What types of shipping container are there?

Shipping containers were originally designed to store cargo to be shipped from one part of the world to another. So, the key to a good shipping container is transportability and durability: ensuring that they can withstand long journeys and being relocated whilst keeping their precious cargo protected. Their incredible durability is part of the reason they are now used for some of those most innovative design projects and temporary solutions worldwide. There is practically no end to the things you can use an ‘adopted’ container for. All it takes is creativity conversion experts. nnIn the shipping, trade and transport industries they were originally designed to store a huge range of products. As such, depending on the type of products to be shipped or the special services required, types of shipping container vary in dimensions, structure and materials. Believe it or not there are over ten different kinds. When it comes to deciding which type of shipping container solves your problem, there are many factors to consider. For a swift and easy introduction into the wonderfully diverse world of shipping containers, we have categorised and summarised the basic container styles for you below.nn n

Standard/General Purpose Dry Container

nAs their name suggests, standard containers are, well, the industry standard ISO container. These containers are designed to store and ship dry materials packaged in boxes and pallets. These are usually 10, 20 or 40-foot. A 10-foot container is about the right size for storing the contents of a one bedroom flat or an alternative garden shed or ‘man cave’. At 20ft they can easily store the average sized car. Anything bigger than this and you probably need to consider a 40-footer.  nn n

High Cube Container

nSlightly larger than the standard dry container both in height and width, these are ideal for storing taller items. You can get them in 40 or 45-foot which will give you over 2000 cubic feet (around 70 cubic metres) of space in volume. That’s 14000 US liquid gallons. nn n

Tunnel Container

nWith doors on both ends of the container, Double End Door Containers, or Tunnel Containers are extremely helpful in terms of accessing contents. They are excellent for storage purposes because they facilitate access to stored items from both ends. They also provide more room and increased ease when loading and unloading (especially long materials), as well as more efficient unloading. You may have seen Tunnel Units used as temporary bridges and or as ticket entrances at large events. Perhaps if doing a container conversion, these double doors could instead be for the patio window, shop counter or bar top – whatever your business plan. Available in 20 or 40-foot you can fit a lot in these.n

Open side storage container

nThese storage units are provided with doors that can change into completely open sides providing a much wider room for loading of materials. Read more about shipping container doors herenn n

Half height containers

nMade mostly of steel, these containers were designed for the transport of heavy low volume cargo on ships and trains. As you would guess, they’re half the height of full-sized containers – especially good for products like coal that need easy loading and unloading. The containers can also be used for vehicle transportation.nn n

Ventilated Container

nFor cargo that requires ventilation, typically 20-foot these are traditionally used to transport green coffee beans or similar cargo.nn n

Refrigerated Container

nYour temperature regulated container could come in 20 or 40-foot form. Traditionally it would be for cargo that requires temperature control / perishable items. They always have a carefully controlled low temperature. They would be fantastic for long distance, by bulk grocery shopping – think about it a 20-foot refrigerated container could store a full car’s worth of groceries! Or you could used them to store your shop or cafe stock? nn n

Insulated or thermal containers

nIn direct contrast to Refrigerated Containers, these come with a regulated temperature control allowing them to maintain a higher temperature. They’re great for long distance transportation of sensitive products that need to be kept within a specific temperature range.nn n

Open-Top Container

nThese 20 or 40-foot containers have removable bows and a tarpaulin roof rather that a solid roof. The tarpaulin can be secured with ropes and protect cargo from the weather but allows for a significantly simplified loading and unloading process. Open top containers are ideal for top loading for excessively bulky, long or high cargo such as large machinery. With a convertible top that can be completely removed to make an open top so that materials of any height can be shipped easily.nn n

Flat Rack Container

nWith collapsible sides, these simple storage shipping containers have sides which can be folded so as to make a flat rack for shipping of wide variety of goods. They are ideal for over-sized cargo such as heavy machinery or construction equipment and supplies and are typically 20 or 40-ft.nn n

Tank/Drum Container

nDrums containers are cylindrical and usually 20-foot and made of steel, plastic or fiber. They’re usually used for liquids and granular materials such as oils and chemicals.nnSo there you have it – a brief summary of the main types of shipping container out there. Of course, these durable, transportable steel boxes also make great self-storage units for you to rent or buy. But that is not all – it doesn’t take a huge amount of creativity and thinking outside of the box to create your container into whatever you need. Individually far from intricate, iconic pieces of architecture; that doesn’t mean they can’t be converted into such. They can provide temporary accommodation solutions both in the business and residential world during building projects and business expansion.nn nnIf you are interested in starting your own container conversion project, contact Unit Hire today. Our friendly team are here to help you modify containers for your next big idea.

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