A Look at Container Components
Shipping containers have a number of different components that are standardized and evaluated by the International Shipping Organization. These container components allow for companies to easily ship and transport liquid and solid goods stored in drums or tote tanks etc. across land and sea with the same equipment. Though the different types of containers may have some differences, there are some standards to which all container components must adhere.
The frame is one of the most important container components as it ensures the structural integrity of the container and protects the drums and goods contained within. The steel frame consists of four corner posts, a front top end rail, a door header, two bottom and two top side rails, and two bottom cross members. The frame bears the load of the container and any that might be stacked on top or underneath it, so the frame undergoes rigorous impact and stress testing to make sure the container will withstand transport and stacking.
The frame must not exceed 9 feet 6 inches in height in order to fit comfortably in railway tunnels and under roadway overpasses, and to accomodate the combined height of stacked drums and containers inside. The length of the container can range anywhere from 8 feet to 56 feet, with most standard American containers extending to 48 ft or 53 ft. European containers tend to feature a length of 40 ft and an internal width of 8 feet to accommodate for the loading and unloading of standard shipping pallets. These measurements allow for the most ease of movement between one mode of transport to another.
If the container is an intermodal shipping container and transporting solid goods, then the container is fitted with a door at one end and corrugated steel walls on all other sides. As the primary load bearer, the floor has the most important container components. Solid transport containers have not only a solid floor but also structural additions such as bottom cross members to reinforce the amount of weight the container can hold. These cross beams add considerable strength to the shipping container, and allow it to be lifted from the top or the bottom without fear of losing the contents of the container.
Shipping containers for liquid use a ngle tank, contained within the rectangular frasime. The tank is often made of stainless or carbon steel or aluminum and has a variety of special openings. There is a manhole that allows for easy top loading, and it is usually located at the center of the tank. There are also safety relief valves as well as gaskets and bottom valves. Each of these valves is specialized for the liquid being transported, as hazardous liquids may require special handling. For instance, hazardous liquids tanks may not have bottom valves, lest the liquids leak from the container.
The International Shipping Organization makes sure all containers are regularly tested for safety and efficient shipping. Because of such standards, transporting goods has become easy and cost effective. In other words, containerization or the standardization of container components has made international shipping possible.