Cargo containers are best suited for merchandise storage in transit

Are you starting business but have not figured the storage or transportation of merchandise? Cargo containers are the remedy for you, depending on factors that we delve into.

Cargo containers are very large, sturdy storage metallic boxlike objects with standardized dimensions for storing and transporting materials and products efficiently.

You can transport these containers securely over long distances without any damage to the contents. Cargo containers are the preferred transportation of cargo by train, water and air.

What is the history of cargo containers

Storage contraption for cargo transportation over long distances is not a new invention.

The history of cargo containers is traced back in 1792 in England and during the second world war. The US army used smaller containers for the distribution of war supplies.

In 1955, Malcolm P. McLean knew that there was a way cargo could be transported from vehicle to ship or train without interrupting and offloading the contents for logistical purposes.

This is how he came to buy a steamship to try out his invention.

This started the evolution of cargo containers to what they are today. Currently, there are different types of cargo containers, all serving other purposes and categories of goods.

The sizes and features of cargo containers have continued to change with the shift in the storage needs and available means of transportation over the years.

Why are cargo containers the preferred mode of storage


First and foremost, cargo containers are hailed for their strength and protective benefits. It does not matter how delicate or heavy the contents may be.

Cargo containers are made from solid materials such as steel, aluminium and fibre-reinforced polymer with corrugated walls. They are also welded to the rails end frames.

As you can see, the materials used can uphold the integrity of shipped cargo over very long distances in different types of extreme weather conditions.


Cargo containers are relatively affordable because of economies of scale.

If your goods can not fill a container, you can opt for Less Container Load, where the shipment is grouped with other goods that have different recipients but the exact location.

This alternative is very affordable and flexible for very many business owners that have less cargo and cannot buy a full container of goods or materials.


A wide range of goods can be transported using cargo containers, from large to small volumes, heavy goods like machinery and vehicles to light items like jewellery, hair, and clothing.

A trader can also use cargo containers to transport dangerous and delicate goods like chemicals, hydrocarbons and perishable foodstuffs like livestock, flowers and fruit.

Transportation of different range goods is possible because of the production of varying cargo containers like refrigerated containers, tank containers, flat racks, open tops or open sides.

Security of your goods

Once a cargo container is sealed, it is now a trusted physical barrier against theft, fire and harsh weather like extreme cold or desert temperatures.The business owners can be very sure that the quality of their goods will never be compromised due to mishandling.

Cargo containers have intricate locking systems customized for maximum security to ensure that a thief cannot easily manipulate the locks.

Types of shipping containers

There are different types of cargo containers depending on their structure and make.

Dry storage containers

They are the most common cargo containers and most people are acquainted with them as they ship dry goods. This means that they don’t require any temperature regulations.

Flat rack containers

These transport heavy cargo like boats and cars. They are made of only a steel frame and if they have sides, they are collapsible so that cargo can be moved from the top of the sides.

Open top containers

These containers do not have a solid roof but they have a removable top that enables cargo of any height to be transported. They are best suited to heavy cargo like machinery.

Open side containers

These cargo containers are made of merchandise that is on the broader side. Their make is such that the doors can be swung open completely to transport more oversized cargo easily.

Refrigerated containers

They are sometimes referred to as reefer containers.

They are thermal, insulated sections with compressors to either heat or cool the container’s packaged cargo. The walls of reefers usually contain polyurethane foam for efficient insulation.

Additionally, many reefer containers also have adjustable ventilation, allowing for better internal airflow. This makes them suitable for food stock or pharmaceutical items.


These are typically designed to retain and transport liquids (including fuels).

Unlike other containers, these must be made out of anti-corrosive solid materials to ensure the safety of those handling the liquids and to prevent compromising their composition.

Insulated and thermal containers

Unlike the reefer containers, these have the reverse function of maintaining a higher temperature to keep the goods transported at precisely the right warm temperature.

Standard dimensions of cargo containers

What should you know about cargo containers

Choose a cargo container according to the goods you are shipping

You will need to first research what style best suits the goods you want to export. You cannot ship perishable goods in an insulated container or cars in a dry storage container.

Know the shipping method you are going to opt for

Goods move using more than one mode of transportation before reaching the recipient. It is essential to know which transportation they will pass through before they are offloaded.

With air transport, fewer goods can be transported and the costs are higher than a trailer, train or water transport, where you can choose a container that carries a larger volume.

Consider used or new cargo containers

If you did not already know it, you have the option of new or used cargo containers. The advantage of the used ones is that they are relatively cheaper.

However, you may fail to find the exact type or size you want. On the other hand, you can specify the features and dimensions that suit your needs with the new cargo containers.

Consider the security of your cargo

It is crucial to look out for the security measures of your container for the safety of your cargo. Some containers come with in-built security systems, while others do not.

If it comes with in-built locks, ensure that bolt cutters cannot easily break this. Cargo in containers amounts to a large sum of money. This is why the issue of security is crucial.

There is a lot to learn about cargo containers and this is a simple guide on the basics.

One thing is for sure though. They are a reliable, affordable and safe way to transport your goods and merchandise across continents, oceans and seas.

Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.