Boxes and Tanks: The Different Types of Shipping Containers

For the shipping industry, as well as those in trade and transport, intermodal container units or shipping containers form an essential part of their services. These structures are used to store a variety of products that have to be shipped from one part of the globe to another. They are essential in protecting the contents of your shipment during their long journey. They make sure that your deliveries make it to their destination in one piece.

Before looking up container lifting systems for your business, here are some of the different types of shipping containers being used at present to ensure that you would be able to choose the most appropriate kind for your shipping needs.

General purpose dry storage containers

This is the most common type of container unit utilised by the shipping industry to transport dry materials. They are usually used for storing cartons, boxes, pallets, sacks, cases, bales, and drums, among others. Dry vans also have two special interior layouts, namely: rolling floor containers used for cargo that are difficult to handle, and garmentainers for transporting garments that are on hangers.

Temperature-controlled containers

These containers have the temperature inside them regulated to ensure the freshness of perishable products like fruits and vegetables. They are essentially dry vans but with the carefully controlled low temperature inside especially when shipping over long distances.


For transporting liquid or gas materials, tanks are usually the container storage unit of choice and are used by a big portion of the transport industry. Often made from steel or other anti-corrosive material, these container units have a long life expectancy and could offer effective protection to the materials. They are frequently used in transporting dangerous goods.

Open-top and open-side containers

For easily transporting materials of any height, open-top containers have a convertible top that could be removed. They are usually used for effortless loading of oversized pallets or heavy machinery. Open-side containers have doors that could be changed into entirely open sides to make more room for loading of products. The open sides are also utilised for ventilation of perishables like potatoes or apples.

Half height containers

This type of shipping unit is half the height of full-sized containers. They are usually made of steel and are mainly utilised for transporting goods like stones, coals, etc. which need to be loaded and unloaded quickly.


man wearing vest checking drum containersOften made from materials like steel, fibre, lightweight metals, and hard plastic, among others, these circular container units are usually used for transporting bulk quantities of liquid materials. While they are small in size, they tend to take up extra space because of their shape.

Car carriers

Constructed especially for transporting car shipments over long distances, these shipping containers are made with collapsible sides that would help fit a car perfectly inside without running the risk of it moving or being damaged.

Special purpose containers

Custom made to serve specialised purposes; these shipping containers are used for transporting high profile shipments like weapons. Because of their nature, their material compositions, as well as construction, are highly dependent on the special purpose they have to cater to. However, in most cases, the top priority in their construction is security.

An important part of the shipping industry, container units are used to store and protect different products that have to be delivered over long distances. Intermodal container units vary in size, materials, structure, etc. Because of this, there is a need for you to get to know the different types of shipping containers so that you would be able to choose the one that would best suit your shipping needs.

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