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The intermodal transport containment

The container is an intermodal means of containment that meets the definition given in the ISO 830: 1999 Freight containers – vocabulary, so it is an article of transport equipment which is

  • of a permanent character and accordingly strong enough to be suitable for repeated use;
  • specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods by one or more modes of transport, without intermediate reloading;
  • fitted with devices permitting its ready handling, particularly its transfer from one mode of transport to another;
  • so designed as to be easy to fill and empty;
  • having an internal volume of at least 1 m3 (35,3 ft3)

Furthermore, in the case of a container compliant with CSC ’72, The International Convention for Safe Containers, the following points are also provided:

  • Container is designed to be secured and/or readily handled, having corner fittings for these purposes;
  • Container shall be of a size such that the area enclosed by the four outer bottom corners is either:
  • at least 14 m2 (150 sq ft), or,
  • at least 7 m2 (75 sq ft) if it is fitted with top corner fittings.

The container is a means of containment designed for intermodal transport without intermediate reloading, and can be easily transferred from a container road vehicle to a railway wagon, or to a ship, and vice versa.

The types of containers

Different types are available on the market, suitable for a multiple variety of goods to be transported. In fact, containers can be of the following type:

  • Closed freight containers for general purpose. They can be provided with ventilation.
  • Open with rigid roof, hard top containers, suitable for loading from above or from the bottom door
  • Open, open top containers, possibly with cover sheet
  • Side opening, open side
  • Platforms, flatrack, with bottom structure
  • Platform (collapsed flatrack)
  • Thermal containers, commonly referred to as reefer containers, are designed for the transport of cargo under temperature control.
40 ft general purpose container
40 ft general purpose container

The choice shall be made considering mass, size, particular characteristics of the load to be transported, type of unit on which it shall be installed, stacking. Although the container structure is strong enough to support the forces developed by the load, the resistance is not infinite, and some simple rules must be observed to ensure safety during transport avoiding damage.

To learn more, please refer to the following pages:

CSC ’72, Convention for Safe Containers.

ISO container coding, for quick identification based on type and size.

ISO container dimensions, where the coding of the external and internal dimensions and of the door openings is described.

Permissible mass and load distribution, to properly load while meeting load balancing and load distribution requirements. In the event of localized stresses, the floor could be damaged.

Preliminary checks, to be carried out before the container loading. Containers in bad conditions that may not guarantee safety during transport shall not be loaded.