Container Shipping

Whether consumers are aware of it or not, a great deal of their everyday products are transported inside of container at some point on its voyage to the market.  Even a smaller parcel delivery service will inevitably sub-contract to a container shipping company to traverse long distances or international waters.  Shipping by containers is not a method normally used to deliver products directly to consumers.  It is, however, a great way meet many other logistical requirements!

Standard containers are strong and durable.  If packed properly a container’s contents are unlikely to be displaced in transit.  Even a basic container will render its contents impervious to most environmental hazards. There are also containers fitted with refrigeration or climate control for cargo that is sensitive to certain temperature ranges.  Don’t overlook shipping container as a form of temporary storage.   Containers can be leased or even purchased as a highly versatile method of storing and moving company assets.

A container shipping service, by nature, will not include the loading and unloading of the container itself.  Containers will be delivered to the property of the sender and then subsequently retrieved at a later time.  A similar pattern of events will occur wherever the container is eventually delivered. One of the major potential advantages to this system is the shipment integrity.  A container can be shipped by sea, air, or land via a truck or train. This provides a wide range of cost versatility.

There are two standard container types assumed to be reliably available from any reputable container shipping service: TEUs and FEUs or, twenty foot-equivalent units and forty foot-equivalent units, respectively.   The equivalent foot measurement is one of length; standard width (8’) and standard height (8’6”) are almost always the same.  These proportions were set by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) some time ago to improve the efficiency of global trading operations.  Other sized containers are known to exist, but will not be compatible with or will lower the overall container capacity of the transporting vehicle.  For this reason, non-standards containers are not as common and considerably more expensive.

Before deciding to use container shipments, carefully calculate the size, number, and frequency of containers required.  It is sub-optimal to send partially full containers. In order to avoid wasted space, production and /or delivery schedules may need adjusting.  An additional consideration to be made is the size and shape of the objects being shipped. For smaller products, 2×2 or 2×4 boxes will make the best fit.  Irregularly shaped products or components may be a poor choice for container shipping if they cannot be packed into normal proportions.  In that case, consider another option such as flatbed shipping.

Whether the containers are owned or leased, ensure that the properties accommodating them can legally do so.  Though containers are moveable objects, some zoning laws consider them to free standing structures.  They are likely to be prohibited from occupying space in a residential area for extended amount of time.  Some other legal considerations apply, particularly if you plan to ship internationally.  Hazardous materials, liquids, and wastes are usually restricted.  There are many special requirements for shipping controlled products, such as alcohol, gunpowder/weapons, and certain pharmaceuticals.