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Published : December 14, 2023, Updated : December 14, 2023

31 Types of Containers used in International Shipping

31 Types of Containers used in International Shipping

Dive into the world of international shipping with our simple guide to 31 types of containers. From regular ones to special ones, discover how each box helps move things around the world.

Whether you’re just starting to learn about shipping or you’re already a pro, explore how these containers make sending and receiving goods easier and more organized across the globe.

What are Shipping Containers?

Shipping containers are standardized, durable metal boxes designed for transporting goods by sea, land, or rail. Available in various sizes, they provide a secure and efficient means of transporting diverse cargo, ensuring uniformity in logistics and global trade.

Different Types of Shipping Containers

Learn about 31 types of containers used in International Shipping below:

Dry Van Container

The Dry Van Container stands as the workhorse of shipping, offering a secure haven for diverse cargo. This standard container, known for its versatility, provides a sealed and weatherproof environment, shielding goods from the elements and ensuring their safe journey.

With a robust design, it serves as the go-to choice for transporting general cargo globally. Its ubiquitous presence and reliability make it the cornerstone of international trade, offering a dependable solution for the seamless transportation of various goods across vast distances.

High Cube Container

The High Cube Container elevates shipping possibilities by providing a taller alternative to the standard container. With an additional height dimension, this specialized container unlocks more vertical space, accommodating larger and bulkier cargo with ease.

Its versatility addresses the evolving needs of industries, allowing efficient transportation of items that require extra clearance. Whether it’s machinery, equipment, or unique goods, the High Cube Container stands tall, quite literally, as an essential solution for maximizing cargo capacity and ensuring a smooth flow in the global logistics network.

Reefer Container

The Reefer Container emerges as a technological marvel in the shipping realm, serving as a temperature-controlled haven for perishable goods. This specialized container features advanced refrigeration systems, ensuring a consistent and optimal environment for transporting temperature-sensitive cargo.

From fresh produce to pharmaceuticals, the Reefer Container maintains precise temperature settings, safeguarding the integrity of goods throughout their journey. Its reliability in preserving freshness and quality makes it an indispensable asset for industries reliant on the seamless transport of perishable items, ensuring goods arrive in prime condition.

Open Top Container

The Open Top Container redefines cargo versatility, offering a unique design with a removable top that facilitates effortless loading of oversized or heavy items. This innovative container provides flexibility for unconventional shipments, allowing goods that exceed standard dimensions to be easily accommodated. Its adaptable structure simplifies the loading process, making it an ideal choice for items such as machinery or large equipment.

The Open Top Container stands as a solution for streamlined logistics, ensuring the efficient transport of bulkier cargo that may pose challenges in traditional containers.

Flat Rack Container

The Flat Rack Container emerges as a dynamic solution for transporting oversized or hefty cargo, featuring collapsible sides that redefine adaptability. This specialized container’s sides can be folded down, transforming it into a flatbed, enabling easy loading and unloading of unconventional goods.

Whether it’s industrial equipment, machinery, or large components, the Flat Rack Container provides a secure and versatile platform. Its design streamlines logistics, offering a tailored solution for items that deviate from standard dimensions, ensuring a seamless and efficient transport process for heavy or bulky cargo.

Tank Container

The Tank Container emerges as the liquid transport maestro, specifically crafted for the seamless movement of liquids. Distinguished by its cylindrical shape and insulated construction, this specialized container ensures the safe carriage of various liquids, from chemicals to food-grade products. Its cylindrical design minimizes sloshing during transit, enhancing stability.

The insulation adds a protective layer, preserving the liquids’ temperature and integrity. Whether in the chemical, food, or pharmaceutical industries, the Tank Container stands as a reliable vessel, ensuring the secure and efficient transportation of liquid cargo worldwide.

Open Side Container

The Open Side Container redefines accessibility in shipping, boasting side doors that elevate the ease of cargo handling. This specialized container ensures convenient access to the cargo within, offering a unique solution for items that require lateral loading or unloading.

With its innovative side-door feature, it becomes an ideal choice for industries dealing with unconventional or delicate goods. Whether it’s facilitating quicker loading processes or simplifying the retrieval of specific items during unloading, the Open Side Container stands as a versatile and efficient asset in the logistics landscape.

