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Sea Container Shipping

What's in this article?
  1. What Is The Difference Between Container And Cargo?
  2. A Know-How To The Size, Width, Length, And Height Of Containers Used In Sea Container Shipping
  3. Types Of Containers Used In Sea Container Shipping
  4. Dry Capacity Holder
  5. Flat Rack Container
  6. Open Top Container
  7. Open Side Storage Container
  8. Refrigerated Iso Containers
  9. Half Height Containers
  10. Special Purpose Containers
  11. Steps You Need To Follow In Sea Container Shipping
  12. Step 1 Book Your Shipment
  13. Step 2 Prepare Your Shipment
  14. Step 3 Transport
  15. Step 4 Custom Clearance At Destination Port
  16. Step 5 Pick Up And Final Delivery
  17. Facts About Sea Container Shipping
  18. Made By Malcolm Mclean
  19. Million Containers Are Traveling At Any Given Time
  20. Possessed Or Leased? They Exist In Both Conditions
  21. They Are Often Lost At Sea
  22. They Are Made In China
  23. Volume Of Containers
  24. How Long Does Sea Container Shipping Take?
  25. Why Does Shipping By Sea Take So Long?
Sea Container Shipping

On average, 90% of the goods are shipped through ocean and sea freight. The reasons behind using sea freight are cost-efficiency and carbon efficiency.

And, without any second thought, sea shipping containers hold an essential place while shipping goods through sea or ocean freight.

Sea containers are enormous and rock-solid rectangular boxes. These shipping containers are considered reliable with their strong and simple-to-stack configuration that gives the shipping goods that will be shipped inside them a home and help them reach safely and soundly their next destination.

Some reasons you should consider shipping your goods in sea containers are:

  • Their Strength
  • Supportability
  • Stockpiling
  • Transportability

But, we understand that there are various factors that you need to consider before deciding on a shipping mode for your goods. Hence, this article shall discuss all the different aspects of sea container shipping.

Read on.


What Is the Difference Between Container and Cargo?

Shipping containers are great for shipping cargo overseas, but sometimes, they get damaged in transit. That’s why it’s essential to know the difference between a cargo and a container.

Are you too confused between the two terms named “containers” and “cargo”? Let’s bust the confusion by highlighting the differences between the two:

A cargo is just what it sounds like: a product you need to ship from one place to another. But when you’re shipping a lot of these cargos at once, it can be challenging to keep track of them all. That’s where shipping containers come in!

Shipping containers are made of metal and explicitly designed to transport cargo worldwide. They’re incredibly durable and beneficial for keeping your products safe during transit.

A Know-How to The Size, Width, Length, and Height of Containers Used in Sea Container Shipping

Before we dig deep into the details of sea container shipping, let’s jump into the components of shipping containers used in sea freight.

Remember, it’s critical to comprehend the size of a container before picking it.

There are differences in the length and width of shipping containers. But, the usual container sizes you’ll find measure as 10-feet, 20-feet, or 40 feet in length. The width of all these containers is typically 8 feet, 6 inches wide.

Besides knowing the inner dimension of your container, it’s also vital to understand things like the payload limit (most outstanding limit of freight when unoccupied) and the tare weight (a complete load of a compartment when unoccupied). This will give you an idea of how much weight your container can ship.

7 Types of Containers Used in Sea Container Shipping

Sea Shipping containers are the backbone of international trade. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Here are some of the most common types you might find:

Dry Capacity Holder

Dry capacity containers are the most widely recognized containers utilized in the shipping business. They come in varying lengths of 20, 40, and 45 feet, and they are intended to move dry products.

These containers don’t support temperature control, so they are inappropriate for moving food or synthetic compounds requiring refrigeration.

Flat Rack Container

A flat rack container is flat and has no top and no side walls. They only feature a wooden floor and collapsible walls. Such types of containers are suitable for weighty burdens. Most flat rack containers are either 20 or 40 feet in length, and they are produced using steel for strength and solidness.

Some flat rack containers are folding, and some feature extra dividers that can join the casing.

Open Top Container

An open-top container is a shipping container that can transport items that are not sensitive to weather conditions. These containers are usually made from corrugated steel. They are designed to be stacked on top of each other. But they may also be used for storage or the transportation of liquids.

Open Side Storage Container

Open-side storage containers are similar to open-top containers except that they have no roof overhang on one side or both sides of the container. This allows them to be stacked two high when they’re full while still protecting from rain or snowfall during transport via truck or railcar (if there isn’t a roof overhang overhanging those areas).

Refrigerated ISO Containers

ISO tanks are insulated shipping containers designed to keep the contents cold or hot depending on the transported product. They have a double-walled insulating layer with insulation between the two layers and an additional layer at the bottom of the tank itself, which helps keep heat in during summer months while keeping temperatures down during winter months.

Some ISO tanks also have built-in cooling systems to maintain temperatures at certain levels without using any external resources like electricity or gas power.

Half Height Containers

They’re designed to be stacked on top of each other. They can hold up to 40 tons of cargo per container! That makes them great for transporting heavy equipment and machinery from one location to another. It allows companies to store all their gear in one place until they need it later down the road, which saves them time and money on storage costs overall!

Special Purpose Containers

Special purpose containers are utilized for shipping things that require a custom container to be made for them. Since they are costly to produce and ship, most delivery companies avoid using special-purpose containers as much as possible.


