15 Different Types Of Containers For Shipping

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If you want to know what are the different types of containers used for shipping.

You are on the right page!

This article will help you to understand the different types of containers used for domestic and international trade.


Hello, friends welcome to another fresh article of “Indiancustoms.info”, Here you will get information about different cargo container types used for the transport of goods from one country to another country.

If you are working in the import-export industry you need to understand the types of containers available in the market.

This article mainly focuses on the container that is most commonly used in international trade.

So, this article is going to be a knowledge booster for you, after reading the complete article you found useful then don’t forget to share this article on your social media profile.

Types Of Containers For Shipping

Types Of Containers For Shipping.

Different types of containers are used in domestic and international trade to move cargo from one location to another.

Some of the most common containers used are listed below.

Sl No. Types Of Containers
1Standard Dry Containers
2Open Top Containers
3High cube Containers
4Refrigerated Containers(Reefer Containers)
5GOH Containers (Garments on hanger containers)
6Open Side Containers
7Tank Containers
8Half-height Containers
9Ventilated Containers
10Car Carrier Containers
11Hardtop Containers
12Insulated Containers
13Tunnel Containers
14Platform Containers
15Flat rack Containers

These containers are used to transport different types of goods as per convenience, coastwise, and time-saving parameters.

Each type of container is manufactured as per the customer’s requirements. You need to inform your freight forwarder or shipping line which type of container you need.

Now let’s understand each type of container uses one by one.

Standard Dry Containers.

Mainly two types of standard dry containers are there, 20’ and 40’ which are suitable for most types of cargo. 45’ dry containers are also available to transport lengthy cargoes.

Standard dry containers are used to transport goods by road, rail, or water.

Almost all cargo containers are built by the specification requirements of TIR/CCC agreements and the International Convention of Safe Containers.

Lashing rings are available on the inner side of most containers. Anti-corrosive steel plates used in the container can minimize rusting.

The payload details are indicated on the side or near the opening door of dry containers.

However, the rules and regulations on maximum weight conditions may differ from country to country and state to state.

Open Top Containers.

Open Top Containers are used to transport over height or lengthy cargo or both. In open-top containers, packing and unpacking are easy by crane or crab.

For flexibility to load and unload, open containers have end doors.

Oversized cargo such as machinery, timber, steel, scrap metals, etc. can be loaded easily from the top in an open-top container.

Since the container doors can be removed, stuffing and de-stuffing of goods make it easier.

The metal beam above the door can be removed to the right or left and can also be dismantled from the container.

The top side of open-top containers is covered with a removable, weatherproof tarpaulin that can be secured with ropes.

The top of open-top containers does not have a solid roof. Lashing rings at the inside base of the container are used to secure and prevent the shifting of cargo during movement.

High cube Containers.

High cube containers are almost similar to other cargo containers except for height. Compared to other standard containers, high cube containers are taller.

The approximate height of high cube containers is 2896mm (9feet 6 inches) whereas the approximate height of other containers2591mm (8 feet 6 inches).

High cube containers are available in 40’ long commonly and 45’ long rarely.

High cube containers are manufactured with 14 gauge corrugated steel panels with double doors on one end.

Tob ear loads, lashing rings are mounted on the front top end rail and bottom cross member and corner posts of high cube containers for easy transportation, gooseneck tunnels at each end are fixed in a 40’ high cube Container.

The height of high cube containers is 1’ (one foot) additional than other standard containers.

So over height cargo up to that level can be shipped out in high cube containers.

Apart from that, high cube containers are suitable to move lightweight cargo, whose volume is high. All types of dry cargo are stuffed in high cube containers generally.

Refrigerated Containers (Reefer Containers).

Reefer containers are used to transport goods where temperature conditions to be controlled. Temperature-sensitive cargo such as vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products, etc. is transported in reefer container generally.

When a reefer container is moved by road, a power generator run by fuel is connected with trailer carrying reefer container.

This electric power generator supports reefer container to maintain temperature.

A capacity of up to 25 degrees Celsius temperature (plus or minus) can be controlled by a reefer container.

Special super-freeze reefers can keep goods frozen at temperatures as low as -60 degrees C.

The temperature display is attached to the outside of the refrigeration unit, so that operation of the unit may be checked at any time.

