Intermodal containers are everywhere, and sometimes it can be easy to overlook how they’ve changed international trade. However, since intermodal containers were introduced, they've become a crucial part of the supply chain and logistics. An intermodal container is a freight transport unit and a large metal container shaped like a rectangular box. Typically, intermodal shipping containers are forty-foot containers or two twenty-foot containers, and the container’s contents are not loaded or unloaded during intermodal shipping. They are designed and used to transport goods from one port to another.
Intermodal shipping containers are also one of the main causes that helped the development of international trade! Read on to learn more about some of the most common shipping containers that are used in the intermodal shipping industry:
1. Dry storage containers
A dry storage container is the most commonly used intermodal container. It is mainly used for storing and transporting dry materials such as wooden or cardboard crates, pallets, barrels, or drums. This type of container is completely airtight and is not equipped with cooling or ventilation systems like refrigerated and ventilated containers. Dry storage containers are available in 10 ft, 20ft, and 40 ft.
2. Flat Rack
These containers are equipped with collapsible sides, which can fold to make a flat, rack-like model. Flat racks are mainly used for transporting tall/comprehensive materials like wood, pipes, heavy machinery, etc., because no roof is attached.
Tank containers contain anti-corrosive materials for transporting fluids, powders, and more. This type of container must be at least 80% full to prevent the surging of fluids, but it shouldn’t be more than 95% full so that thermal expansion is possible. These are just general classifications based on the function and requirements of the container. However, they are often customized according to the shipping needs.
4. Open top containers
An open-top container is a dry storage container, but unlike a traditional dry storage container, it does not have a roof. This container is used to transport large items that are too heavy for manual handling or cannot fit into a standard dry storage container. The opening of an open-top container is smaller than the container’s interior, so there is less room for movement when packing your cargo.
5. Refrigerated shipping containers
Refrigerated freight containers are prepared with a system that maintains an internal temperature of between -35ºC and + 15ºC. Therefore, these containers must always be connected to an external power source. They are specially used to ship temperature and time-sensitive, perishable cargo such as fish, meat, medicines, and pharmaceutical products.
Why Should You Use Intermodal Shipping Containers?
There are many reasons to utilize intermodal shipping containers. Thankfully, you do not need to load and unload cargo with intermodal containers several times. Instead, you pack the goods once in the container and use them throughout the transportation journey. This saves time, effort, and money! As said above, intermodal containers don’t require additional operations and time. They even omit empty miles that directly translate into saving money. Thus, they are the most cost-effective for logistic businesses.
With intermodal transportation also comes the rail industry. The rail industry increases the range of transporting vast amounts of cargo efficiently, and intermodal containers prove to be the best choice for this. Reliability and effectiveness are the deciding factors of a promising industry. The entire process of shipping has become more reliable, quick, and efficient. Because of the stringent ISO guidelines and standards, intermodal containers eradicate the risk of any dangerous accidents.
At Northstar, our success and sustainability have come through by providing premium-driven quality transportation with great staff to service our customers. For more information on our services or to learn more about us, visit our website!