What container should I choose to transport my freight?

In our previous post, we talked about choosing the means of transport for our international shipments, where cost is the main influencing factor for any company. In this post, we are going to focus on choosing the most suitable container for an international shipment from the wide variety available.

Despite the wide range of means of transport, we are going to mainly talk about maritime transport, due how it accounts for 90% of shipments worldwide. In fact, there are more than 20 million containers travelling to many locations around the globe at any one time. However, containers are also used for land and multimodal transport.

Containers have formed the basis of international transport since their appearance during the ‘50s, which drastically changed global interconnection and the import/export market. There is a wide range of container formats available today, where the type of cargo we wish to transport is the main influencing factor when it comes to choosing a container.

General-use containers

We are going to begin by looking at two containers that represent 80% of maritime shipments, known as general-purpose containers, the standard type used for shipments thanks to how they allow the shipment of any type of general cargo. While the most common ones without ventilation or refrigeration are 20-foot deep TEUs and 40 foot FEUs, 30-foot containers are also available. These are fully-sealed containers, the ends of which can fully open up to allow access to the same and they allow the transport of both liquid and solid substances, and are also used for multimodal transport, thanks to how easy they can be moved and the fact that they can be used in any country worldwide.

The characteristics of 20-foot containers, with a 28-ton capacity and measuring 33 cubic metres, make them very suitable for shipping heavy goods or for companies that do not have enough freight to fill a larger container. 40-foot containers, on the other hand, can transport up to 26 tons of freight and hold up to 66 cubic metres, the use of which are mainly intended for lightweight goods and anything to be transported in large quantities, such as furniture, electrical devices or material, for example. And finally, 30-foot containers are used in cases where the size of the freight to be transported would make it impossible or expensive to use TEUs or FEUs.

Another of the more commonly used containers for international shipments are Reefer Tanks, used for goods that require refrigeration or freezing during their transport, such as fruit, vegetables and other food. More sophisticated models even have a CO2 control system for the proper transport of food during their ripening process.

Dry Van and Bulk containers (open at the top), are special containers mainly used for bulk transport.

A wide variety of containers

An Open Side Container is ideal for the transport of over-sized goods or anything that cannot be entered into a standard-sized container. As their name suggests, they allow one side of the container to be opened in order to allow the cargo to be more easily entered, using a forklift or any other method. There are also models available that open at the top.

The last container we will look at is the mobile box, that is very widely used in multimodal transport, and especially manufactured for rail and truck transport, which is commonly referred to as piggy back. This container was designed to simply the piggy-back system, which consisted of wagons with drop-deck platforms for the connection of the semi-trailer axes that are located on top of them. While it may look like a standard container, mobile containers are normally not stacked on top of each other and have a slightly more spacious interior.

As we have already seen, there is a wide range of containers available for the transport of goods, making it a must to use a professional that can offer the best service and advice. With all this in mind, Bilogistik provides a wide range of services for every transport method and can therefore meet the needs of any shipment, whether this is bulk freight and ferro-alloys, multimodal services or ship consignment, to name a few.

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