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Shipping Container Types

8 Most Common Shipping Container Types

If you are actively looking for a used shipping container, you will be surprised to realize that there are several types of containers on the market. Perhaps even some types of containers may be more suitable for your application and therefore limit the number of modifications to be made. Here we give you an overview of all the different types of shipping containers that exist.

Most Common Shipping Container Types

Some shipping containers are more versatile than others and can be used for various applications. This is why they are more frequently found on the used container market. Here is a list of the most common types of containers.

1. Standard Dry Container

The standard shipping container typically comes in 10-ft, 20-ft, and 40-ft lengths. The 20-foot container is often referred to as a Conex box. It can hold about 25,000 kg and has a cubic measurement of 33.2 meters cubed. It holds 10 North American standard pallets. These types of shipping containers are made of steel or aluminum and are designed to be waterproof and airtight. They’re highly secure, and also cost-efficient. The 40-foot box is preferred nowadays, but the 20-foot box is still in use.

Standard shipping containers are without a doubt the most popular and versatile. With just a few modifications, they can become an office, a pop-up kiosk, a restaurant, serve as event walls or storage space, and even be turned into a home.

2. High Cube Containers

High cube containers are just one foot higher than standard containers, giving you a little more space while still maintaining standard lengths. These containers generally only come in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths. The extra height adds a lot of extra space to the container and can represent an interesting option if you plan to use the container as storage space.

3. Flat Rack Containers

A flat rack container is a shipping container for items that may not fit in the standard dry container. It only has walls or posts on the ends of the container to secure the cargo, which is typically heavy and bulky. This container doesn’t have a top. It’s appropriate for construction equipment or oversized vehicles.

Flat Rack Shipping Container

4. Open Top Container

An open-top shipping container has a convertible top that can be opened while shipping when cargo is too high for a standard dry container. It can also be opened to load or unload heavier items with a crane.

5. ISO Reefer (Refrigerated Container)

A reefer container is used to ship goods that require temperature control, such as medicine or food. These types of shipping containers usually only come in 20-feet and 40-feet lengths. Most will require an external power source to maintain steady temperatures throughout the process.

Conteneur maritime réfrigéré sur camion

6. Insulated Containers

Insulated containers prevent damages due to temperature fluctuations during transport. Condensation is also minimized in these containers, to prevent food from rotting prematurely. The walls are typically vacuumed as part of the process to ensure the inside temperatures are maintained.

The difference between insulated containers and reefers is that reefers generally have a motor and rely on a power source to maintain the right temperature. The insulated container is just a big insulated box, much like an ice chest. Dry or regular ice can be added to an insulated container to help keep the inside cooler during transit.

7. Open Side Container

An open side container is similar to a dry container with one exception. The long sides open up to allow for easier access inside. If you have longer cargo or are shipping machinery, this type of container can make loading and unloading simpler. It can also give you more access to cargo inside the container if you are using it for storage.

Because the side doors allow for more open space, this type of container can be a good option for those who would like to create a pop-up retail store. It can also be interesting for those who would like to build a workshop or store equipment on a construction site.

Conteneur maritime à ouverture latérale

8. Double Doors Container or Tunnel

This type of container has doors on both short ends of the container allowing for quicker unloading and loading. Some companies use tunnel containers to have more access to the unit. These containers only come in 20-foot or 40-foot lengths.

Some businesses in the tourism sector could benefit from this type of container by installing, for example, entrance gates to their site. Because a vehicle can drive through without having to back up, this type of container could also be suitable for companies wishing to store equipment on wheels.

Special Purposes Shipping Container Types

The transportation & shipping industry also uses several other types of containers designed specifically for certain applications. Among these you’ll find:

Tanks & Drums – These types of storage containers haul liquid materials. They are usually made of strong steel or other non-corrosive materials. The tank must be filled at 80% or more for safe transit. Normally, 5% of the container is left empty for expansion of the liquid if it gets warm. Drums are simply smaller units that fit into the modular system.

Bulktainer – A bulktainer fits into the intermodal standard, but it carries liquid or gaseous materials, such as chemicals, slurries, and even fluidizable solids. Each bulktainer can be made to carry specific materials for safety and security.

Cargo Storage Roll – This type of container is made of mesh and is foldable. It’s set on wheels designed to transport sets of materials for easy mobility.

Car Carriers – These containers are designed to transport cars over long distances. The sides are usually collapsible, allowing cars to be tightly packed for efficiency without damaging the exterior of the vehicles during shipping. The containers may not be bulletproof, but the cargo of cars is protected against the elements and vandalization.

Choosing the right container

When looking to buy a used shipping container, it is important to define your requirements for the type of application you are looking for. This information will allow you to choose the type of container that will best suit your project.

Conterm offers several shipping container types for sale or rent in Cornwall, Montreal and throughout Quebec. We can help you choose the right container and make the modifications you need. Contact us to learn more about our available shipping containers and modified shipping container services.

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