11 Most Common Shipping Container Types
About 90 percent of the world’s cargo is being moved by ships, so you can imagine how many shipping containers are currently in circulation – each one used for a different purpose. There are many shipping container types out there. From flat rack to tank containers, each unit helps with something different. Some transport liquids, while others transport temperature-sensitive foods and pharmaceuticals.
The one you need will depend on the business you’re in. To aid in your decision, here’s a look at some of them.
1. General Purpose Containers
Also known as a dry container, these weather proof units are fully enclosed and feature a rigid roof, floor and walls. This is the most common type of container, used to transport most kinds of standard cargo. You can add modifications such as liner bags or flexi-tanks if you need to ship liquid cargo or dry cargo in bulk.
2. Flat Rack Containers
Featuring collapsible sides, these containers can fold down into a flat rack. The end walls are durable enough to secure cargo, so you would choose this option if you had heavy machinery, vehicles on tracks, and construction materials to transport. Some 40′ flat rack shipping containers can carry up to 45 tons of cargo!
3. Open Top Containers
These have convertible tops that can be removed if needed, good for over-height cargo that can’t easily be loaded through the door. You would choose this option if you had tall machinery or other heavy finished products that could only be handled with a crane or rolling bridge.
4. Double Door Containers
Just like the name implies, this type of unit has doors on both ends of the container. Also known as a tunnel container, this type of unit is ideal when you have to quickly load and unload goods through either door. Both doors have the same locks and weather tight seals for the utmost in weather protection.
5. High Cube Containers
Similar to general purpose containers, high cube containers are taller by one foot. You will find them most commonly in size 40′ and sometimes 45′, ideal for when you need a slightly higher volume capacity.
6. Open Side Containers
Also similar to general purpose shipping containers, these units have doors that can open on the side too. You have more room and wider access, which makes it much easier to load and unload materials.
7. ISO Reefer Containers
These are used to ship temperature-sensitive, perishable cargo such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and even medications. They rely on external power sources to maintain a regulated temperature. They come in sizes of 20’ and 40, usually made of Corten steel.
8. Insulated Containers
Similar to a reefer container, an insulated container features a regulated temperature control so they can withstand higher temperatures. Also known as thermal containers, they come equipped with a mechanical compressor to cool or heat the air, constructed of a vacuum flask. This makes them suitable for long-distance transport of anything from biological materials and chemicals to organs and blood.
9. Half-Height Containers
These containers can transport heavy, dense, bulk cargo such as coal and stones. Used commonly in the mining industry, half height containers have a lower center of gravity to enable them to easier handle heavier loads than their taller container counterparts. As you can imagine, they are very durable because they can withstand rough industrial environments.
10. Tank Containers
Also known for short as tankers, these containers are made of steel or other anti-corrosive materials to transport liquid materials. It should be at least 80 percent full so that surging of the liquids does not occur in transit. By the same token, it can’t exceed 95 percent full because that doesn’t leave room for thermal expansion.
11. Swap Body Containers
These are exchangeable containers used for road and rail purposes, more commonly seen in Europe. They feature a convertible top, making them ideal for shipping a wide range of goods. They don’t have upper corner fittings and can’t be stacked one on top of the other, so they are only used for land-based transportation.
Contact Transocean Equipment Management
No matter which type of container you need, we can hook you up with the right one for your requirements. Start off with a free quote when you contact us at 910-483-7828. Let us know what you need your container for and we can determine the best fit.