Choosing the Right Container for Your Sea Freight Shipment

Do you know as per statistics, sea freight shipped about 90% of goods in the world? Sea freight is one of the most used international shipping methods in the global supply chain. It offers many incredible benefits such as it is cost-effective and good for the environment. Moreover, sea freight is the best option to transport heavier and bulky items.

There are many important things to consider while using sea freight for shipping your goods internationally, such as preparing documentation, selecting containers, etc.

Selecting good quality containers is one of the most important aspects of shipping goods with sea freight. Choosing strong and accurate-size containers guarantees the delivery of your goods in good condition and cuts costs.

What are the things that you need to consider for selecting a correct sea freight container? And what are some common types of containers that are available for sea freight shipment? Read on to know more.

Common types of containers used for sea freight

Here are some common types of containers that are used for sea freight.

Standard containers

This is one of the most common types of containers that are used for sea freight. They usually come in two sizes, 20-inch and 40 inches containers. For heavier items, 20-inch containers are used, whereas 40-inch containers are better for voluminous items.

High cube containers

These containers have the same features as the standard containers, except for one. High cube containers are an extra foot high compared to regular containers and are used for transporting items that are too tall for regular containers.

Refrigerated containers

Transporting temperature-sensitive goods can be a big hassle for manufacturers. Thanks to the option of refrigerated containers. They work great in transporting temperature-sensitive goods. Also called as reefer containers, these help in maintaining optimum temperatures of up to -30 degree Celsius and ensure the safe and secure delivery of temperature-sensitive items like frozen foods and medications.

Hardtop and open-roof containers

If you are shipping heavier or larger items, which cannot fit in standard containers, then you can choose hardtop and open-roof containers. These containers have removable roofs which are used for putting and taking out larger items. Sometimes, a crane is also used for transporting taller items to avoid inconvenience.

Flat rack containers

Flat rack containers have no side walls. They have a strong floor surface and two end walls. Large and uniquely shaped items are transported using flat rack containers. While using flat rack containers chains or lashing straps are used to keep the cargo secure in place.

Flexitank containers

Flexitank containers are used for shipping non-hazardous liquids such as cooking oil, wine-beer etc. Flexitank is a great substitute for regular tank containers, and it's a more budget-friendly option.

What is the typical size of containers for sea freight?

The sea freight containers come in 8 inches in height and 6 inches in width. However, there may be slight variations in sizes, depending on different companies.

Factors to consider before selecting containers for sea-freight

Here are some important things to consider before selecting containers for sea freight.

Select a container according to the type of good you want to ship

As a basic step, it is important to select a container as per the type of your goods. For routine dry items, standard containers work great, however, for specific goods (liquid, frozen foods, medications), it is important to select specific containers as per the type of goods.

Size of container

Next, it is important to select the proper size of the container as per your shipping goods. Selecting a container which is too big or too small might create problems related to proper packaging and ultimately affect the delivery of goods in proper condition. 20 inches and 40 inches are the two most used sizes in the shipping industry. However, you can choose containers of other sizes as per the type, size and volume of your shipping goods. A seasoned freight forwarder can help a business choose the right container for the goods.

Quality of container

Of course, this is another important factor to consider. Sea freight involves prolonged days of shipping time, and it is also possible that your shipment travels through multimodal transportation. Thus, it is important to select a container that is of good quality and is in good shape to withstand the long and rugged conditions of the transport.


In conclusion, selecting a good quality container is an important aspect of sea freight. And of course, there are multiple factors to consider, like size, weight, and type of shipping goods. If this whole process seems intimidating to you, you can hire a sea freight forwarding company to reduce the stress. A professional sea-freight forwarding company handles all aspects of sea freight perfectly, including selecting containers and helping to deliver your goods on time without hassle.