In order to remove heat generated by the refrigerator unit, some of the refrigerated containers have water cooling system which is helpful where no adequate ventilation available, especially below deck on the vessel. Since water cooling arrangements are expensive, the method of ventilation arrangements to remove heat is adopted widely.

GOH Containers (Garments on hanger containers).

In GOH containers, (Garments On Hanger Containers), arrangements to use string or bar or combination of string and bar are available.

So, Garments On Hanger containers are flexible, have greater loading capacity, and minimize transportation and handling costs.

GOH containers (hangtainers) are useful mainly for apparel exporters who can save a good amount of time, labor, and money.

Garment On-Hanger containers are connected with racks and poles by screws and nuts to enable the garments to be loaded safely.

The clothing cover is made of plastic covers inner sides and dryer hanged on every pole which is dustproof.

The systematic arrangements of horizontal poles on the roof of GOH containers help to load the maximum volume of garments.

The garments can be directly hanged by using hooks as GOH container poles hang buckles, nylon straps, or ropes.

Open Side Containers.

An Open sided container has two sets of double doors at the lengthy side. Such two doors are arranged to open the entire length of the container with complete access to the container for loading and unloading.

However, in exceptional cases, three doors open-sided container is also manufactured to facilitate customers to meet their requirements.

The side doors are manufactured to open either an eight feet opening or a twenty feet opening for a 20’ container as per requirements.

The doors of the open-sided containers are made from flat steel panels instead of heavier corrugated steel which is compatible with storage use, as the doors are opened and closed regularly.

The security lock box over the padlock provides better protection. The rubber seals fitted at each door opening location helps not enter water or moisture into the container.

The major advantage of open side containers is that the oversized equipment can be fit.

Another advantage of an open-sided container is that the amount of space can be utilized to its maximum. Apart from that, the stuffing and de stuffing are faster than other types of container.

The bigger size of goods can be easily fit into an open side container, unlike other standard containers. Another benefit of an open side container is that the sorting of goods can be easily done without offloading all items in the container.

Normally 20’ and 40’ open side containers are available. 40’ high cube open side containers are also available as per customer need.

Tank Containers.

Tank containers are normally used to transport liquid products, powders and gas both hazardous and non hazardous products.

Tank containers are made of stainless steel with a protective layer of aluminum and polyurethane.

The capacity of a fuel tank container varies from 27000 liters to 40000 liters.

Both smaller and larger fuel tank containers are available.

Approximately 4 lacks to 450000 are available at present which is owned by operators and leasing companies such as Stolt Tank Containers, Hoyer, Bulk haul, Newport and VOTG, etc all over the world.

Most of the tank containers are manufactured as per ISO standard. 

The Air net Inlet valve is fixed to the top of the tank and used as a pressure device during loading and a recovery device during loading. 

Three closures in a typically tank container protect from leakage of product. 

The pressure testing is done before loading to make sure about leakage and confirm all valves are operational. 

A pressure relief valve fitted on the tank protects the tank against excess pressure or vacuum. A metal gauze fitted over the SRV(s) when carrying flammable products permits to be expelled but stops flash back.

Dimensioned frames fabricated from the tensile carbon steel and comply with ISO dimension. 

The Data (CSC plates) shows details of the tank container which includes current test data, manufacturer, weight  and capacity. 

Document hold which is a sealed tube fixed to the frame of the tank for carriage of pertinent documents like Certificate Of Analysis, Cleaning certificate etc.

Half-height Containers.

Generally, half-height containers are used to transport heavy cargo. Half-height containers are also used to move vehicles.

The half height containers are useful to transport over height goods, pipes, tools, and other equipment. Half-height containers are used to transport gravel, sand, etc. locally.

Like other containers, half height containers are also manufactured as per DNV standandards. Certified slings complete wiht shackles, multiple internal ties down points for security and safety, net securing points, cargo restraining nets, anti-slip surfaces on floors, forklift pockets, etc. are some of the features of half height container.

Ventilated Containers.

The Ventilated Container is used for cargo that needs ventilation. 

The commodity such as Green Coffee beans which requires ventilation on transit can be transported by Ventilated Containers, hence the name of ventilated containers are also known as coffee containers. 