Half Height Container

The Half Height Container emerges as the heavyweight champion in cargo transport, purposefully designed for the efficient handling of dense bulk materials such as coal or ore. Characterized by its lower height, this specialized container optimizes loading and unloading processes for weighty cargo.

Its robust structure ensures secure containment and streamlined logistics for industries dealing with substantial bulk commodities. The Half Height Container stands tall in meeting the specific needs of heavy-duty cargo, providing a reliable and specialized solution for the transport of dense materials across the global shipping network.

Platform Container

The Platform Container stands as a steadfast ally for the transportation of heavy or oversized items, embodying a practical flatbed design without enclosing sides. This specialized container offers a versatile solution for the logistics of goods that exceed standard dimensions or weight limits.

Its open structure facilitates easy loading and unloading processes, making it an ideal choice for machinery, large equipment, or unconventional cargo. The Platform Container’s simplicity and adaptability make it a valuable asset in efficiently handling and transporting substantial items across diverse industries and shipping scenarios.

Double Door Container

The Double Door Container revolutionizes cargo accessibility with its innovative design featuring doors on both ends. This specialized container ensures unparalleled ease in loading and unloading processes, offering a versatile solution for industries requiring efficient access to goods from either side. Its double-door configuration streamlines logistics, making it particularly beneficial for items with specific loading requirements or tight spaces.

Whether for quick retrieval or strategic placement, the Double Door Container stands as a practical asset, enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of cargo handling in the global shipping landscape.

Ventilated Container

The Ventilated Container emerges as a breath of fresh air in cargo transportation, designed with strategic ventilation openings to cater to goods that demand airflow. This specialized container ensures the preservation of items sensitive to temperature and moisture, such as fresh produce or certain chemicals.

Its ventilation features create a controlled environment, preventing the build-up of condensation and maintaining optimal conditions during transit. Whether it’s ensuring the freshness of perishables or safeguarding delicate cargo, the Ventilated Container stands as a vital component in the secure and climate-conscious transport of goods.

Insulated Container

The Insulated Container serves as a thermal fortress in the realm of cargo transport, meticulously crafted to uphold a consistent internal temperature for sensitive goods. This specialized container boasts insulation materials that shield against external temperature fluctuations, ensuring the integrity of its cargo.

Ideal for transporting items such as pharmaceuticals or temperature-sensitive chemicals, the Insulated Container provides a secure cocoon, safeguarding goods from the impact of external conditions. Its reliable temperature control makes it an indispensable asset in industries where maintaining product quality during transit is paramount.

Car Carrier Container

The Car Carrier Container takes the wheel in automotive transport, tailored specifically for the seamless movement of automobiles. This specialized container features a roll-on/roll-off configuration, streamlining the loading and unloading of vehicles. With carefully designed ramps and secure fastening mechanisms, it ensures the safe and efficient transportation of cars.

Whether ferrying new vehicles from manufacturers to dealerships or handling private car shipments, the Car Carrier Container stands as a key player in the automotive logistics sector, providing a reliable and purpose-built solution for transporting vehicles globally.

Bulk Container

The Bulk Container emerges as the heavyweight champion for transporting bulk cargo efficiently, with a specialized design tailored for commodities like grains or powders. This container’s expansive capacity and robust structure cater to the unique requirements of bulk materials, ensuring secure containment during transit.

With a focus on optimizing loading and unloading processes, the Bulk Container stands as a vital asset in industries dealing with large quantities of loose or granular goods, providing a reliable and purpose-built solution for the streamlined transport of bulk commodities on a global scale.

Swap Body Container

The Swap Body Container emerges as a logistics chameleon, purposefully designed for seamless transitions between truck and train transport. This specialized container features a versatile structure that facilitates easy loading and unloading, streamlining the interchange between different modes of transportation.

Its standardized dimensions and compatibility with both trucks and trains make it a key player in intermodal transportation systems. The Swap Body Container stands as an efficient solution for industries seeking flexibility and efficiency in moving goods across diverse transportation networks, enhancing the agility of supply chain operations.

Drum Container

The Drum Container rolls into action as a cylindrical guardian for the secure transport of liquids housed in drums. This specialized container embraces a design tailored to the needs of industries dealing with liquid cargo. By accommodating drums within its cylindrical structure, it provides stability and containment during transit.

