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Choosing the Right Container for Your Haulage Needs


Choosing the Right Container for Your Haulage Needs

When it comes to shipping and transporting your products, selecting the appropriate container is crucial for a smooth and cost-effective transportation process. Whether you require standard containers, refrigerated containers, or open-top containers, understanding the different types and sizes of containers available will help you make an informed decision.

In this article, we will explore the variety of containers commonly used in the shipping and haulage industry and provide essential factors to consider when choosing the right container for your haulage needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Container

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right container to transport your goods. Here are a few key considerations to determine the appropriate container type. 

Container Size

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes, with the most common being 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft. Consider the dimensions of your cargo and choose a container size that accommodates your products effectively. The 20′ and 40′ sizes are widely used and facilitate seamless transportation.

Cargo Type

Identify the nature of your cargo to determine the appropriate container type. If you are shipping heavy items, ensure the container has the load capacity to support the weight. For perishable goods, opt for refrigerated containers. Additionally, if you have specialised cargo, such as hazardous materials or liquids, specific containers designed for such requirements are available.

Cost Considerations

When selecting the right container for your haulage needs, it is essential to assess your cargo, consider the container’s size and type, and factor in your budget. Consulting with freight forwarders or container haulage companies can provide valuable insights and guidance to ensure a successful shipping process. 

Weight Limitations

Considering weight limitations when choosing a container is crucial as it ensures safety, legal compliance, equipment compatibility, cost efficiency, and the integrity of the goods being transported. By adhering to weight limits, you reduce the risk of accidents, comply with regulations, avoid fines and penalties, prevent operational issues, optimise costs, and safeguard the quality of the goods. It is an essential aspect of selecting a container for secure and efficient transportation.

Container Types

There are several types of shipping and haulage containers used for transporting goods by various modes of transportation, such as ships, trucks, and trains. Here are some of the commonly used container types.

Standard Container

The most prevalent and common type of container is the dry storage container, also known as a dry van container, which is fully enclosed, weatherproof, and lockable. These come in standard sizes, typically 20′ and 40′, and are designed for transporting dry goods. They are suitable for a wide range of cargo, offering security and protection during transit and do not have any specific specialised features like other containers.

Flat Rack Container

If you need to transport oversized items, flat rack containers are ideal. These containers feature collapsible sides and no roof, providing flexibility for loading and unloading bulky or irregularly shaped cargo such as heavy machinery, or irregularly shaped items. It is suitable for cargo that cannot fit into standard containers due to size or shape.

Platform Container

Similar to a flat rack container, a platform container has a flatbed with no sides or roof. It is commonly used to transport heavy or oversized cargo, such as large machinery, vehicles, or construction equipment via rail or ships.

ISO Tank Container 

ISO tank containers are specialised containers designed and used for transporting bulk liquids and gaseous cargo such as chemicals, fuels, food-grade products or other hazardous materials. The cylindrical tank complies with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards and can be transported by various modes of transportation, including ships, trucks, and trains. Within its steel frame and may have insulation or heating elements depending on the cargo requirements.

Open-Top Container

Designed with a removable top, open-top containers are used for shipping over-height products. This type of container allows easy access for loading, unloading and securing goods that exceed the height limitations of standard containers. It is often used for items that cannot fit through the standard container doors or require top-loading, such as machinery and heavy equipment.

Tunnel Shipping Container

Tunnel containers, also known as double-door containers, are a type of shipping container that features hinged doors on both ends, enabling quick and efficient loading and unloading of cargo.

These containers are used in various industries, including shipping, logistics, and international trade. They are particularly beneficial for transporting goods that require frequent access or for situations where loading and unloading efficiency is crucial. These containers are compatible with standard container handling equipment, ensuring seamless integration into existing transportation infrastructure.

It’s important to note that tunnel containers may have specific dimensional specifications, weight limitations, or other industry standards that must be followed to ensure compliance with regulations and compatibility with transportation networks.

Open-Side Storage Container

Unlike traditional containers that open from the ends, open-side storage containers feature doors on the sides to provide full access to the width of the container, facilitating the loading and unloading of wide items and simplifying access to the cargo such as certain types of palletised goods or long items like pipes.

Reefer Container

Short for ‘refrigerated container’, a reefer container is equipped with a built-in cooling system to transport perishable goods such as fruits, seafood, pharmaceuticals, certain chemicals and flowers at controlled temperatures to maintain the freshness and quality of the cargo throughout the shipping process.

Insulated/Thermal Container

Similar to refrigerated containers or reefer containers, insulated or thermal containers offer temperature-control features. They are suitable for transporting products that require specific temperature conditions, ensuring they remain warm during transit.

Half-Height Container

These containers are half the height of standard ones and are ideal for transporting heavy but low-volume cargo. They are commonly used in industries like construction and mining, where materials such as sand and gravel need to be hauled efficiently.

Car Carriers

Specially designed for transporting vehicles, car carriers ensure the safe and secure transportation of cars, motorcycles, and other automobiles. 

Key takeaways

  • These are just a few examples of the various container types used in shipping and haulage. Different industries and cargo types may require specific containers designed to meet their unique transportation needs.
  • Selecting the appropriate container is crucial for smooth and cost-effective shipping and transportation of products.
  • Identify the nature of your cargo including its dimensions and weight to determine the appropriate container type. 
  • Consider your budget when choosing the right container and consult with freight forwarders or container haulage companies for guidance.

What’s next? 

Our site is strategically located at the gateway between the UK and Europe meaning from ship to storage to distribution, we can manage and store your import and export loads through first-rate supply chain storage management services. 

Click HERE to learn more about our services.