How To Choose The Right Shipping Container For Your Business

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By Richard

Shipping containers: those large metal boxes that transport goods all over the world. They’re more than just transportation devices; they play a critical role in global commerce.

For businesses that rely on shipping goods, choosing the right container can be a make-or-break decision. Here’s how to select the perfect shipping container for your business:

  • Understand Your Needs

Before anything else, it’s crucial to understand what you’re shipping. Is it perishable? Fragile? Oversized? Pinpointing specific needs will guide the standard shipping container selection process.

  • Perishable Items: If you’re shipping perishable items, consider containers with refrigeration, also known as reefers.
  • Fragile Items: Secure packaging and possibly padded or reinforced containers will be essential.
  • Large Items: Look into open-top containers or those with side doors for easier access.

A robust understanding of your shipping needs allows you to confidently and precisely navigate numerous container options, ensuring your items arrive in impeccable condition.

  • Know the Sizes Available

Size matters when it comes to shipping containers. Understanding your options will ensure you’re not wasting space or money. The right-sized container provides efficient use of space, minimizes damage potential, and can even save on shipping costs.

  • 20-Foot Container: This is the standard size, often used for general cargo. It can hold roughly the contents of a two-bedroom apartment.
  • 40-Foot Container: This size is almost double the capacity of the 20-foot version, which is perfect for businesses requiring bulk shipments or transporting more oversized items.
  • High Cube Containers: An additional foot in height makes these ideal for taller cargo or goods that need stacking. They often come in both 20-foot and 40-foot lengths.

When considering size, it’s also wise to think about weight limitations. Each container size has its own weight capacity, and it’s crucial to ensure your goods don’t exceed these limits.

  • Consider Container Durability

Ensuring that your cargo reaches its destination without damage is vital, and the robustness of any unit, like an insulated shipping container, directly influences this security.

  • Material Quality: Inspecting the materials used in the container–typically steel or aluminum–ensures resistance against harsh weather conditions.
  • Condition Check: Even small issues like dents or rust can compromise the container’s structural integrity, so thorough checks are crucial for both new and used units.
  • Weather Resistance: Particularly, if your shipment will encounter varied climates, opt for containers designed to withstand extremes, from scorching heat to freezing cold.
  • Internal Coating: Sometimes, containers have internal coatings or treatments to protect the goods inside from damage or contamination, providing an additional layer of security.

Considering these elements when assessing the durability of potential containers can save businesses from unforeseen challenges and protect precious cargo throughout its journey.

  • Factor In Security

Securing your cargo’s safety is paramount. Modern containers have various security features, ensuring the products reach their destination unscathed and untouched.

Investing in containers with enhanced locking mechanisms and tamper-evident seals isn’t merely a precaution; it’s essential for mitigating potential losses from theft or tampering. Additionally, embedding tracking systems and insurance adds an extra security layer, offering real-time location updates and financial safeguards against unforeseen mishaps.

So, understanding and implementing robust security practices in your shipping strategy becomes imperative to safeguard your assets and maintain trust with your clients.

  • Stay Updated On Regulations

If you’re shipping internationally, be aware that different countries have varying regulations for shipping containers. Stay informed to avoid unexpected surprises or delays. These regulations can encompass everything from weight limits to hazardous material restrictions. Consistently reviewing and adhering to these standards ensures smooth transit and avoids potentially costly penalties or shipment returns.

  • Be Environmentally Conscious

Green is the new gold. Many businesses are looking for eco-friendly alternatives in every aspect, including shipping. With the rising environmental concerns, making eco-friendly choices becomes ethical and appealing to a substantial segment of customers who prioritize sustainability.

  • Choose Containers Made With Sustainable Materials: Opting for containers crafted from recycled or sustainable materials minimizes the environmental impact, and signals to your customers and partners that your business is committed to eco-friendly practices.
  • Opt For Reusable Containers: Investing in durable, reusable containers reduces waste and can be economically prudent in the long run by eliminating the need for frequent replacements.

Adopting green shipping decisions is not only commendable but also crucial for maintaining brand and customer trust.

  • Weigh The Cost

Price is often a deciding factor for many businesses. However, considering only the initial purchase or rental cost can be short-sighted when it comes to shipping containers. There are other financial elements to ponder:

  • Long-Term Investment: A sturdier container might cost more initially but can save money long-term.
  • Operational Costs: Some containers might need special handling, adding to costs.

Evaluate both upfront and potential ongoing expenses to make a sound financial decision.


Selecting the right shipping container involves more than size and cost. It’s about understanding your goods, their journey, and the values of security and sustainability. With these considerations, you’ll make a choice that benefits your business and clients.

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