Whether transporting chemicals, oils, or other liquid substances, the Drum Container ensures the safe journey of drum-packaged liquids. Its cylindrical form minimizes the risk of spills and ensures the efficient and secure transport of liquid goods across the global shipping network.

Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC)

The Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) emerges as a liquid logistics maestro, purpose-built for the transport and storage of liquids in bulk quantities. This specialized container features a robust design, providing a secure and efficient solution for industries dealing with large volumes of liquid cargo.

With its standardized dimensions and sturdy construction, the IBC ensures stability during transportation and storage. Whether ferrying chemicals, pharmaceuticals, or other liquids, the Intermediate Bulk Container stands as a versatile and reliable asset, streamlining the movement and storage of bulk liquid goods across various industries.

Gas Bottle Container

The Gas Bottle Container stands as a secure chamber for the transportation of compressed gas bottles, ensuring the safe and reliable movement of these potentially volatile materials. This specialized container features a design that prioritizes stability and containment, with secure fastening mechanisms to prevent shifts during transit.

Whether transporting industrial gasses, medical glasses, or other compressed substances, the Gas Bottle Container provides a protective environment, safeguarding against leaks or damage. Its specialized features make it an indispensable asset for industries reliant on the secure and efficient transport of compressed gas bottles.

Pallet Wide Container

The Pallet Wide Container steps into the logistics arena with a slight expansion in width, offering a strategic advantage for accommodating more pallets. This specialized container, designed with a slightly broader profile than standard counterparts, maximizes cargo capacity by efficiently storing additional pallets side by side.

Ideal for industries focused on optimizing storage space, the Pallet Wide Container becomes a valuable asset, enhancing the efficiency of loading, transportation, and unloading processes. Its ability to handle increased pallet quantities makes it a practical choice for streamlining the transport of palletized goods across diverse supply chains.

Collapsible Container

The Collapsible Container introduces a space-saving marvel in the world of shipping, featuring a design that can be collapsed when empty. This specialized container embraces versatility by offering a compact storage solution, reducing space requirements during return trips or storage. With its collapsible feature, it stands as a practical choice for industries seeking to optimize storage space and transportation efficiency.

The Collapsible Containers adaptability makes it a valuable asset, streamlining logistics and contributing to sustainable shipping practices by minimizing the need for excessive storage space when not in use.

Hangar Container

The Hangar Container steps onto the fashion-forward stage of shipping, tailored specifically for the transport of garments on hangers. This specialized container offers a unique solution for industries dealing with clothing, providing a designated space to transport apparel without compromising their form.

Equipped with racks and hangers, it ensures that garments arrive at their destination in ready-to-display condition. Whether for retail distribution or fashion supply chains, the Hangar Container stands as a wardrobe on wheels, streamlining the logistics of transporting garments with efficiency and care.

Double Stack Container

The Double Stack Container emerges as a game-changer in container shipping efficiency, designed specifically for seamless double stacking on container ships. This specialized container features a reinforced structure and secure stacking mechanisms, allowing for the strategic placement of containers on top of each other.

By maximizing vertical space, it optimizes cargo capacity during maritime transport. The Double Stack Container proves instrumental in enhancing the efficiency of container ships, streamlining loading and unloading processes, and contributing to the overall effectiveness of global shipping networks.

Rolling Floor Container

The Rolling Floor Container introduces innovation to bulk cargo transport with its unique rolling floor design, revolutionizing the loading and unloading of goods. This specialized container features a floor that can be easily rolled in and out, providing a dynamic solution for industries dealing with loose or granular materials.

Ideal for efficient handling of commodities like wood, paper, or recyclables, the Rolling Floor Container ensures a smooth and streamlined process, enhancing the overall efficiency of logistics operations and contributing to sustainable and effective cargo transport solutions.

Multi-Door Container

The Multi-Door Container redefines cargo access with its innovative design featuring multiple doors on one or both sides. This specialized container prioritizes versatility, ensuring convenient loading and unloading from various points. Ideal for industries requiring strategic access to specific sections of the cargo, the Multi-Door Container streamlines logistics.

Whether for items with diverse loading requirements or for expedited retrieval, this container stands as a practical asset in the efficient and flexible movement of goods, providing customized access points to meet specific shipping needs.

