Shipping Details: What are the Different Types of Containers Used for Shipping?

In 2019 alone, ports worldwide processed 811 million TUEs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) of shipping containers. These containers carry everything from cars and bicycles to TVs and kid’s toys.

In fact, there are dozens of different types of containers. So it pays to know your reefer from your tank and your flat-rack from your open-top when it comes to shipping efficiently.

Below, we share with you some details about the most common containers used in shipping today. So read on!

Shipping or Dry Storage Container

If you have a large inventory to move between ports, you might be wondering how to ship many packages at once. A dry storage container (also known as a shipping container) is the ideal way.

This kind of container is what probably springs to mind when you think of ocean shipping. It comes in three standard sizes, 20, 40, and 45 feet, and is suitable for moving non-perishable items and products.

Once a cargo ship arrives in port, these containers are lifted directly off the boat and onto trucks. From there, they head to a warehouse for storage and distribution.

Refrigerated Container

Are you managing the shipping of products that need to be kept chilled or frozen? Then, a reefer container is a solution for you! These containers are typically used for transporting food, botanicals, and pharmaceuticals.

They rely on an external power source to keep the refrigeration unit running. When the containers are on a ship, it can “plugin” to the mains power. But when they’re transported overland, they’re powered by generators.

These containers are insulated, and internal temperatures can get as low as -85 °F. If you’re curious about the cost to buy this or any other container types, click here.

Flat Rack Container

When it comes to managing shipping orders, this one can’t be beaten. If you have oversized or uniquely dimensioned goods, consider renting space in a flat pack container.

These 20 or 40-foot containers have only two sides and an open top. Given this, they’re crafted from reinforced steel for strength and durability.

These containers are the IKEA furniture of the shipping world because, in some cases, they can be completely collapsed for easy storage when not in use.

Open Top Container

If you’re wondering how to save on shipping orders of tall products, an open-topped container might save the day–and your budget.

This type of container has no roof. Instead, the open space is covered by a heavy tarp, awning, or removable plastic cover. This means you can load the container from the top using a forklift truck or crane.

Types of Containers: Managing Tips

If you’re looking to send items via ocean freight, it pays to know your types of containers. Not only do they vary in size and cost, but the kind you require depends on what you’re sending and what ships you can access. If you’re looking to buy containers for repurposing on land, you’ll need a high cube or standard dry model.

For more helpful information on international shipping, check out the other articles on our blog.