Container Options, Uses, and Specifications

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Our customers often have questions about which type and size of export shipping container they should use for their shipment. With multiple options to choose from, we direct them down the right path depending on the size and weight of the finished package.


20 foot? 40 foot? High cube? Open top? Flat rack? What do these mean and when should you choose one instead of the other? Let’s go over each container type and their advantages and drawbacks.


Things to consider when deciding on a container are the weight of each package, the dimensions of each package, how you’re going to load and unload it at the origin point and destination, and what kind of protection your package needs. All of these factors play an important part in the selection process.

First, let’s go over the different types of containers.


Dry containers are your standard containers with doors on the ends, sides and a top. High cube containers are the same, but have 1.4 feet more internal height and 1 foot more door height. Open top containers have an open top covered by a tarpaulin instead of a solid roof. This allows for oversized cargo to be loaded from the top. Flat rack containers are great for heavy loads and cargo that needs loading from the top or sides, such as heavy industrial machinery. Containers that are not listed are specialty containers like reefer containers that are used for cargo that needs to be refrigerated.



The following tables outline the specifics of each type of container. But remember, always check with the container owner as dimensions and capacity can vary. These are general standards.

With Industrial Lumber Company you have a knowledgable partner that can help ensure the safe delivery of your cargo. In business since 1941, we have the expertise to help skid, crate, pack and load containers for export shipping. We'd be glad to discuss a solution for any project you have.


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