Product Country
Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size
Freight Containers back
The pattern of cargo reception and shipment has changed with the use of the freight container---container, box or LO/LO (lift on/lift off). The use of containers, which started more than 40 years ago, in intercontinental traffic is now available in most seaports worldwide.
ISO Freight Containers :
The acronym ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The ISO freight container refers to a container complying with the ISO container standards in existence at the time of its manufacture.
Container Classifications :
Containers are available in configurations to take almost every kind of cargo and mode of transportation (ocean, air, road, and rail).
Containers for Intercontinental Use :
In terms of the type of cargo for which the containers are mainly intended, they are classified as general cargo container and specific cargo container.
General Cargo Container :
  • General purpose (dry cargo) container
  • it is suitable for the widest varieties of cargo. It is fully enclosed and weatherproof, having rigid walls, roof and floor, with at least one of its walls, either end wall (end loading) or side wall (side loading), equipped with doors.
  • Specific purpose container
  • It is used to facilitate the packing (loading) and emptying (unloading) of container other than by means of doors at one side of the container, and for other specific purposes like ventilation.
  • Closed ventilated container
  • It is used for the carriage of cargo, such as hides, that cannot stand excessive moisture. It is similar to the dry cargo container with specially designed natural or mechanical (forced) ventilation.
  • Open top container
  • It is similar to the dry cargo container except that it has no rigid roof, but has a movable or removable cover (e.g. a cover made of canvas, plastic or reinforced plastic material) supported on movable or removable roof bows. The open top container is used for machinery, sheet glass, and other heavy, bulky or long objects.
  • Platform (flat rack)
  • It does not have a superstructure, that is, rigid side walls and load-carrying structures. The term load refers to static/dynamic form of load (not cargo load) or forces arising out of the lifting, handling, secured and transporting of container. It is equipped with top and bottom corner fittings. The corner fittings (see diagram in the Dimension of General Purpose Containers) provide means of supporting, stacking, handling and securing the container. The flat rack is used for machinery, lumber, and other heavy or large objects.
  • Platform based containers open sided
Specific Cargo Container :
Thermal container (reefer) :
  • It has insulated walls, doors, roof, and floor, which limit the range of temperature loss or gain. It is used for perishable goods like meat, fruits and vegetables.
  • Insulated container
  • It does not use any device for cooling and/or heating.
  • Refrigerated container (with expendable refrigerant)
  • It uses dry ice or liquefied gases. It does not require external power supply or fuel supply.
  • Mechanically refrigerated container
  • It uses a refrigerating appliance, that is, the mechanical compressor or absorption unit.
  • Heated container
  • It uses the heater, that is, a heat-producing appliance.
  • Refrigerated and heated container
  • It uses the refrigerating appliance (mechanical or expendable refrigerant) and heater.
Tank container :
It is used for the carriage of bulk gases and liquids like chemicals.
Dry bulk container :
It is used for the carriage of dry solids in bulk without packaging, such as grains and dry chemicals. It consists of a cargo-carrying structure firmly secured within the intercontinental container framework.
Named cargo types :
It consists of various types of containers, such as automobile (car) containers and livestock (cattle and poultry) containers.
Unit Load Device (ULD) :
The unit load device (ULD) is the air equivalent of the ISO container. Due to its unique shape resembling an igloo, the ULD is sometimes called the igloo (or iglu).
The air mode containers mainly are of the IATA (International Air Transport Association) types. The popular sizes of ULD include the IATA Type:
Containerized Shipments :
The use of containers in export shipments makes the transport and handling easier and faster. The crane and gantry are commonly used in handling containers. The forklift is also used at the docks and container terminals to move the 20' and shorter dry cargo containers, which are equipped with forklift pockets---fork pockets or tine pockets.
The ports worldwide handle over 100 million TEUs annually. The unit TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) is used to express the relative number of containers based on the equivalent length of a 20' container. For example, 100 containers of 20' is 100 TEUs, while 100 containers of 40' is 200 TEUs.
The container ships used in the international traffic are designed with the cells (compartments with cell guides) resembling a honeycomb wherein the containers are placed, thus named cellular container ships.
The ships are bigger and faster nowadays, especially those used in the deep-sea voyage (long haul). Those rated below 20 knots are common in the short-sea voyage (short haul). The knot is a unit of ship's speed, being one nautical mile per hour. One nautical mile is 1.852 kilometers. A ship that steams at 20 knots is moving at a speed of about 37 kilometers per hour.
Some cellular container ships in the 20 to 23 knot range can accommodate 2,000 to 3,000 TEUs. Some rated 24 knots have a carrying capacity of 4,000 to 4,900 TEUs and load of 56,000 to 75,000 metric tons. The length of the vessel can be about 900' (275 meters) and the beam---the widest part of a ship---can be about 125' (38 meters). The size of vessel is huge compare to a standard football field having a goal line of 300' (91.44 meters) and an end line of 160' (48.77 meters).
Convenience of Containers in Multimodal Transport and Transhipment :
Containers are designed to facilitate the carriage of goods without intermediate reloading. They are fitted with devices permitting their ready handling, particularly in the multimodal transport and transshipment (the word "transshipment " is also written with two letter 's' as "transshipment").
The prefix 'multi-' means at least two or many. The term mode refers to the way or means. Multimodal transport means at least two different modes of transportation. In export shipping, it refers to delivery using a combination of usually ocean and land (rail or road) carriers, and using only one shipping document known as through bill of lading or combined transport bill of lading, issued usually by the ocean shipping company or its agent.
Theft, Pilferage, Damage, and Insurance :
The cargo security of container shipments against theft, pilferage and damage is improved, especially in the CY/CY container service. Hence, the cargo insurance in a container shipment generally is lower than in a break-bulk shipment.
The metal seal that is provided by the carrier and used in securing the container doors is tamperproof, but it is easily removed. In some countries, the importer's customs broker may use padlocks to secure the doors of container for their client once the FCL (full container load) shipment reached the destination port.
Importer's Specified Container Shipping Company :
Importers may specify in the purchase order and/or the letter of credit (L/C) the container shipping company or the vessel to use for their shipment. Big importers, such as chain stores, and large shippers may have a contract with the shipping company to deliver an annual minimum TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) at preferred or discounted freight rates.
Container Size, Number and Load Options :
The cargo weight and cube influence the size and number of containers needed for an order. The term cube refers to the cubic measurement of cargo.
From the analysis in the Case Sample: Container Selection (1) below, it is obvious that not all 1,500 cartons (2,250 cu. ft. or 63.713 CBM) will fit into two 20' containers or one 40' standard container. A solution is to request the importer to adjust the order to 1,365 cartons (2,047.5 cu. ft or 57.979 CBM) to make one 40' FCL (full container load), in case the high cube container (the hicube) is not available. The alternate solution is to use a 40' hicube. However,
  • not all shipping companies and sea routes have the hicube,
  • there are legal limitations to the overall height of a vehicle in certain areas (e.g, tunnel and underpass) and countries
  • the FCL (full container load) freight rate of hicube is higher than the standard container.
Some of the shipping companies having high cube containers include :
  • APL (U.S.A.)
  • Evergreen (Taiwan)
  • Hanjin (South Korea)
  • Hapag-Lloyd (Germany)
  • "K" Line (Japan)
  • Maersk (Denmark)
  • NYK (Japan)
  • OOCL (Hong Kong-Taiwan)
  • Sea-Land (U.S.A.)