Common Types of Shipping Containers


Like any other form of transportation and storage, shipping containers come in many shapes and sizes. These can cater to the varying needs of the customers, different shipping purposes, and even the type of shipment. If you have trouble choosing the best type of container for your shipment, here is a guide to help you.

The Standard Containers

These containers are also known as Dry Shipping containers and are the most common and widely available type. They come in two sizes; 20ft shipping container and 40ft shipping container, although smaller ISO certified versions of the standard container are also available. Although standard containers are usually used to transport dry goods, they can also be used to transport other goods.

Refrigerated Shipping containers

Refrigerated containers come in different sizes, with varying heights, although finding smaller sizes in this category is not as easy. These containers are specially designed for perishable goods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as medicines, or other items that may require a controlled temperature. They are insulated and, unlike their name, can keep things at a controlled temperature, which may be hot or cold.

Open Top Shipping Container

These containers are different from the typical standard containers in their looks; they have no fixed top or roof. They can have a hard top, which, similar to the standard container; is made out of steel, or a soft roof; made out of tarp. These containers are used to ship items that, with a fixed roof, will not fit into the container. Another application for an open top container includes the items that will be loaded from the top. Slabs of minerals or marbles, such as granite are one example of this.

Flat Rack Shipping containers

As the name implies, these containers can be folded flat. These come in the standard 20 feet and 40 feet size for shipping containers, although custom sizes can also be availed on special order. These are very robust, and the collapsible sides allow for easy transportation. These are usually used for heavy weight machinery and construction equipment as well as for transporting large vehicles, such as trucks.


Tanks are also a type of shipping containers, designed to hold liquids. These liquid storage containers are, similar to dry storage containers, made out of corrosive materials such as steel. These tanks are often used to ship crude oil, petroleum or other liquid oil products, as well as chemicals, from one country to another. They have a capacity of 7000 to about 15000 gallons or more of liquids. However, these tanks require special care while being loaded and unloaded, as well as special checks to ensure that it does not leak, and will be able to hold the liquid.

These are some of the most common types of containers being shipped all across the world, and vary not only in their sizes, or capacity, but are designed for different purposes. Choose the most suitable container, not just based on its size, but its purpose. Shipping container prices will also vary depending on the size, type, and condition of the container.

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