ISS’ Guide to Shipping Containers - Types and Dimensions

  • 2 min read

If you’re wanting to ship anything via sea, it’s important that you choose the right shipping container for your shipment. With so many different types of containers and sizes, it can be difficult and confusing to determine which is best for your cargo.

Fortunately, ISS is here to help with our complete guide to shipping containers.

Shipping Container Types

There are a multitude of different types of shipping containers, all of which have various uses. We’ve listed some of the most common types of shipping containers and their uses below.

Dry (General) Containers

Dry containers (also called general containers) are the most common type of shipping container you’ll come across. They are fully enclosed with a floor, roof and sidewalls. Dry shipping containers are used for shipping dry cargo that doesn’t have any temperature requirements.

High Cube Containers

High cube containers are similar to general containers, however they are taller by about 1 foot. These containers are most commonly used when a slightly larger volume capacity is required or when shipping taller goods.

Open Top Containers

As the name implies, open top containers are general shipping containers that have an open top, i.e no roof. They can be used to ship goods of any heights and are usually used with a plastic sheet or tarp as a roof.

Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers are shipping containers that have collapsible sides that can be folded to make a flat rack. Flat rack containers are used for shipping heavy oversized cargo that can be difficult to load and unload.

Double Door (Tunnel) Containers

Double door containers (or tunnel containers) are shipping containers that have doors at both ends. This allows for easy and quick loading and unloading, as well as the transportation of wide goods.

Open Side Containers

Open side containers are general shipping containers that have one door on the end of the container and one door along the side. Open sides containers are used for shipping goods that are wider and can’t fit through the door on the end of the container.

Insulated Containers

Insulated containers are shipping containers that are thermally regulated. Insulated containers are used to transport shipments that need to be stored in a temperature higher than the external temperature outside the container.

Reefer Containers

Reefer containers are refrigerated shipping containers. They are used to transport temperature-sensitive or perishable goods, such as food and drink.

Half Height Containers

As the name suggests, half height containers are half the height of general shipping containers. They are used for transporting bulky cargo that is heavy and dense such as coal, stone and sand.

Shipping Container Dimensions

Shipping container sizes are standard throughout the world. They are referred to by their external length in feet. The most common shipping container sizes are:

  • 40,
  • 20,
  • 10, and
  • 8.

The width and height of shipping containers are consistent (8 feet and 8 feet 6 inches, respectively).

If you’re still unsure which shipping container type and size is best for you, get in touch with ISS. We will ensure you get the right container for your cargo and help you avoid unnecessary fees and expenses.

For more information, call us today!