Steps You Need to Follow in Sea Container Shipping

You have finally decided to ship your goods by sea from the United States to Canada (let’s suppose). But do you know what steps you need to follow to complete this shipment?

If no, fret not. We have got you covered.

Step 1: Book Your Shipment

There are several steps you need to follow in sea container shipping.

The first thing you need to do is book your shipment with a reputable shipping company that can help you prepare your goods for transport and then deliver them safely.

There are many benefits of using a reputable shipping company:

You can rest assured that your goods will arrive safely at their destination.

You don’t have to worry about any damage or loss during transit because the shipping company will have taken care of all logistics.

The shipping company will provide insurance if anything happens during transit.

Step 2: Prepare Your Shipment

After booking your shipment with a reputable shipping company, you should prepare your goods for transport. You should ensure that everything is packed securely in boxes and label each box clearly so that customs officials can quickly tell what’s inside each one. When packing fragile items such as glassware or ceramics, fill up any space with paper or foam peanuts so that nothing can break during transit.

This can be done by hiring a container-packing specialist or doing it yourself if you are experienced in packing containers.

Step 3: Transport

Once the container has been packed, it will be ready for transport. The next step is getting the container picked up from your location and delivered to its destination port. Once there, customs officials will inspect the contents of each container before they are unloaded onto an awaiting truck or train car that will then take them to their final destination.

Step 4: Custom Clearance at Destination Port

The next step is to determine what type of cargo needs custom clearance before reaching its destination port. For example, if your goods contain hazardous material such as chemicals or batteries, they must be cleared by government agencies before being shipped overseas.

Suppose there is no special requirement for clearance. In that case, it will be easier for you to ship items using sea containers directly from a country of origin. That, too, without any delay during the transit period, which can be very costly in terms of money spent on storage charges during the waiting period until final delivery takes place after arrival at the destination port.

Step 5: Pick up and Final Delivery

Once you have cleared customs and obtained all necessary documents, it is time for pick up and final delivery. This process can vary depending on whether or not your container has arrived empty or full.

If it is empty, all you need to do is arrange for its pickup at the port by contacting the company that shipped it out. Usually, this will be done through email communication only because no one will be available at the port during this period unless there are problems with pickup arrangements beforehand (such as missing paperwork).

You will need to arrange for final delivery once it arrives back home again—this could mean hiring an independent contractor specializing in such service or having someone else bring it for you.


6 Facts about Sea Container Shipping

Shipping containers aren’t mere the exhausting metal boxes you believed them to be. There are some interesting facts associated with them as well. Below we shall discuss a few intriguing facts that would impact how you think about them.

Made by Malcolm McLean

Malcolm McLean originally made delivery containers in 1955. McLean needed to find a more productive method of shipment dealing than the break-mass style that was predominant at that point. His container style was progressive as it consolidated outside corners for simple stacking and lifting.

20 Million Containers Are Traveling at Any Given Time

At some random time, around 20 million steel trailers are venturing to any part of the great seas on ships.

Possessed or Leased? They Exist in Both Conditions

Pretty much half of all transportation compartments are claimed by delivery organizations. Most of them are rented, with the rent running for a year to a decade.

They are Often Lost at Sea

Consistently, ships lose containers at sea, whether because of terrible climate or mishaps. Specialists accept that 2,000 to 10,000 are lost every year.

They are Made in China

Around 97% of all delivery containers are made in China. There are two reasons behind this. Work is fair, so it’s good to create them there to reduce expenses. Two, since China sends out a ton of the world’s items, it is generally proficient at delivering the holders there instead of creating them away and subsequently shipping them (unfilled, we could add) to where the ware is.

Volume of Containers

A regular 20-foot container has a volume of 1,170 cubic feet. A 40-foot container, on the other hand, has a volume of 2,700 cubic feet.


How Long Does Sea Container Shipping Take?

A container can commonly be taken and gathered within 24 hours or less.

After collecting containers, house-to-house trips might take as long as about fourteen days. Airship freight and pack trip time are commonly 5- 10 days, and sea freight can bear between 20- 45 days or further.

Why Does Shipping by Sea Take So Long?

The short answer is, “Because of the ocean.” The longer answer is, “Because of the ocean.”

The ocean is a prominent place. It’s also intense and comprehensive, which means that when you’re shipping cargo via sea container, your shipment has to travel a long way. It might take weeks to get from one coast to another—or even longer if you’re shipping to an island or another country. And if you’re sending across the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, it can take months for your cargo to arrive at its destination!

This doesn’t mean that it takes longer for people to order their products from overseas companies. Also, getting those products from one continent to another can be difficult because there aren’t enough ports available for everyone who needs them. In addition, there may be delays due to bad weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control that affect shipping times.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Sea Container?

Heads up! Pinpointing exactly how much it costs to ship a container overseas can be tricky. This is because your shipping costs will vary depending on several factors, amongst which the type of transport, distance, and volume of your shipment is the most important ones.

They are shipping a full-container load that costs between $2,000 and $3,000. You can break down the shipping by taking distance, shipment size, and container size.



Shipping a sea container is not as easy as it sounds. It requires lots of planning, preparation, and expertise. If you are looking for ways to save money on shipping your goods by sea container, we hope this article has helped you understand the process better.

However, the first step is to decide whether you want to hire a freight forwarder or not. You can always do it yourself if you have enough time and resources.

However, it is recommended that you should hire one because they have experience in dealing with customs clearance at the destination port, which can be time-consuming if done manually.

Happy Shipping!

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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