Types of Shipping Containers

There are many shipping containers that serve different purposes.  We have created a list of the top 14 most commonly used shipping containers to help you find the most suitable container for your shipping needs. If you need assistance shipping any of these containers, please contact us and we can arrange the transportation.

  1. 10′, 20′, 40′ and 40′ HQ dry storage container
  2. Flat rack container
  3. Open top container
  4. Tunnel container
  5. Open side storage container
  6. Insulated and thermal container
  7. Tank container
  8. Double door container
  9. Refrigerated ISO container
  10. Special purpose container
  11. Swap body container
  12. Half height container
  13. Car carrier container
  14. Drum container


1)      10’, 20’, 40’ dry storage container

These are some of the most common shipping containers.  They are used for shipping dry goods that do not require temperature control. (top)

10ft shipping container 20ft shipping container40ft shipping container



2)      Flat rack container

Flat rack containers are especially suitable for heavy loads and cargo that needs loading from the top or sides. There are collapsible containers and non-collapsible containers with or without walls. Flat rack containers are manufactured from steel and come in 20′ and 40′ sizes. (top)

20ft flat rack container

3)      Open top container

Open top containers do not have solid roofs instead they have removable bows and a weatherproof tarpaulin roof which can be secured with ropes and allows for a significantly simplified loading and unloading process, the door header may also be swung out allowing for easier access to the cargo. Open top containers are ideal for bulky cargo such as machinery. (top)

open top container


4)      Tunnel container

Tunnel container storage containers come with doors on both ends of the container. They are very useful when quick loading and unloading of materials is required. (top)

tunnel container

tunnel shipping container










5)      Open side storage container

These doors of this type of storage unit can be changed to form completely open sides. Having a side completely open side allows for the storage of much wide merchandise and easier loading. (top)

Open side container

6)      Insulated and thermal container

These storage containers have a regulated temperature control allowing them to maintain a higher temperature to keep goods warmer. (top)

Insulated and thermal container


7)      Tanks

These are liquid storage containers. They are typically constructed of strong steel and other anti-corrosive materials to protect the liquid freight inside it. (top)

iso tank containertank container









8)      Double door container

Double doors make it easy for loading and unloading of the freight. Construction of this sort of shipping containers is typically made of steel and iron. They are available in standardized sizes of 40ft and 20ft. (top)

double door container

9)      Refrigerated ISO container

Refrigerated ISO freight container is one that is temperature regulated and always has a carefully controlled low temperature. These types of units are used for the shipment of perishable substances like vegetables and fruits over vast distances. (top)

20ft refrigerated container


10)   Special purpose containers

These containers can be different shapes and sizes and are often custom made for specific cargo. (top)

Special Purpose Container


11)   Swap bodies

This intermodal container can be swapped from a truck chassis to a railcar. These shipping containers have foldable legs to support the containers in-between the two transport modes. Swap body transport is commonly used in Europe. A swap body both weighs and costs less than standard shipping containers. (top)


swap body container swap body container









12)   Half height container

This container was designed for the transport of heavy low volume cargo on ships and trains. The containers can also be used for vehicle transportation, or as a cargo platform for local transport of sand, gravel etc. (top)

half height container


13)   Car carriers

These are used for the transportation of liquid materials, cars, and special goods such as weapons. A freight container in Otay Mesa used for these products is made of strong materials and built specifically to protect a certain type of good. There are many different types of containers; these are just some of the more common ones in use today. (top)

car container


14)   Drums

Drums are cylindrical shipping containers made of steel, plastic or fiber. They are often used for liquids and granular materials. (top)

drum shipping container


Feel free to contact Evans Distribution Systems to receive a free quote on international, intermodal, LTL, LCL, TL, or other freight.

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