Shipping Container Tips to Ensure a Safe Delivery
Shipping products within your national borders or around the world requires careful planning to ensure a safe and prompt delivery. Whether shipping items for your company or for personal reasons, it’s important to choose the right shipping container. The right shipping container can save you time and money as well as protect your goods.
Shipping containers come in many shapes and sizes, and should be chosen according to the size, weight, and type of items being shipped. Also consider the sensitivity of your products; liquid, frozen, dry, and solid products all require certain types of shipping containers.
Identify Your Company’s Shipping Needs
Many containers are designed for specific industrial needs. For example, the flat-rack shipping container or platform container has all sides open and is designed to ship heavy machinery. Containers with an open-top design are made to carry heavy, oversized cargo or bulk cargo items such as grain, coal, steel pellets, or sand. Dry van containers are completely enclosed and weatherproof. They come in various sizes. A side-door container has a rear door and a minimum of one door on the side.
The auto rack container is a railroad rolling stock container for shipping automobiles. Tank containers are large, metal containers used to ship liquid goods. There are gas bottles to transport gas, which are shaped like cylinders. A swapbody container had adjustable support legs. Goods that need to be kept frozen or refrigerated can be shipped in containers with refrigeration.
Determine how your items should be packaged and delivered for safe keeping and affordability. Also consider how easily and quickly the items can be loaded and unloaded. Some shipping containers will be easier to use than others depending on your loading dock setup.
Cargo containers might be available through the shipping company you use. Some companies will rent or lease containers, or even allow you to share the expense and space in one large container with another customer. There are also vendors that specialize in cargo containers such as BSL Containers, Cobra, On-Site Storage, Charleston Marine, UBH International, SCF, and many others.
Plastic Shipping Containers for Added Protection
For fragile or odd-shaped items, choose smaller plastic cargo containers to package items separately before placing them in one big metal container. If your company needs specially made containers, you might be able to find a company that specializes in custom plastic containers specific to your industry. These may be more costly than buying generic shipping containers, but will save you money on damage control in the long run. Some companies that offer custom plastic shipping containers are Cisco-Eagle, Flexcon, Rehrig Pacific, and Orbis.
Products considered to be “dangerous” or “highly flammable” must be shipped in containers made specifically for these items. There are steel drums, gas bottles, tanks, plastic drums, and intermediate bulk containers designed to protect these items and those who handle them.
Sizes of Shipping Containers
Shipping containers come in various lengths and sizes. Lengths are mostly 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet, 45 feet, 48 feet, and 53 feet. Ocean freight often requires containers about 20 feet or 40 feet long. The standard height is 8.5 feet while the standard width is 8 feet. There are also “half-height” containers or “high-cube” containers. Each container has a specific weight limitation, so be sure your cargo does not exceed this figure.
Every shipping container should be labeled properly and meet all international or federal regulations. You can research online to find out what regulations apply to your type of cargo. To save money, you might consider searching for used shipping containers. Manufacturers often sell these once they receive even the slightest bit of damage. The containers are often still usable and will be much cheaper than buying new shipping containers.