Maritime transport is one of the most widely used means of transporting goods around the world. More and more companies are relying on ocean freight for their logistics needs.

The advantages offered by sea transport are very interesting:

  • It is more economical. Maritime transport offers much lower costs than other types of transport, such as air or rail transport.
  • Security. Maritime transport can be considered one of the safest means of transporting goods. They offer their own safety protocols that allow them to transport heavy and dangerous goods with all the guarantees.
  • Efficiency. The arrangement of goods in containers makes it possible to group and organize shipments more efficiently. This allows loading large volumes of goods in a safe and orderly manner.

Containers are therefore a fundamental factor defining the efficiency of maritime transport.

Let’s go into a little more detail about the containers used in maritime transport, here we go!



What are shipping containers like?

Maritime transport stands out for its capacity to transport large volumes of cargo and goods.

This is made possible by its container storage arrangement. The use of containers ushered in the era of intermodal transport, which defines the use of different modes of transport using a single unit of cargo, in this case, containers.



Main types and characteristics of containers for maritime transport

Containers are not only used to transport a large volume of goods, the containerized transport methodology optimizes space and allows to develop different operations related to its handling in a faster way.

Containerized transport is a standardized model under the ISO668 and 1496 standards where its characteristics are defined, such as length (20, 30 and 40 feet).

In addition to all this, it is possible to find different types of containers that meet the needs of transporting different materials.

We are going to list the most common types of containers in maritime transport:


Dry Van Containers

Dry Van type containers are the most commonly used for the transport of goods by sea.

They are a type of container designed in an airtight and non-ventilated manner. They are recommended for transporting dry goods.

They are made of steel and can be stacked up to 8 levels, allowing for a large loading volume.

Typical models reach 20 and 40 feet. In some type of merchandise, 10-foot Dry Van containers can be seen.


High Cube Containers

The High Cube containers have a very similar design to the Dry Van, the only major difference being the height. High Cube containers are over 2.89 meters high and Dry Van containers are almost 2.6 meters high.

Thanks to this maximum height, it is possible to transport loads with larger dimensions and large volumes.


Open Side Containers

This type of container has the same design as the Dry Van but with the addition of large 4-wing doors on the sides to facilitate the introduction of goods for loading and unloading functions.

With these containers it is much easier to access the goods or load in a more comfortable way than with other types of containers.


Open Top Containers

The measurements and design are very similar to the base Dry Van model, but they have a great peculiarity: they do not have a roof.

This facilitates loading and unloading from the top of the container, making it easier to handle heavy goods.

The standard sizes of these containers are 20 and 40 feet.

The unroofed top is usually covered with a tarpaulin securely fastened to the container.


Flat Rack Container

This is an ideal type of container for very heavy and oversized goods. In other words, machinery or automobiles are the type of goods usually loaded in these containers.

It has no roof or side walls, facilitating the loading and unloading of the container.


Refrigerated Container

As the name suggests, this type of container is designed to transport goods that require temperature control. They can maintain temperatures from -30to +40 C and there are even models that can reach -60 C.

They have the standard dimensions for containers, although it is possible to find 10-foot containers.


Tank Container

They are containers that resemble a tank with the dimensions of a standard container. They are designed to store liquid goods. Easy handling for both liquid loading and unloading.


Thanks to this wide variety of container models, maritime transport is considered the most economical and effective way to transport goods. The capacity to adapt to different volumes and types of goods is very difficult to find in other means of transport.


What are the dimensions of containers for maritime transport?

As mentioned above, the containers are standardized by the ISO668 and 1496 standards, and their dimensions are subject to definition.

The general dimensions of a container for maritime transport are 20 and 40 feet.

In some particular cases, it is possible to use 10-foot containers, such as Dry Van containers.

But what does this measure amount to?


Conversion from feet to meters

The length of containers is measured in feet, a unit of length that is as old as it is effective.

The value of 1 foot is equal to 0,3048 m.

Thus, the standardized measurements for the containers would be equivalent to:

  • 10 feet = 3,048 meters.
  • 20 feet = 6,096 meters.
  • 40 feet = 12,192 meters.




Containers are the key factor in making shipping a benchmark in the global logistics sector