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Container Overview

Container Overview


ISO is an international standards organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO containers are produced in several standard configurations, including dry (or cube), insulated, flat rack (or platform), open top, refrigerated, and tank. Dry ISO containers are general purpose, totally enclosed, box type containers used for general purpose transportation.  These containers are also called cube containers.  Standard heights for dry containers are 8 feet 6 inches.  Dry containers are also manufactured with extended heights of 9 feet 6 inches, and are referred to as high cube containers.  Cargo is loaded from the end of the container. Insulated or thermal ISO containers are used to transport of chilled and frozen goods.  They are also used for temperature sensitive materials and products.  The container walls are insulated, but the container does not have a refrigeration unit. Flat racks and platforms have no side walls, but may have end bulkheads.  They are used to transport heavy machinery. Collapsible flat rack containers are open sided ISO containers with end bulkheads that can be folded down when the rack is empty. Open top ISO containers are box type containers with no top.  These containers can be used to carry heavy, tall or hard to load cargo, and  bulk material, such as coal or grain.  Cargo can be loaded from the top or end of the container. Refrigerated, or reefer ISO containers are used to transport of chilled and frozen goods.  They are also used for temperature sensitive materials and products where a steady temperature must be maintained during shipping. Tank ISO containers have a cylindrical tank mounted within a rectangular steel framework. These containers are built to the same standard dimensions as other ISO containers.  They are used to transport liquid or bulk materials. ISO containers are manufactured in standard sizes.  The standard width of ISO containers is 8 feet, the standard heights are 8 feet 6 inches, and 9 feet 6 inches, and the most common lengths are 20 feet and 40 feet.  Less common lengths include 24, 28, 44, 45, 46, 48, 53, and 56 feet. Although ISO set specifications for all parameters of the container, individual companies containers may depart from  this in parameters other than dimensions. 


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