Types of Shipping Containers: A Basic Guide to Cargo Containers

If you’re interested in a DIY container home project, it’s a must that you know the types of shipping containers on the market. This knowledge will help you determine the right type of cargo structure for your project especially if you’re looking to recycle used containers.

16 Types of Shipping Container Designs

The following video provides a brief description of each type of container and the purpose of each.

1. Dry storage container

The dry storage container is the most common and comes in various standard ISO dimensions. They are used for shipping dry goods and come in 40 ft., 20 ft. and 10 ft. lengths.

2. Flat rack container

These have collapsable sides which can be folded to ship a variety of goods.

3. Open top container

Equipped with a convertible top that can be removed, these containers can make room to ship materials of any height.

4. Tunnel container

Tunnel containers are designed with doors on both ends of the container to allow for quick loading and unloading of materials.

5. Opens side storage container

Doors that open from the side of these shipping containers provides a wider space to easily load bulky, wide shipments.

6. Double doors container

These are storage units that are built with double doors on the front and side. Their standard sizes are 20 ft. and 40 ft. in length.

7. Refrigerated ISO containers

These units are temperature regulated cargo containers used exclusively to ship perishables like fruits and vegetables over long distances. The temperature is carefully regulated at a low temperature for best performance.

8. insulated or thermal containers

Thermal containers are designed to maintain high temperatures for the purpose of transporting products over long distance without damage to perishable materials.

9. Tanks

A large portion of the shipping industry uses these particular containers to transport liquids. The tanks are built with materials like noncorrosive steel that can withstand exposure to a variety of liquids.

10. Cargo storage roll container

A specialized storage container, these units are designed to transport sets or stacks of materials. They are made of thick, tough wire mesh and designed with rollers so they can be moved about easily.

11. Half height containers

Made of steel, these shipping containers are made half the height of standard containers. Materials like coal and stones are typically shipped in half height containers because they are easier to load and unload.

12. Car carriers

These are built especially for the shipments of cars and are designed with collapsible sides to allow vehicles to fit snugly in the container without shifting about during shipments.

13. Intermediate bulk shift containers

This is another type of specialized shipping containers that are designed for the immediate shipping of goods. They can handle large amounts of materials that will be further packed after reaching their destination.

14. Drums

These are circular shipping containers, made from a variety of materials such as steel, hard plastic, and light weight metal. They are used for the bulk transport of smaller amounts of liquids.

15. Special purpose containers

This type of cargo container is made for a specialized use such as to carry weapons. Security is the top issue and they are built to carry their intended cargo safely and securely.

16. Swap bodies

These are special containers used mostly in Europe. They are not built according to ISO standards, but are built with a strong bottom and convertible top making them suitable for shipping a wide variety of products.

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