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..:: Containers for International Us ::..

In terms of the type of cargo for which the containers are mainly intended, they are classified as general cargo container and specific cargo container.

1. General Cargo Container
General purpose (dry cargo) container
It is suitable for the widest varieties of cargo. It is fully enclosed and weatherproof, having rigid walls, roof and floor, with at least one of its walls, either end wall (end loading) or side wall (side loading), equipped with doors.

Please see Dimension of General Purpose Containers for the related information.

2. Specific purpose container
It is used to facilitate the packing (loading) and emptying (unloading) of container other than by means of doors at one side of the container, and for other specific purposes like ventilation.

..:: Specific Cargo Container ::..

(1) Thermal container (reefer)
It has insulated walls, doors, roof, and floor, which limit the range of temperature loss or gain. It is used for perishable goods like meat, fruits and vegetables.

(2) Tank container
It is used for the carriage of bulk gases and liquids like chemicals.

(3) Dry bulk container
It is used for the carriage of dry solids in bulk without packaging, such as grains and dry chemicals. It consists of a cargo-carrying structure firmly secured within the intercontinental container framework.

(4) Named cargo types
It consists of various types of containers, such as automobile (car) containers and livestock (cattle and poultry) containers.Go to Top

Table and Diagram [ Dimension of General Containers ]

Container Capacity Recommend Load Volume
Length Width Height Height Cubic
External 20' 2.438 m 8' 6"        
6.096 m 2.438 m 2.591 m
Internal 19' 4.25" 7' 8.625" 7' 10" 1170 cft 1000 cft
5.899 m 2.353 m 7' 10" 33.131 cbm 28 cbm
External 40' 8' 8' 6"        
12.192 m 7' 8.625" 2.591 m
Internal 39' 5.375" 7' 8.625" 7' 10" 2385 cft 2050 cft
12.024 m 2.353 m 2.388 m 67.535 cbm 58 cbm
External 40' Hicube 8' 9' 6"        
12.192 m 2.438 m 2.896 m
Internal 39' 5.375" 7' 8.625" 8' 10" 2690 cft 2350 cft
12.024 m 2.353 m 2.692 m 76.172 cbm 66 cbm

NOTE : Containers with the same external length may not have exactly the same internal length and width.The Recommended Load Volume (RLV) refers to the suggested maximum cube to use in calculating a full container load. The RLV can be about 10-15% less than the container capacity, depending on the export pack dimensions.


Miscalculated capacity may result in a large empty and unusable space or a shortage in space. For example (see 20' x 8.5' container diagram on the left), the master cartons have a uniform height of 20 inches, and the length and width are greater than the height. If 1170 cubic feet is used to calculate a 20' full container load, most likely some cartons will not fit despite the empty space of about 170 cubic feet. You cannot stuff the remaining cartons into the remaining 14" high empty space.


..:: Container Dimensions and Capacity ::..

The 20 feet (20') and 40 feet (40') containers are very popular in ocean freight. The 8.5 feet (8.5') high container---8 feet 6 inches (8' 6") high container---is often referred to as standard container.The demand for the high cube container--- hicube---is increasing. The popular high cube container has a normal height of 9.5 feet (9.5' or 9' 6").There are half height containers (4.25' or 4' 3" high) designed for heavy loads such as steel rods and ingots, which absorb the weight limit in half the normal space.The most widely used type of container is the general purpose (dry cargo) container (please see Container Classifications) having a nominal length and height of 20' x 8.5', 40' x 8.5', and 40' x 9.5'. Referring to the Dimension of General Purpose Containers below, the dimensions shown in the table are not fixed, that is, the external and internal dimensions may vary among containers of the same length and height.The container capacity is the total cube a container can accommodate. The term cube often refers to the cubic measurement of cargo. The capacity (i.e., the internal volume) is determined by multiplying the internal dimensions, that is, the product of internal length, width and height. The capacity may vary among containers of the same length and height.




..:: Turn-Over Rate of Containers ::..



In the CY/CY, CY/CFS and CFS/CY container services, the carrier allows the shipper or the consignee, as the case may be, to retain (hold) the container at their premises normally for 24-48 hours only, in order to maximize the turn-over rate of the container. An overtime use charge, known as demurrage, is collected on overstayed containers. In special cases, such as when the shipper or the consignee is doing a substantial amount of business with the carrier, some carriers may allow a longer time without charging demurrage.


..:: Charter Shipping ::..



Charter shipping is a tramp service. The term tramp, as used in the ocean shipping, refers to a cargo ship not operating on regular routes and schedules, and picking up cargo only when it is chartered (hired) from the ship operator.

Some trade terms used specifically in charter shipping are as follow

  • FI
    Free In The word "free" as used in the charter shipping term means not including. FI is a pricing term indicating that the charterer of a vessel (i.e., the shipper) is responsible for the cost of loading goods onto the vessel.
  • FO
    Free Out -FO is a pricing term indicating that the charterer of a vessel (i.e., the shipper) is responsible for the cost of unloading goods from the vessel.
  • FIO
    Free In and Out
    FIO is a pricing term indicating that the charterer of a vessel (i.e., the shipper) is responsible for the costs of loading goods onto the vessel and unloading goods from the