5 Different Types of Shipping Containers, and Why They Are Important
Feb 2024

5 Different Types of Shipping Containers, and Why They Are Important

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With globalization at an all-time high and e-commerce right on par, it is no surprise that there are increasingly more freight ships transporting items of every type imaginable from port to port and place to place.

In fact, roughly 90% of all the world’s cargo is transported via ships. With such a huge demand for cargo ships, it’s no wonder that the development of shipping containers has also skyrocketed.

The shipping industry is undoubtedly one of the largest, most significant, and far-reaching industries worldwide. At the heart of this complex machine are shipping containers, which serve as an essential component in the transportation of goods across the globe.

As these units play such a big role, and since the industry is so multifaceted, there are many different types of shipping containers that are regularly used. Thus, these containers vary in terms of their sizes and designs, as well as in their functions.

What are the most common shipping container types, and why are they important?

Each of the different types of shipping containers is vital for its own reasons. That being said, there are a few distinct types of containers that are especially significant, even more so than the rest, due to matters such as their frequency and extensiveness of use.

The following are some of the most common types of shipping containers in the industry, as well as some of the reasons why they are so important:

1. General purpose containers

General purpose containers, otherwise known as “dry containers,” are fully enclosed units with a rigid roof, sidewalls, and floor. These are one of the most common types by far. They get their nickname due to the fact that they are weatherproof, protecting their contents from the elements, including rain, wind, and snow.

These containers are typically used to load most types of standard cargo. They can also be modified with liner bags or flexible tanks to allow them to ship some types of liquid bulk cargo or dry bulk cargo.

2. Flat rack containers

Another one of the most common and simple shipping container types available is the flat rack container, which gets its name from the fact that its collapsible sides can be folded to form a flat rack.

These containers are often used to ship oversized goods, including heavy machinery, tracked vehicles, construction materials, and big reels, since these containers’ end walls are stable enough to allow cargo securing.

In fact, this container’s carrying capacity is one of its most essential features, as certain 40-foot flat rack shipping containers can comfortably hold up to 45 metric tons of cargo.

3. Open top containers

As you probably guessed based on their name, open-top containers are equipped with a convertible top that can be taken right off.

Due to its clever design, this container is suitable for shipping or storing large cargo that typically cannot be loaded through the unit’s door, such as bulky finished products that can only be loaded with a crane or a rolling bridge or various types of tall machinery. It is also good for storing hazardous materials, as its open-top makes proper ventilation possible.

Any cargo that is stored in this container can be secured with the lashing rings that are installed on the upper and lower side rails and corner posts. Most of the time, these containers are available in 20-foot and 40-foot options.

4. High cube containers

High cube containers are essentially the same as general-purpose containers in terms of their design and function, with the exception of one key difference: their extra foot of height.

In addition to this extra height, high cube containers come in a wider range of lengths, ranging from 40 to 53 feet. This makes them ideal for larger volume capacity, such as the storage of big machinery or furniture.

Most of the time, these containers are designed with a small recess in the floor extending from the front end to the centre on a so-called gooseneck chassis, which makes it possible for it to lie lower and be taller.

5. ISO tank containers

Tank containers, also known as “tankers,” are often used to transport liquids and gasses, such as crude oil, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. They are made of strong, thick steel, and they are lined with anticorrosive materials like rubber or plastic.

In addition to keeping the container’s contents from leaking, these materials also keep the cargo from being contaminated. These containers, which are often transported by train or truck, tend to be much larger and can hold up to 80,000 gallons of liquid.

How Sigma Container Corporation Can Help You Find Various Types of Shipping Containers

Although the various uses mentioned above are what these shipping containers are initially designed for, these units are also ideal for use as portable storage spaces.

If you would like to leverage the strength, durability, and security of these units to conveniently store your belongings, and you require shipping containers for rent, Sigma Container Corporation can help you find exactly what you are looking for. The best types of units for such use are general-purpose standard containers and high cube containers, both of which we offer.

Our shipping containers, available for purchase or rent, come in various sizes, so no matter how much you have to store, we can accommodate your needs. Our containers are also equipped with anti-theft secure padlock boxes so that you can store your things with confidence.

We will deliver your shipping container of choice directly to you for maximum convenience. If you need it moved to a different location at some point, we can even help facilitate that transition.

For more information about our shipping containers for rent, or to learn more about our competitive pricing options, call Sigma Container Corporation at 855-340-3342 or contact us here.