Containerization is a method of distributing merchandise in a unitized form thereby permitting an
intermodal transport system to be developed providing a possible combination of rail, road, canal andmaritime transport.

Back in 1956, most cargoes got loaded and unloaded manually and individually by
longshoremen. At that time, loading a vessel by hand cost $5.86 a ton. The implementation
of containers reduced costs enormously – reducing them down significantly to 16 cents per
ton, a 36-fold saving, and also the time it took to perform this previously time-consuming
manual process. The container market was slow to develop initially, only coming into its own in the late 1960s, and this was likely due to the following reasons:
 few ports had cranes to lift containers on, and off, vessels
 the industry was notoriously steeped in tradition
 unions resisted change considering it a threat to their livelihood

As the container industry expanded at an exponential rate, numerous but meaningful
questions got raised. These pertained to:
 the future of trade growth – globalization and trade policy
 containerization trends and evolving consumer habits
 the sources of value add – scale, flexibility, consolidation and integration,
productivity, more predictable supply chains, environmental performance
 how industry leaders can evolve to capture opportunities
 will players become more vertically integrated, or will “digital natives” reshape the
industry Of course, no one has this advanced knowledge, and so, we can only imagine and consider
the implications of each.
The main advantages of containerization are:

 Standardization. The container is a standard transport product that can be handled anywhere in
the world (ISO standard) through specialized modes (ships, trucks, barges, and wagons),
equipment, and terminals
 Flexibility
 Costs
 Velocity
 Warehousing
 Security and safety.

From the appearance of the first units in the 50s to the present day, a great variety of maritime
and multimodal containers have emerged as a response from the logistics chain to ensure the
correct handling of loads. Important points to keep in mind:
-The size and weight of the load
-The solid or liquid nature of the cargo
-The degree of standardization of the cargo
-The type of crane and spreader required for that cargo
1. Flat rack container: A flat rack container has no top and only two sides. This makes room
for heavy loads to be set the rack from above or from the side.

2. Dry storage container: Dry storage containers are the most common containers used in the
shipping industry. They come in lengths of 20, 40 and 45 feet, and they are designed to
transport dry goods.

3. Open top container: This type of container is basically a Dry Storage type but without top.
This allows for easy loading of bulk cargo. There is a roof structure, plastic, that can be secured
to the container with ropes, and that provides protection against rain and other forms of

4. Refrigerated ISO containers: A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container
used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature-
sensitive cargo.

5. Open side storage container: An open side container has one long side that can completely
open. This is beneficial for wide merchandise that may be difficult to get through the end of a
tunnel container or dry storage container.

6. ISO Tanks: Tanks are storage containers designed to hold liquids. They are usually
constructed out of anti-corrosive materials because of the chemicals they are used to carry.

7. Special purpose containers: Special purpose containers can be made in nearly any shape
or dimension. They are used to transport items that require a custom container to be made for

8. Half height containers: Made mostly of steel, these containers are half the height of full-
sized containers. Used especially for good like coal, stones etc. From experienced, it has been
noticed that these are the most commonly used types of containers amongst the others.
The arrival of containers and intermodalism revolutionized the shipping industry. Containers
could be efficiently stacked, allowing more and more goods transported across the seas. Labor
costs dropped dramatically and, since containers were sealed, theft declined.