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    Address : 80 Canberra Street,
    Hemmant, Brisbane, Queensland -
    4174 Australia.

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    Tempe, Sydney - NSW, Australia

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    79-85 Pipe Rd, Laverton North,
    Melbourne, Victoria - 3026 Australia

The shipping container, otherwise known as a cargo container or sea container, is probably one of the most import inventions made in the transportation sector in the last decade.

The modern sea container was created in 1956 by Malcom Mclean, an American trucker, with the help of Keith Tantlinger, an engineer. The dimensions for the first container were 10ft length, 8ft width, and 8ft height. The original units, similar to modern containers also featured a twist lock mechanism on the edges to enable stacking. The duo gave the patents for the designs to the industry which began the international standardisation of shipping containers.

Sea containers helped reduce transportation costs as well as reduce lead times by minimising inefficiencies at the ports. They eliminated the need for manual sorting for majority of the goods, reduced reliance on warehousing, and made loading and offloading of shipping containers faster.
Over the years, the shipping container has evolved significantly with various design variations and sizes being introduced to cater for different needs. Size wise, two container versions (based on length) are common all over the world: 20ft and 40ft containers.

The USA has 48ft and 53ft shipping containers, but these are rarely used internationally. 10ft containers are also used worldwide but aren’t very common.

Types and sizes of shipping containers

Sea container types include:

1. General purpose containers. These are the most popular containers and are used to transport dry cargo. General purpose containers are available in 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft sizes. Custom sizes between 5ft and 40ft can also be made.

2. High-cube containers. These resemble general purpose containers in every way except in height. Instead of the standard height of 8ft 6in, high cubes are 9ft 6in to provide extra headroom for taller cargo. They are available in 20ft and 40ft, but custom sizes can be made.

3. Refrigerated/Insulated cargo containers. These are also referred to as reefers. They are insulated and fitted with refrigeration equipment to keep the goods inside chilled. These containers are used for transporting perishable items. They are available in 20ft, 40ft, and 40ft high cube variations. Custom sizes between 10ft and 40ft are also available.

4. Open top containers. These are similar to general purpose containers with the only difference being that their roof is cut off and replaced with a tarp. They are used for carrying extra tall items. Normal sizes are 10ft and 20ft, but custom sizes can be built.

5. Side opening containers. These type of containers have doors on the side in addition to the normal door to improve accessibility. Side doors can be added to any size and type of container.

6. Flat rack or bolster containers. These are flat racks fitted with collapsible walls used to transport out of gauge cargo. These are available in 20ft and 40ft variations.

Container Dimensions

The dimensions for the different size containers are as follows:

Spec/Container Size 10ft Container 20ft Container 40ft Container/ High Cubes (HCs)
Internal Volume 15.89m3 32.85m3 67.5m3 (75m3 HCs)
Tare Weight (Approx.) 1,200kg 2,130kg 3,660kg
Gross Weight (Max) 10,160kg 30,500kg 30,500kg
Length 3.05m (10ft) 6.1m (20ft) 12.19m (40ft)
Width 2.44m 2.44m 2.44m
Height 2.59m 2.59m 2.59m (2.80m HCs)
Internal Length 2.79m 5.90m 12.032m
Internal Width 2.35m 2.35m 2.35m
Internal Height 2.39m 2.39m 2.39m (2.650m HCs)

Because of the insulation and cooling mechanism, refrigerated containers have smaller internal dimensions that dry cargo containers. They do however retain the external dimensions as you shall see:

Spec/Reefer Size 20ft Container 40ft Container 40ft High Cube
Internal Volume 28.3m3 59m3 66.5m3
Tare Weight (Approx.) 2,700kg 3,900kg 4,150kg
Gross Weight (Max) 30,500kg 30,500kg 30,500kg
Length 6.1m (20ft) 12.19m (40ft) 12.19m (40ft)
Width 2.44m 2.44m 2.44m
Height 2.59m 2.59m 2.89m
Internal Length 5.45m 11.55m 11.55m
Internal Width 2.29m 2.29m 2.29m
Internal Height 2.22m 2.19m 2.47m

At Tiger containers, we provide all these containers for either sale or hire at competitive prices here in Australia. Contact us for more information.

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