There are many container types in operation to suit a variety of trades and
merchandize. Sizes also vary and they can be shipped in the following sizes:
8 ft in width and 8 ft or 8 ft 6 inch in height, with lengths of 10, 20, 40 or 45 ft.
Conventional units (general purpose) – also known as a dry container are
made from steel and fully enclosed with a timber floor. Cargo-securing
lashing points are located at floor level at the base of the side panelling.
Access for ‘stuffing’ and ‘de-stuffing’ is through full height twin locking
doors at one end.
Open top containers – covered by tarpaulin and permits top loading/discharging
for awkward sized loads which cannot be easily handled through
the doorways of general purpose containers. These may be fitted with a
removable top rail over and above the door aperture.
Half-height containers – an open top container which is 4 ft 3 inch in height,
i.e. half the standard height of a general purpose container. They were
designed for the carriage of dense cargoes such as steel ingots, or heavysteel
cargoes or stone, etc. since these cargoes take up comparatively little
space in relation to their weight, two half-height containers occupying the
same space as the standard unit.
Flat rack container – this is a flat bed with fixed or collapsible ends and no
roof. They are used to accommodate cargoes of non-compatible dimensions
or special cargoes that require additional ventilation.
Bulk container – are containers designed to carry free flowing cargoes like
grain, sugar or cement. Loading and discharging taking place via three circular
access hatches situated in the roof of the unit. They also incorporate a
small hatch at the base which allows free flow when tipping the unit. Such
containers are usually fitted with steel floors to facilitate cleaning.
Tank containers – are framed tank units designed for the carriage of liquids.
The cylindrical tank usually made of stainless steel is secured in the framework
which is of standard dimensions to be accommodated in loading and
discharging as a normal general purpose container unit. The tanks can
carry hazardous and non-hazardous cargo and are often used for whisky or
Ventilated containers – generally designed as a general purpose container
but with added full length ventilation grills at the top and bottom of the
side walls of the unit. They were primarily designed for the coffee trade but
are equally suitable for other cargoes, which require a high degree of ventilation
Open-sided containers – these units are constructed with removable steel
grate sides which are covered by poly vinyl chloride (PVC) sheeting. The
side grates allow adequate ventilation when it is used to carry perishable
goods and/or livestock. Such containers permit unrestricted loading and
discharging with the grates removed.
Insulated containers – are insulated and often used in association with
a refrigeration air-blower systems to keep perishable cargoes fresh, e.g.
meats, fruits vegetables, etc. The container has two porthole extractors fitted
to one end of the unit to allow the cool air circulation to operate from
the cooling plant. They are generally stowed under deck and close to, or
adjacent to, the ship’s circulation ports. Other types of containers in this
category rely only on the insulation and are not fitted with cooling plant,
and these can be stowed in any position on the ship.
Refrigerated containers – more generally known as the reefer container, they
are totally insulated and fitted with their own refrigeration plant. They
must be connected to the ship’s mains and require close stowage to a situated
power point. They are usually employed for holding foodstuffs, meat
and dairy products being prime examples. These units have become prolific
and have caused a major reduction in the numbers of dedicated ‘reefer
ships’, although reefer ships still operate they tend to be limited to specific
trades like ‘bananas’