Variations Add to the Endless Flexibility of Dry Cargo Containers

Most shipping containers come in very standard sizes and styles after all, that’s the nature of the beast and the beauty of shipping containers.  It’s what makes then so useful for so many things other than moving goods across the ocean as they were originally intended to do. The dimensions of containers remain uniform but, shipping containers do come in several different varieties to allow shipping of goods that wouldn’t otherwise ship in a standard conex container.


Standard 20 and 40 foot conex boxes are referred to as dry cargo containers.  Variations of the basic containers include refrigerated containers often called reefers, open tops or containers with no roof for shipping very tall items, tank containers which are nothing more than a floor with four corner posts, and top rails. A tank is positioned in the middle of this frame and now liquids can be lifted, handled and shipped uniformly on a container boat. You can find flat rack containers which are container floors with two end walls often used for shipping construction equipment. These containers all have very specific uses but they maintain the exterior dimensions of our good old basic dry cargo containers and are handled the same way.

In addition to those very specific use containers we’ll look at some shipping containers that share more of the aftermarket flexibility of dry cargo containers. The most common of all the specialty containers are the “High Cubes.” These containers are 9 foot 6 inches high on the outside and 8 foot 10 inches on the inside as compared to standard dry cargo containers which are 8 foot 6 inches on the outside and 7 foot 9 inches on the inside. This extra ceiling height makes high cube containers especially desirable for container homes or businesses.  The 8 foot 10 inch interior height allows an owner who is modifying the container into a habitable building to run electrical fixtures in a ten inch cavity and still maintain a standard 8 foot finish ceiling height. High cubes are readily available in 40 foot lengths, they can be found in 20 foot lengths with a little work.

Another style of container based on the dry cargo container is the “double door,” or “tunnel” container. These are containers that have a set of doors on both ends, when both sets of doors are open the container does resemble a tunnel. Very often 20’ double door containers are cut in half and transformed into two 10 foot containers. Usually you will find tunnel containers used in storage applications because you can load and unload them quickly from both ends or locate an item from both ends. If you are looking for a double door container make sure you are very specific in what you are asking for. Dry cargo containers come with double doors, on one end, if you ask for a double door container the seller may think you are asking for a standard container. To be sure you are getting what you need make sure you specify that you need doors on both ends.

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