What is Containerization and explain its various types?



A container essentially can be called as equipment utilized to carry goods or store goods. Based upon this concept of a container, we can say that containerization is technique or a method of distributing goods in unitized form thereby making it convenient to evoive or establish an intermodal transport system which can be a combination of railways, roadways, waterways or airways. Containers are usually standard sized and are referred to 20 ft. containers, 40 ft. containers etc.

The international organization has defined freight container as and article of transport equipment

  • of a permanent character and accordingly strong enough for repeated use
  • specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods by one or more modes of transport without intermediate reloading
  • fitted with devices permitting its ready handling
  • so designed as to be easy to fill and empty
  • Having an internal volume of 1 m3 or more.


Benefits of containerization


  1. It eliminates the need for intermediate handling.
  2. The absence of intermediate handling as well as the goods being transported quickly indicates that there are few chances for a cargo to get damaged or pilfered.
  3. Since there is less risk of damage and pilferage due to containerization, transporting companies can charge profitable cargo carrying premiums. Such premiums cannot be changed in the conventional mode of cargo shipment.
  4. Since the need for intermediate handling at terminal points such as ports, is avoided, savings on labour can be realized.
  5. Since goods are transport in standardized containers, saving on packaging materials, labour required for packing, etc can be realized.
  6. There is improvement in total quality service.


Various types of Containers:


General Cargo Container: This container is packed with all general type of cargo that does not require any specific temperature control. Today most of the containers that are in use are overwhelmingly the general cargo type.


Thermal Container: These containers are specifically designed to carry cargo that requires refrigeration or thermal insulation. It is covered with a special material that has low heat transfer such as polystyrene foam. Thermal containers are further classified in to three types


  1. Refrigerated containers meant for food items that require cold storage facility. E.g. meat, fish etc.
  2. Insulated containers for fruit, vegetables etc. Here dry ice is used as cooling medium.
  3. Ventilated containers which allow the passage and circulation of air through openings made either on the sides of the containers or at the ends of the containers. E.g. coffee seeds, tea leaves etc. are carried in these containers.



Dry Cargo Containers: These containers are in maximum use. Such containers are very useful when cargo has to be stuffed in to the container after the container has been mounted on to a wagon or a trailer.


Flat Container: These containers have only a strong base and no side walls. They are useful when the cargo is of odd size or when the cargo is very heavy. Trucks which carry heavy machinery, large sized pipes or railway wagons which carry army tanks make use of such containers. These containers are also called flat rack.


Bulk Containers: Are basically large sized containers, which have man holes in them. Man holes are openings or holes at the top of the container similar to what we see in petrol or water tankers. Such man holes facilitate the loading of bulk cargo using gravity.

Garment Containers: These containers have hangers built in them. Clothes can be hung from the hangers instead of folding and packing them in boxes. Such containers are thus used for transport of garments only.


Liquid Containers: These containers are usually made of stainless steeI,They have manholes built in them. These manholes are very useful to load or unload liquid cargo. Wd Dan see such containers in the transportation of milk.


Gas Containers: These are specialized containers that have fixture fittings which help to fill or empty liquefied gas. E.g. Liquid oxygen. They have thick walls and are made of high quality stainless steel. This is required for safe transport of liquid gas.



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