Key facts about shipping containers

When it comes to shipping things whether regionally or internationally, you are going to need a shipping container to put your cargo and goods in. These are large steel boxes that are designed to transport goods by sea or land. They are integral to the global economy, as they allow businesses to move goods across oceans and continents efficiently. You can often find them in ports around the world or stacked high on container ships. So, for those who are looking to get involved in shipping, it is best that you brush up your knowledge on shipping containers so you will not be taken by surprise. Make sure to keep reading this article to learn more about this topic.

History of shipping containers

So, when did using shipping containers start? The origins of shipping container date back to the 18th century when wooden barrels served as the main means of moving cargo across oceans. However, the widespread adoption and standardization of containers did not occur until the mid-20th century. This is because shipping containers help to safeguard cargo from impacts and weather while maintaining the quality of the stored items.

In 1956, an American entrepreneur by the name of Malcom McLean transformed the shipping industry by launching the shipping container vessel, the Ideal X. This particular ship was made specifically to accommodate standardized containers, which make it a lot more efficient and economical than conventional cargo ships. His ground-breaking idea resulted in the creation of standardized containers, which overhauled the shipping industry.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) laid the foundations for these containers in the 1950s and defined standards for dimensions, strengths, and specifications. These guidelines helped to ensure the seamless and efficient way containers were transported, as well as their compatibility with various nations and ports globally.

Standardized sizes

Shipping containers are available in a variety of sizes, with the most common being 20 feet and 40 feet in length. The 20-foot container is known as a TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) and the 40-foot container is known as a FEU (forty-foot equivalent unit). These sizes allow containers to be easily loaded onto ships and moved across oceans and continents.

Depending on the type of product being shipped, a container can vary in dimensions, material, and structure. The standardized nature of these containers helped to make speed up transportation without the need to unload and load the cargo along the way.

Features of shipping containers

Shipping containers are designed with a range of features to ensure the security and safety of the goods inside of them. These features include:

  • Locking doors: They are equipped with heavy-duty locking mechanisms to prevent theft and unauthorized access.
  • Tie-down points: Containers include tie-down points on the interior to secure goods during transportation.
  • Ventilation: They have ventilation holes or vents to make sure air can circulate in the container, prevent build-up or condensation, and reduce the risk of damage to goods.
  • Forklift pockets: Containers have pockets on the bottom corners, so forklifts can easily lift and move the container.

Benefits of shipping containers

Shipping containers have numerous benefits and advantages. A few popular ones are listed below:

  • Resistance: Shipping containers are capable of withstanding the elements and various weather conditions, make sure the contents inside are safe.
  • Sturdiness: As they are made from robust steel, these containers are long-lasting and capable of tolerating severe conditions during storage and transit.
  • Protection: They offer a secure environment for goods during storage and transit, and they also have locking features and systems for additional safety measures.
  • Customizability: They can be tailored to specific requirements by incorporating features such as doors, windows, insulation, and more. This makes them suitable for a variety of uses.
  • Uniformity: They are standardized meaning it is easy to transport them via sea, rail, or road. This presents an efficient and cost-effective way of moving cargo overseas.

Buying a shipping container

Before committing to buying a shipping container, make sure that you do the necessary research in order to find the right shipping container for your needs. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Research online: Choose the types of companies that have a good track record and reputation. One way to do so is by reading reviews and what other customers have to say about them.

Check for availability: If you are shipping from various locations, you need to check for availability if containers can be delivered to the areas you need.

Check for best pricing: If you have a budget, then you should consider finding container resellers online that may be willing to offer discounts or cheaper pricing on used or second-hand containers. This will depend on what exactly you need the container for.

Look for good customer service: If you plan to order containers often, then you may want to check with a seller that has good customer service. Always make sure to ask potential container companies questions through email or their online customer service so you can see for yourself how quickly they respond, what they say, and if they are willing to support you.

Check warranty: You should always make it a habit to check with companies to see if they offer any warranties or buyback or trade-in plans just in case.

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