Cocoa beans and other organic goods with high moisture contents can be moved with ventilated containers.

Car Carrier Containers.

Car carrier containers are used to move cars by road and rail. However, in exceptional cases, the car carrier containers are used to ship by sea also. 

Generally, RORO (Role On Roll Off) shipping arrangements are done to move cars and other automobiles by sea. 

Under RORO shipping,  vehicles are directly driven on to RORO vessel.  Compared to the shipment of automobiles with car carrier containers, the cost of transportation is less in RORO shipping.

Although  the term car carrier container is used, almost all types of  automobile vehicles can be transported in such containers by making necessary changes in manufacture.Hardtop Containers.

Lashing rings, to which the cargo may be secured, are installed in the upper and lower side rails, the corner posts, and the middle of the side walls.

The lashing rings on the side rails and corner posts of the hard top container may take loads of up to 2000 kg. The lashing rings in the middle of the side walls may take loads of up to 500 kg, if roof is closed.

Insulated Containers.

Insulated containers protect goods from temperature which are used to move cargo such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, foods, etc.

The thin wall of a standard dry container may be affected by the external climate severely on hot summer days due to a lot of heat and severe cold in the winter season.

An insulated container helps to maintain consistent internal temperature up to some extent.

The standard container can also be temporarily made insulated by covering inner part of body with necessary insulating materials.

In-built insulated containers are generally available in 20’ and 40’. However, customization is available with all insulated container manufacturers.

An insulated container also prevents rainwater from getting inside the container and minimizes condensation, especially at the door opening area.

The durability of storage (long term storage) is another advantage of insulated container.

Tunnel Containers.

The Tunnel containers have eight feet ends at both sides which looks like a tunnel when both sets of doors are open.

In some locations, tunnel containers are also known as tunnel liners, double-enders containers, or double end door containers.

Stuffing and de-stuffing are easy in a tunnel container due to their accessibility than in a standard container.

The cargo can be loaded and unloaded from both ends of doors.

Small and many packages can be easily stuffed and de stuffed.

A partition in the middle of the container can be made for any specific cargo to be loaded and unloaded easily.

Generally, the tunnel containers are available in 20’ .

The tunnel containers of 10ft x 8ft – 20ft x 8ft – and 40ft x 8ft are also available.

Standard shipping containers and high cube cargo containers are also converted into tunnel container units as per requirements.

The present business world is 100% customization.

So the container manufacturers are ready to make any types, sizes, and other facilities as per the requirements of the customer.

Platform Containers.

Normally platform containers are used to transport goods that are of heavy weight in small areas.

Platform containers are also useful to load odd-sized cargo.

Generally, the platform containers are used to move machinery, oil and gas equipment, and other heavy-weight equipment. Like other cargo containers, platform containers also comply with ISO standards for domestic and international transportation.

For easy transportation and movement by road, 40’ platform containers have gooseneck tunnels at each end of container.

These recesses allow the containers to lie lower and therefore to be of taller construction.

For more security on loads, lashing rings are fixed in the side rails of platform containers. All platform containers have fork pocket holes for easy handling

Flat rack Containers.

Since the container is a flat track, proper lashing of cargo is required. So many lashing rings are fixed in the side rails of a flat track container.

The Flat Track Containers are available with forklift pockets also. For easy transportation, gooseneck tunnels at each end are fixed in a 40’ Flat Track Container.

Some of the Flat Track Containers are available with lashing winches with lashing belts. For the movement of certain special cargo, stanchions are required and some of the Flat Track Container owners provide such stanchions.

If goods are to be loaded from the top or sides of the container, Flat Track Containers are suitable.

Normally, machinery, pipes, timber, steel, etc. are loaded in a Flat Track Container. The heavy-weight cargo can easily be loaded in a flat track container compared to other types of containers.

These are the most common types of containers used for importing and exporting goods.

There are many other types of containers that are also available in the market but I only include the most used containers.

Still you have any query regarding related to types of containers I mentioned here or you want to add details of any other types of conatners please don’t forget to comment in the comment box.

I hope now you understand what are the different types of Containers used for import and export goods from one country to another country. If anyone has any suggestions or queries please comment in the comment box.

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