If you plan to ship your belongings overseas and have chosen to send them via ocean freight (the more economical albeit more time consuming option), your goods will be transported via container.
But what are the different types of ocean freight containers and how do they differ?

Types of containers

What you plan to ship will determine what type of container you require, whether it’s temperature controlled, open, sealed, or every imaginable option in between.

  • Dry storage container – this is the most common type of shipping container (see photo above), which is used to ship dry materials (dry containers generally come in either 20 or 40 foot options, but 10 foot containers do exist)
  • Flat rack container – containers like this have collapsible sides which can be folded into a “flat rack” to accommodate a wide variety of items
  • Tunnel container – not standard in the majority of containers, a tunnel container opens from both ends and is perfect for loading and unloading goods quickly
  • Open top container – much like a convertible car, the open top container has a convertible top that is removed to ship items of extreme height
  • Open side container – for easier loading, these types of containers open from the side rather than the front
  • Double door container – open side containers not making loading from the side easy enough, this is where the double door container comes in
  • Refrigerated ISO container – used to ship perishable items such as fruits and vegetables over long distances, this container is kept at low temperatures throughout its journey
  • Insulated/thermal container – unlike refrigerated containers, insulated or thermal containers are regulated to be at a higher temperature to transport items that don’t necessarily need to be kept cold but do require a temperature controlled environment
  • Car carriers – these vehicle specific containers come with collapsible sides to ensure a snug fit (without damage) for all your car shipping needs
Container options

In addition to the different overseas container types, there are also a few more options you have when it comes to choosing a container for your household goods.

  • Exclusive containers – sealed, larger steel containers full of items that belong to you and you alone (see also: dry storage containers above)
  • Shared containers – (AKA Groupage Containers and Partial Container Shipments) for shipments too small to warrant their own container – also more economical as your belongings will be housed with others, thus saving you money on overseas shipping costs
Determining container size

Unsure whether you require a 20 or 40 foot sized container? Get a free shipping estimate quickly and easily today!

For reference, a 20 foot container (approximately 1,000 cubit feet in space) generally holds three to four rooms worth of furniture and a 40 foot container (2,000 cubic feet) is generally used for moving four to seven rooms worth of belongings.

Other available options

Of course, if you are only shipping one to two rooms worth of furniture or household goods, there is always the option of choosing Lift Vans, which are wooden crates that are nonetheless still sent via ocean freight.

And there’s also air freight to consider.

Still unsure of how to complete your international move? You can contact internationalmoving.comdirectly with any further overseas moving questions you may have.