. They are very useful when quick loading and unloading of materials is required.









5) Open-side Storage Containers

The doors of this type of storage unit can be changed to form completely open sides. Having a completely open side allows for the storage of much wider merchandise and easier loading.




6) Insulated and Thermal Containers

These storage containers have a regulated temperature control that allows them to maintain a higher temperature to keep goods warm.









7) Tanks

These are liquid storage containers. They are typically constructed of strong steel and other anti-corrosive materials to protect the liquid freight inside. Tanks are commonly used when transporting hazardous materials.





8) Double-door Containers

Double doors make it easy for loading and unloading of freight. These types of shipping containers are typically made of steel and iron. They are available in standardized sizes of 40ft and 20ft.



9) Refrigerated ISO Containers

A refrigerated ISO container is one that is temperature regulated and always maintains a controlled low temperature. These types of units are used for the shipment of perishable goods like vegetables and fruits.





10) Special-purpose Containers

These containers can be of different shapes and sizes and are often custom-made for specific goods.








11) Swap Bodies

This intermodal container can be swapped from a truck chassis to a railcar. These shipping containers have foldable legs to support the containers in between the two modes of transportation. A swap body weighs and costs less than standard shipping containers and is commonly used in Europe.






12) Half-height Containers

This container was designed for the transport of heavy low volume cargo on ships and trains. The containers can also be used for vehicle transportation, or as a cargo platform for the local transport of sand, gravel, and other granular materials.






13) Car Carriers

These are used for the transportation of liquid materials, cars, and special goods. The freight container is made of strong materials and built for a specific type of good. There are many different types of containers, but car carriers are the most common variation.





14) Drums

Drums are cylindrical shipping containers made of steel, plastic, or fiber. They are often used for liquids and granular materials. Similar to tanks, drums are often used in shipping hazardous materials.















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