A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes.
Types of shipping containers
- Intermodal freight containersFreight containers are a reusable transport and storage unit for moving products and raw materials between locations or countries. There are approximately seventeen million intermodal containers in the world and a large proportion of the world’s long distance freight generated by international trade is transported inside shipping containers.
- Corrugated boxCorrugated boxes are commonly used as shipping containers. They are made of corrugated fiberboard which is light weight, recyclable, and strong enough to ship a variety of products.
- Wooden boxWooden boxes are often used for shipping heavy and dense products. They are sometimes specified for shipments of government or military shipments.
- CrateA crate is a large container, often made of wood, used to transport large, heavy or awkward items. A crate has a self-supporting structure, with or without sheathing.
- Intermediate bulk shipping containerAn Intermediate bulk container (IBC) is a container used for transport and storage of fluids and bulk materials. The construction may be plastic, composite, steel, stainless steel, etc. Some are foldable (collapsable).
- Bulk boxA bulk box, bulk bin, skid box, or tote box is a pallet size box used for storage and shipping of bulk quantities.
- DrumDrums are cylindrical shipping containers made of steel, plastic or fiber. They are often used for liquids and granular materials.
- Insulated shipping containersInsulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. They are used as part of a cold chain to help maintain product freshness and efficacy.
- Unit load deviceA Unit Load Device, or ULD, is a container used to cargo on commercial aircraft.A ULD can be a pallet or container used to load luggage, freight, and mail on wide-body aircraft and specific narrow-body aircraft. It allows a large quantity of cargo to be bundled into a single unit. Since this leads to fewer units to load, it saves ground crews time and effort and helps prevent delayed flights. Each ULD has its own packing list, manifest, or tracking identification to improve control and tracking of contents.
- Specialized shipping containersCustom containers are used for shipments of products such as weapons and aviation components. Customized cushioning, blocking and bracing, carrying handles, lift rings, locks, etc. are common to facilitate handling and to protect the contents. Often, these shipping containers are reusable.
- Transit and Flight CaseFlight cases and transit cases are usually custom designed for shipping and carrying fragile equipment: audio visual, camera, instruments, etc. Although generally light in construction, they tend to have reinforced edges and corners.
- Road CaseRoad cases are often used for shipping musical instruments and theater props