Container shipping differs from conventional transportation because it uses ‘containers’ of various standard sizes – 20 foot (6.09 m), 40 foot (12.18 m) , 45 foot (13.7 m), 48 foot (14.6 m), and 53 foot (16.15 m) – to load, transport, and unload goods. As a result, containers can be transferred seamlessly between ships, trucks and trains. The two most significant, and most commonly used sizes nowadays, are the 20-foot and 40-foot spans. The 20-foot container, referred to as a Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) became the industry standard benchmark so now freight volume and vessel capacity are usually measured in TEU. The 40-foot length container – literally 2 TEU – became known as the Forty-foot Equivalent Unit (FEU) and is the most often used container now.
The container sizes must be standardized so that the containers can be most economically stacked – literally, one in addition to the other – and so that ships, trains, trucks and cranes at the ports can be especially fitted or built to just one size specification. This standardization now applies across the international business, thanks to the work of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that in 1961, set standard sizes for all containers.
Suitable load or “stuffing” of containers is very important to the safety and stability of the containers and the boats, trucks and trains that transport the containers. In 2008, the World Shipping Council (WSC), together with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), published Transport of Containers by Sea – Business Guidance for Shippers and Container Stuffers to aid those loading containers.
Containers are normally constructed of aluminum or steel with each container size and kind assembled based on the same ISO specifications, no matter where the container is fabricated. Shipping containers are available in many different kinds as well as the normal dry cargo container frequently called “special” equipment. These special containers contain open end, open side, open top, half-height, flat rack, refrigerated (known as “reefer”), liquid mass (tank), and modular all assembled to same outdoor lengths and widths as the conventional dry cargo containers. Containers in the global container fleet equate to more than 34 million TEU.
Open tops are used for easy load of freight including logs, machinery and odd sized goods. Flat stands may be used for boats, vehicles, machinery or industrial gear. Open sides may be used for vegetables for example onions and potatoes. Tank containers transport many kinds of liquids like compounds, wine and vegetable oil.
Every container has its own unique unit number, often called a carton number which can be used by ship captains, crews, coastguards, pier supervisors, customs officers and warehouse managers to identify who possesses the container, who is using the container to send goods and even track the container’s location anywhere in the world. To buy or rent the best storage containers, contact Carolina Containers today!