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How to Choose the Right Shipping Containers for Your Needs ?

International trade and distribution of different goods and merchandise all over the world is made possible by the advanced services of shipping and logistics companies. One of the most widely used services provided by international moving companies in Toronto is container shipping. It is a safe and viable way to ship a variety of goods across the world. However, shippers are often confused when choosing the size of the container they need.


This post discusses the factors that influence the size you will need to ship your goods and the different container types that are available.


1. The different container sizes

There are different sizes, shapes and designs of containers which are used for freight shipping. The standard sizes which are widely available are described below.

• 10 ft shipping containers- These are the smallest option you have, but they have a storage capacity equivalent to a studio apartment or a small one-bedroom apartment.

• 20 ft containers- The storage capacity of these containers is equivalent to a standard one-car garage.

• 40 ft containers- Roughly with a storage capacity equivalent to two car garages, these are the largest option you have and it can store construction and sports equipment easily.


2. The different container designs

Freight containers are classified based on their design and purpose. Here are some of the most widely used container types for shipping various types of cargoes across the world.

• General purpose containers- These containers come in two sizes primarily- 20 ft and 40 ft respectively. They are defined by the ISO size type 22G0 and 22G1 and 42G0 and 42G1, and has various features like,

  • It can be lined with bags for bulk cargoes.
  • Forklift pockets.
  • Multiple lashing devices which allow loading weight of 1000kg on the top and bottom rails that run lengthwise and at the corner posts.


• High cube general purpose containers- Available in ISO size type 45G0 and 45G1 and L5G0 and L5G1, these containers are ideal for lightweight cargo. Shipments which have a maximum height of 8’10 ¼ “can be contained in these containers. They are recommended size and design for inland transportation.

• Hardtop container- They have a reinforced top and are available in 20 ft and 40 ft size respectively. The ISO size types are 22U6 and 42U6. You can choose these containers if you need.

  • To ship heavy cargoes which are excessively high and has to be loaded through the open roof and sliding doors.
  •  Easy lifting of the roof which features rings that can be lifted with a forklift and is made of steel.

To ship really high cargoes, there is an option to lash the roof section to the sidewall.
 Different types of lashing devices all working together in conjunction for safer shipping of the goods.


• Open top container- They are ideal for over-height containers and as the name suggests, these containers are open at the top. By ISO size standards these are available in 22U1 and 42UI. You can opt for them when,

 You need to ship cargo that has to be loaded from the top side using a crane or a forklift.

 Easier loading and unloading are necessary as the door headers can be swung open.

 Your cargo may exceed the capacity of the container as these containers have the capacity for forklift trucks and exceed the ISO standard by 33%.


• Flat- The flat rack comprises a reinforced bottom with two side walls at either end and is available in 20 ft variant with the walls reaching 8’6” height. The ISO size type is 22P3 and 22P8. It is ideal for,

 Exceptionally heavy cargo which is extremely wide.

 It’s increased portability which is facilitated by forklift pockets available on certain brands of containers.

 Cargoes which are weighed approximately 2000kg or 4000kg because of its lashing devices at the corner posts, and the longitudinal rails and the floor of the flat rack.

 Payloads that can be scattered over the entire floor area.


• Ventilated container- As the name suggests, this kind of container allows proper ventilation during the transport. The ISO size type of ventilated containers is 22V0 and 42V0. You can choose them if you need,
 To ship weather-sensitive items as the labyrinth construction of these containers present weather damage as it offers natural ventilation that is created lengthwise across the bottom and the top rails.


• Insulated container- Cargo that needs a constant temperature maintained will have to be shipped in an insulated container. These containers have the standards sizes of 20 ft and 40 ft.

  1. They feature,
  2. A “sandwich construction” with polyurethane foam on the side and the end walls to maintain the temperature and insulation consistently.

 The temperature is maintained between 12 Celsius to -25 Celsius for 20 ft containers and 13 Celsius to -22 Celsius for 40 ft containers.

 The temperature maintenance is done through two apertures installed on the front wall.
There are other container types like the flexitank and refrigerated container. You can learn about the various styles of container apt for international shipping from this infographic we created!


3. Factors that affect your choice

There are several factors that you must consider when you have to choose a container type. A Toronto-based international shipping company can assist you in choosing the best containers for freight shipping. Keeping in mind the following factors will make the choice easier for you.


• Choosing the right size

Consider the size and type of your cargo and then determine the size of the container you need. In general, the 20 ft container and the 40ft containers are the most widely availed options there is. The 20 ft containers are perfect for multi-modal transportation. When you have a large amount of cargo that you need to transport, the 40 ft container is a great option.


• Consider the cargo type

The type of shipment that has to be shipped must be taken into consideration when you are choosing the container type. If you have any perishable item to be shipped internationally like food, there are specialized containers. If you have large equipment or fragile items to ship, the container must be big enough and suitable for such items to be safely shipped.


• Weight and material of the container

A steel container is much stronger than an aluminium container. If you are opting for marine freight shipping, the steel container will fare better. On the other hand, aluminium containers are easier to move because they are lighter and hence make it a good choice for shorter delivery distance.


Freight shipping is a service offered by various international moving companies in Toronto and you can easily avail it when you have a thorough understanding of the process and the types of containers. If you need this service, Viamar Scilla Transport International can provide you with it and guide your choice of container.

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