Most Common Shipping Container Types you Must Know | LOTUS Containers

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Shipping containers are known as the indisputable king of the logistics and supply chain and their invention has given the world a new life. The world before the advent of these steel boxes was definitely on the urge to grow and evolve but the growth was taking place at a very slow pace. The invention of shipping containers dates back to 1956 when an American truck entrepreneur, Malcolm McLean, stood firm on the old said quote- ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’. There are certain shipping container types that every shipper must know about.

Malcolm McLean noticed people waiting for hours and days to load their goods on the deck. McLean considered the loading of each cargo separately on the deck as a foolish idea and thought why not load the entire truck at one go. No one believed the velocity of his thought at that time but that very silly idea later gave rise to a more economical and customized transportation of freight over long roaring seas with much ease. Intermodal transportation was also reformed with the shipping container industry being a major source of revenue for the world economy.

Ever since its invention, the shipping container industry has evolved to a great extent giving shippers and businesses a plethora of different shipping container types. These have not just given the world options to choose from but have made the possibility to transport anything. From machines, construction materials, foods, chemicals, toxic materials to even biological products like organs and blood, each product now has dedicated categories and dimensions.

Laying down the list of the top 12 different shipping container types you must know:

Dry Van: Dry van is also known as the standard container and is considered the most versatile container type. It is used for the storage and transportation of a wide range of products including heavy and bulky cargoes. It opens at the rear and has two leaf doors allowing easy access to loading and unloading of goods.

Pallet Wide: Pallet wide containers are slightly wider than the standard shipping boxes, allowing three to six pallets more to accommodate cargo. They allow better stowage and reducing the risk of cargo slipping. They are available in a variety of dimensions like 20, 40 feet, high cube, etc.

Double Door: Unlike other shipping boxes, a double-door shipping container specializes in its both-side opening facility. These containers are very durable and the doors at both ends make the loading of goods seamless and flexible. They can be separated into different compartments and are also ideally used for the storage of cargo.

Side Door: Side-door are the containers whose one side along the length can be fully or partially opened allowing easy accessibility of goods. The sides are made either of steel or tarpaulin. They are suitable for transportation as well as storage and also allow the freight to be loaded and discharged from the side.

Open Top: These got the name open-top because their roof is made up of tarpaulin instead of a solid ceiling. The roof can be opened and goods can be loaded from the top through a crane and forklift. The open-top container is perfectly suited for those cargoes that are extra in height and those goods which cannot be transported into any other freight container.

Hard Top Open Top: These are almost similar in function to the open-top containers the only difference is that it offers some added benefit of loading cargo from the top and come with a removable steel roof. For the cargo exceeding the height of the boxes, these are the best. In such a case, the removable top roof is detached entirely and is placed along the wall of one side.

Flat Rack Containers: Flat rack is one of the most versatile container types allowing the storage and transportation of heavy and wide cargoes with utmost flexibility as they have only two walls at their shorter sides. They come in two different types- collapsible and non-collapsible. The two ends of the collapsible flat rack can be removed and used as a platform.

Platform: Platform containers have only a floor and no walls. These are similar to the flat rack containers but unlike them, they can also accommodate cargoes that exceed the surface area. This container variant is perfect for extremely heavy-duty cargo that is unique and cannot be fitted to any other shipping container type.

Insulated Containers: To transport temperature-sensitive products, insulated containers stand at the forefront. They do not have any refrigeration unit but their insulated packing helps them to maintain temperature for long.

Reefers: Unlike insulated containers, reefer containers have an inbuilt refrigeration unit and thus can maintain temperatures ranging from -25°C to +30°C. Stuff like chemicals, organs, blood, dry ice, and other temperature-sensitive product can be easily transported in them.

Bulkers: These containers are specifically designed for the transportation of goods like grains, malts, coffee beans, sand, etc. The goods are loaded via a small opening on its roof and discharged via small hatches below the doors.

Tankers: Tankers have given away liquid and gaseous cargoes that cannot be transported in any other container. They carry products ranging from oils, gases to hazardous chemicals. They comprise a container frame and an integrated tank vessel and the liquids that are shipped in tank containers are discharged via a valve outlet.

These are the major shipping container types that one needs to know about before they decide on which cargo unit is the best fit for your shipping container requirements. LOTUS Containers is a container supplying company that provides you superior quality shipping containers on sale and lease and you can make a choice that suits you best.


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