Freight traffic has evolved a lot since its inception. In the middle of the 20th century, a new standard began to be used, maritime containers.
Thanks to these standard containers, the loading, and unloading of ships in ports were simplified. Ships, cranes, trains, and trucks were standardized. In this way, Intermodal transport was created, which is the articulation between different modes of transport using a single measure of cargo, containers, which simplifies loading, unloading, and transshipment.
There are different types of shipping containers, all with standard dimensions and each designed to suit a specific need.
Types of maritime containers
Dry van containers
The Dry Van maritime containers are the most used containers; they are hermetic containers without ventilation. They are stackable up to 8 levels and are made of corten steel, which makes them very robust.
These containers have doors only on one side and standard dimensions with a width of 2.40m and a height of 2.60m. There are two typical models depending on the length, 20 feet and 40 feet which are equivalent to 6 and 12 meters respectively. There are also other less used models such as 30 feet or 10 feet.
High cube container
The High Cube maritime containers are very similar to the Dry Van except for their height since the High cube containers are 9’6 » (2,896 meters) high and the 40 ‘Dry Van containers are 8’6’ ‘( 2,591 meters). This extra height is ideal for bulky and oversized loads.
Open top maritime containers
The Open Top containers are also very similar to the Dry Van, with averages of 20 and 40 feet, with the difference that the Open Top has no roof. As they do not have a roof, they can be loaded above, making it easier to load heavy or bulky goods that can be difficult to get through the door. To cover the merchandise, a canvas awning is usually put on them.
Open side container
The Open Side maritime containers are another type of container very similar to the Dry Van, although the latter has large 4-leaf doors that allow easy access to the goods for loading and unloading. There are 20 and 40 feet.
They are very useful for loading long goods that cannot be loaded through normal doors or to be able to reach the goods at the back without having to remove all those in front.
Flat rack container
The Flat Rack container is a container without a roof and without sidewalls. It is used to transport heavy or oversized goods. The merchandise is lashed by chains or tapes to the flat rack.
Tank maritime containers
Tank containers are for transporting liquids in bulk. It is a tank contained within a structure of steel beams that make it the same dimensions as a standard container. In this way, the tank can be manipulated and loaded in transports as one more container.
Refrigerated / reefer container
The refrigerated container is a type of container intended for the transport of goods with temperature control, either cold or hot. They can maintain the temperature of the merchandise from -30ºC to + 40ºC, there are even some special models that can reach -60ºC.
We can find refrigerated containers of 20 and 40 feet, even some of 10 feet, although the latter are not usually used for freight traffic. Like the other containers, they can have the normal height or be a high cube.