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15 Dec

Types of Shipping Containers – Commonly used container types

What is a Container:

Containers are structures in the form of a steel box, manufactured to deliver your cargo to the delivery address in an efficient, safe and undamaged manner within the transportation system with international standards.

Different modes of transportation make it possible transport containers by transferring from vehicle to vehicle without unloading the materials inside. Multimodal transportation enables containers to be transported over thousands of kilometres by being loaded on different vehicles such as trucks, ships and trains.

Container transportation, as a safe and fast transportation option, enables the transport of many different products, from household goods to commercial goods, from food products to natural gas. Container transportation provides this flexibility, with varying types of containers for different products. We are talking about a dry container, flat container, reefer (refrigerated) container, tank container and many more container types. As of 2020, approximately 17 million containers are used worldwide.

Approximately 2.5 tons of steel is used in the construction of a 40 ‘container. Each corner of the container is designed to handle a load of 96 tons. The floor to carry a load of 24.5 kg per cm². It is the most preferred transportation method for tons of heavy construction equipment, automobiles, metal equipment and thousands of different products.


The most frequently used container types in export and import shipments are 20’DC and 40’DC containers. The acronym DC stands for “Dry container”. This type of container does not require any special transportation method.

Although these types of containers are referred to as “dry van” or “standard” in some business correspondence, often the term “general purpose” is more appropriate. It is named with the acronym DC. While widths of DC containers are fixed, they are available in different lengths and heights. When choosing the container, you have to decide on the quantity and dimensions of the product to be transported.

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The most common types of DC Container

The outer length of the 20′ container is 6.058 mm. The width is 2.438 mm. The height is 2.591 mm.

Internal dimensions: We need to know the interior dimensions of the container to calculate how much space the cargo to be transported will take up in the container. The interior dimensions of the 20′ container have been determined as 5.710 mm (length), 2.352 mm (width), 2.385 mm (height). The 20′ container volume is 33 m3.

When planning Dry Container loading, door dimensions should be considered. The door opening is 2,343 mm wide and 2,280 mm high.

The empty weight of a 20′ container is 2,200 kg. Maximum 28.250 kg can be loaded. But the upload limit varies from country to country. Therefore, we recommend that you find out the maximum weight that can be transported in the ports and roads in the destination country before shipping.


The 40′ container has a length of 12.192 mm. Its width and height are the same as 20′ container. The width is 2.438 mm. The height is 2.591 mm.

Internal Dimensions: 40 ‘container only changes as length 12.032 mm. Internal dimensions are the same in width and height. It is 2.352 mm in width and 2.385 mm in height. The capacity of a 40′ container in cubic meters is 67 m3.

The width and height of the 40 “container door are almost the same as the 20′ container. The door width is 2.343 mm, and the height is 2.2580 mm.

The empty weight of 40′ container is 3.750 kg. Up to 30 tons can be loaded in 40’ containers. But our recommendation for a 20 “container applies in this case. Before planning the shipment, we recommend checking the shipping limits in the delivery port and the country of delivery.

40 High Cube / 45 High Cube

This type of container is used for the transportation of relatively light but high volume goods. Their height is 30 cm more than a normal 40′ container. The internal volume of High Cube containers is more than 40 “containers due to their height, but their weight carrying capacity is the same.

20 Open Top / 40 Open Top

It has the same dimensions as a typical dry container, except that it doesn’t have a “fixed-top”. It is used when loads that are too long or too wide to fit into the container from the door can only be placed from the top by crane or similar tools. It is mostly used to transport products such as machinery, marble plates, aluminium profiles. Open top containers are often used for overflow loads.

The top of the container is tightly covered with a tarpaulin after loading. The base is slightly thicker than the other containers, as it carries heavy loads. Since Open Top containers are classified as special equipment, the surcharge is usually added to the freight.

20 Flat Rack / 40 Flat Rack / 40 Closable Flat Rack

Sometimes its referred to simply as “flat”. This type of container has no four sides and no top. Sometimes both heads can be dislodged. The flat container is suitable for loading goods with both sides and overflow. The surcharge is added to the transportation fee for the loads exceeding the container dimensions.

40 Reefer / 40 High Cube Reefer / 45 High Cube Reefer

It has a cooling unit attached to the container and driven by an electric or diesel engine. The cooling system makes it possible to transport food products, medicines and similar medical products with these containers.

20′ Tank Container

It is a container type, which consists of a container, which is a carrier element, and a profile frame, in which liquid or gaseous substances are generally carried. It is a safe and low-cost transportation vehicle in terms of transporting liquid and gaseous substances.

From Australia to all over the World

If you are going to export from Australia to any country in the world. For FCL and LCL shipments, it is important to get an offer from a company experienced in sea shipping for the right container selection.