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Deciphering the World of Containers: Types, Dimensions, and Uses for Exceptional Logistics

Maritime transport stands as a vital component of global goods exchange, with containers playing a pivotal role in facilitating the safe and efficient movement of goods. These versatile metal units extend beyond mere receptacles; their diverse shapes and dimensions render them suitable for a variety of purposes.

Maritime containers, essential in today's international trade, emerged in response to the inefficiencies of traditional cargo systems in the 1930s. Malcolm McLean, inspired by the efficiency of truck trailers, conceptualized standardized modular units for both land and sea transport. In 1956, his vision materialized with the first container shipment between New York and Charleston, marking a milestone in maritime transportation history and inaugurating a new era of logistical efficiency.

The advent of the container revolutionized international commerce by significantly reducing costs, streamlining procedures, and minimizing cargo damage. Thanks to their modular design and stackability, vessel space was optimized, leading to a substantial increase in port efficiency.

Container Type


Description and Common

Uses Advantages


Container DryVan Standart

20' GP: 6.06 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' GP: 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

Transport of general products, Dry goods, non-perishable.

Furniture, appliances, clothing, electronics.

• Being fully enclosed and sealed, they provide protection against weather conditions and offer an additional level of security against theft and damage to the cargo.

• They often have a lower cost compared to other types of containers.

• They are not suitable for bulk cargo, liquids, or gases because they are not designed to securely contain these types of goods.

• There is a maximum safe weight that can be transported.

Container High Cube

40' HC: 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.89 m

Transport of general products, dry goods, non-perishable items.

Furniture, appliances, clothing, electronics.

They provide an extra height of 30 centimeters compared to standard containers, enabling the loading of larger or bulkier products without compromising the safety and stability of the cargo.

• They tend to be more expensive than standard containers.

• They lack ventilation or cooling systems, which can be a limitation for certain types of goods that require controlled temperatures.

Container Open Top

20' OT: 6.06 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' OT : 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' OT HC: 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.89 m

Top loading and unloading. Goods that do not fit through standard doors.

Bulky products, irregular shapes.

• Containers are designed for large or heavy loads that require cranes for loading. The lack of a roof on the container facilitates loading and unloading.

• Their price is usually higher due to their complexity of manufacturing.

Container Flat Rack


Absence of side walls and roof. Goods that protrude beyond the dimensions of the container.

Heavy machinery, equipment, bulky loads.

• They can transport larger loads than normal containers.

• They have open sides and top, requiring the cargo to be protected with a waterproof tarpaulin to prevent water damage. However, these tarps are not included as standard and may not be available at all ports; some shipping companies provide them for an additional cost.

Container Open Side

20' OT: 6.06 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' OT : 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' OT HC: 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.89 m

Side loading. Goods that do not fit through standard doors or from above.

Bulky goods, heavy machinery.

• Side access simplifies the loading and unloading of goods that cannot pass through the narrow doors of a standard container.

• Cargo can be more easily stolen from an open side container than from one with standard opening, due to additional access points.

Container Tank


Bulk liquid transportation.

• Minimal labor is required to fill and empty the container.

• They can be used to temporarily store liquids.

• They have high maintenance costs as they are made of carbon steel; their interior must be periodically inspected to remove any rust buildup.

Container Reefer

20' RF: 6.06 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' RF : 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.59 m

40' RF HC: 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 2.89 m

Transportation of perishable goods. Fresh, frozen, temperature-controlled products.

Food, medicines, chemicals.

• Provides a complete cold environment and the ability to store various types of products simultaneously, thus avoiding the need for cold storage facilities at the destination.

• The combination of products with different temperature requirements in a single container can be challenging due to their diverse needs. This situation often results in higher costs.

Maritime containers have emerged as essential pillars of global trade, promoting the exchange of goods between nations and cultures. Their evolution reflects human innovative capacity and creativity, and their influence on the global economy is undeniable.

Currently, these containers continue to progress, adapting to new market demands and emerging technologies. The future of maritime transportation depends closely on the development of more efficient, sustainable, and secure containers, propelling international trade towards a horizon of greater prosperity.



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