Double Pallet Wide Container

The Double Pallet Wide Container strides into the logistics arena with an expanded width, providing ample space for the side-by-side accommodation of two pallets. This specialized container, slightly broader than standard counterparts, optimizes cargo capacity by efficiently storing double the pallet quantity. Ideal for industries emphasizing space efficiency and palletized cargo transport, the Double Pallet Wide Container becomes an invaluable asset.

Its ability to handle increased pallet quantities contributes to the streamlined and cost-effective transport of goods, enhancing overall logistics efficiency across supply chains.

Railway Container

The Railway Container engineers a seamless connection between shipping and railway transportation, featuring a design tailored for effortless integration onto trains. This specialized container ensures compatibility with railway infrastructure, boasting standardized dimensions that align with the requirements of railway cargo transport.

Ideal for industries leveraging rail networks for freight movement, the Railway Container enhances the efficiency of intermodal transportation. Its purpose-built structure facilitates smooth loading, secure transit, and efficient unloading, making it a pivotal component in the interconnected web of global logistics, combining the strengths of both shipping and rail transport.

Ventilated Bulk Container

The Ventilated Bulk Container emerges as a breath of fresh air in bulk cargo transport, meticulously crafted for goods that demand ventilation during transit. This specialized container combines the expansive capacity needed for bulk cargo with enhanced airflow capabilities. Ideal for transporting items sensitive to temperature and moisture, the Ventilated Bulk Container ensures the preservation of goods like grains or perishables.

Its design prioritizes optimal ventilation, providing a secure and controlled environment for bulk goods, contributing to the efficient and reliable movement of cargo across global shipping networks.

Top-Lift Container

The Top-Lift Container enters the logistics arena with a lift from the top, streamlining cargo handling and enhancing efficiency. This specialized container features a design that facilitates easy lifting from the top, optimizing loading and unloading processes. Ideal for industries requiring swift and strategic handling of goods, the Top-Lift Container ensures seamless integration into diverse transportation systems.

With its innovative top-lift design, it becomes a valuable asset in the efficient and agile movement of cargo, providing a practical solution for industries emphasizing streamlined logistics operations.

Tipper Container

The Tipper Container introduces a tilting revolution to bulk cargo unloading, featuring a design that allows the container to be easily tipped. This specialized container streamlines the unloading process for bulk materials, offering a practical solution for industries dealing with loose or granular goods.

With its tilting capability, the Tipper Container ensures efficient and controlled discharge of cargo, minimizing the need for additional equipment. Whether handling aggregates, grains, or other bulk materials, this container stands as a pivotal asset, enhancing the convenience and speed of unloading operations.

Plastic Container

The Plastic Container emerges as a versatile and eco-friendly solution in cargo transport, crafted entirely from plastic. This specialized container provides a durable and lightweight alternative, accommodating various cargo types with ease. Its plastic composition ensures resistance to corrosion and weathering, safeguarding goods during transit.

Beyond its functionality, the Plastic Container contributes to sustainability by being recyclable. Ideal for industries prioritizing environmental responsibility, this container stands as a modern and efficient choice, combining versatility, durability, and eco-conscious design in the evolving landscape of cargo transport.

Single Pallet Wide Container

The Single Pallet Wide Container makes a strategic entrance into the logistics arena, featuring a slight increase in width to accommodate an additional pallet. This specialized container optimizes cargo capacity by efficiently storing one extra pallet, providing a practical solution for industries focused on space efficiency and palletized cargo transport.

Ideal for streamlining loading and unloading processes while maximizing storage, the Single Pallet Wide Container becomes a valuable asset, contributing to the overall efficiency of logistics operations and offering a tailored solution for industries emphasizing palletized goods transport.

Final Words

In the vast world of shipping containers, each type plays a unique role, making global trade more efficient. From the reliable Dry Van Container to the innovative Rolling Floor Container, these containers cater to diverse cargo needs. Whether you’re transporting cars, bulk goods, or garments, there’s a container for every job.

As we conclude our guide to 31 container types, we celebrate the versatility and adaptability that these containers bring to the logistics stage, ensuring goods move seamlessly around the world, making shipping simpler and more effective.

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