List Headline Image
Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Essentials of Container Shipping - The sine qua non of the global seaborne trade you need to know
Joanna James Joanna James
5 items   1 followers   0 votes   0 views

Essentials of Container Shipping - The sine qua non of the global seaborne trade you need to know

Dating back to the invention of the steamship in the 19th century, container shipping has been pivotal to the global economy as the most common mode of mass transportation employed across the world. Read on to get down to the rudiments of the seaborne trade of container shipping.


What is container shipping and the purpose of the mass transportation mode?

Container shipping, in its basic form, is the transportation of cargo in truck-size intermodal containers on ships mostly across international waters. These shipping containers are made of steel and designed to withstand conditions of long freights through the world’s seas and oceans. Speaking about the purpose of container shipping, one cannot emphasise enough the world’s reliance on the mass transportation mode. If it weren’t for those countless container ships that ply wide-open seas every day, the state of international trade and the global economy would be beyond imaginable.


Standard sizes of shipping containers

Owing to the rising importance of the seaborne trade over the global economy, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) set standard sizes for containers, transforming the entire shipping and transport industry for the better. Thanks to these international standard sizes, containers can now be loaded and unloaded to and from ships and trucks or trailers at a gateway terminal offered by the likes of South Asia Gateway Terminals as well as all other terminals around the world, efficiently and with ease, taking down the overall costs of international trade. Shipping containers come in 20-, 40-, 45- and 53-feet sizes, all of which are based on the TEU, Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit, standard measure.


Types of shipping containers

Similar to shipping container sizes mentioned above, containers do also come in a few different types such as dry storage, flat rack, open-side, open-top and refrigerated containers and tanks. Therefore, when choosing the right container, one should not base their decision only on the size of the load, but also on the nature of their freight.

Dry storage containers are the standard containers used for shipping all kinds of dry materials. Open-top and flat rack containers allow the shipping of cars, industrial machinery and odd-sized equipment, thanks to their collapsible sides and roofless structure. The wider loading ability of open-side containers makes them the most chosen option for shipping vegetables, while food stock or pharmaceutical goods require refrigerated containers and tanks for transporting liquids.


Key players in container shipping

Container shipping is a team effort and more than just loading a bunch of container boxes onto a ship and setting sail. Carriers are an obvious stakeholder who owns merchant ships. Forwarders can be best described as “travel agents for freight”. As the title gives it away, Customs Brokers are experts in the customs processes. Third-Party Logistics Providers handle the distribution and fulfilment services, and Shippers are none other than the clients of the freight industry.


How to choose the right service provider

Choosing a company that can provide the right size and type of container boxes that suit your freight is imperative. Once that’s out of the way, a shipper’s choice would, more often than not, be based on price. However, in addition to cost, it is vital for shippers to choose a company with a robust track record, especially for the nature of your freight.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

  • Tagged With

  • Tools