Open Side vs. Traditional Containers: Making the Right Choice for Your Cargo

Selecting the appropriate container for cargo shipping plays a crucial role in influencing the security and overall success of the logistics process. There are two prominent container types in the industry: Open Side Containers and Traditional Containers. Understanding the nature of each container type is essential for cargo owners and logistics professionals to make informed decisions. Through a careful comparison of these two container options, we can identify the best-suited choice for your specific cargo requirements for safe and efficient transportation of your goods throughout the entire journey.

Selecting the appropriate container for cargo shipping plays a crucial role in influencing the security and overall success of the logistics process. There are two prominent container types in the industry: Open Side Containers and Traditional Containers. Understanding the nature of each container type is essential for cargo owners and logistics professionals to make informed decisions. Through a careful comparison of these two container options, we can identify the best-suited choice for your specific cargo requirements for safe and efficient transportation of your goods throughout the entire journey.

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Understanding Open Side Containers

Open Side Containers are a specialized type of cargo container designed with one or more full-length openings on their sides. These openings come with doors that can be completely opened which provides unobstructed access to the container’s interior. The defining feature of these containers is their ability to facilitate easy loading and unloading of cargo from the sides, in addition to the conventional front and rear access. This unique design grants unparalleled accessibility to stored goods, making it ideal for transporting items that may be difficult to maneuver through standard container doors.

Understanding Traditional Containers

Traditional Containers, also known as Standard Containers or Dry Containers, are the most common type of cargo containers used in global shipping and logistics. They are typically constructed from steel and have a rectangular box-like shape with standardized dimensions. The standard lengths of traditional containers are 20 feet and 40 feet, while the height is commonly either 8 feet 6 inches or 9 feet 6 inches. Traditional Containers are designed to withstand various environmental conditions, making them suitable for both intermodal & long-distance cargo transportation.

Types of Cargo and Compatibility

Cargo Suitable for Open Side Containers:

Open Side Containers are well-suited for transporting a variety of cargo types that require easy lateral access and careful handling. Some of the cargo types that are particularly suitable for these containers include:

Oversized Cargo: They are ideal for transporting oversized cargo such as machinery, industrial equipment or prefabricated structures.

Construction Materials: Cargo like long steel beams, pipes, or lumber often requires specialized handling. It offers a convenient solution for loading and unloading these construction materials from the sides, ensuring efficient and safe transportation.

Vehicles and Machinery: These containers are a practical choice for transporting vehicles, heavy machinery, or equipment with non-standard dimensions. The side access allows for easy maneuvering and securing of these valuable assets.

Perishable Goods: Some perishable goods may require specific handling and ventilation. These containers can facilitate the loading of temperature-sensitive cargo from the sides, ensuring that the necessary temperature control measures are easily implemented.

Cargo Best Suited for Traditional Containers:

Traditional Containers are highly versatile and can accommodate a wide range of cargo types, making them the go-to choice for various industries. Cargo best suited for Traditional Containers includes:

Dry Goods: Traditional Containers are ideal for transporting dry goods, such as textiles, electronics, consumer goods and packaged food items, thanks to their weather-resistant design.

General Cargo: They are suitable for general cargo that does not require specialized handling or oversized dimensions. They can efficiently transport goods ranging from machinery parts to household items.

Non-Hazardous Materials: Traditional Containers are commonly used for non-hazardous materials that do not require special containment or ventilation like building materials, furniture & appliances.

Palletized Cargo: They are compatible with standard pallet sizes, allowing for efficient loading and unloading of palletized cargo. Their rectangular shape ensures optimal space utilization, making them a preferred choice for palletized shipments.

Space and Storage Efficiency

A. Space Utilization in Open Side and Traditional Containers:

Open Side Containers offer distinct advantages in space utilization compared to Traditional Containers. With their full-length side openings, they allow easy access to the cargo from the sides, enabling efficient loading and unloading of oversized or irregularly shaped items. This lateral access eliminates the need for cargo to be loaded in a linear manner, maximizing the available space within the container. Traditional Containers, on the other hand, have limited access points through their front and rear doors, which may pose challenges when loading larger or awkwardly shaped cargo. As a result, these containers offer superior space utilization by providing more flexibility in cargo placement.

B. Storage Capacity and Optimization in Both Container Types:

Open Side Containers, due to their lateral access, can accommodate bulkier or longer cargo that may not fit through standard container doors. The versatility in loading configurations allows for optimal utilization of available space, making them suitable for transporting oversized goods. On the other hand, Traditional Containers excel in efficiently storing uniforms and standardized cargo, such as palletized goods or standard-sized cartons. Their rectangular shape and standardized dimensions allow for easy stacking and packing of cargo, ensuring space optimization within the container.

Security and Protection

A. Security Features in Open Side Containers:

Open Side Containers are designed with several security features to ensure the safety and protection of the cargo during transportation. Some key security aspects include:

Robust Construction: Containers are constructed from durable materials, such as steel, providing a sturdy and tamper-resistant structure.

Secure Locking Mechanisms: The side doors of these containers are equipped with multiple locking points, ensuring that the cargo is securely fastened and protected against unauthorized access.

Tamper-Proof Seals: Many containers are equipped with tamper-proof seals, which provide evidence of any tampering or unauthorized entry during transit.

Monitoring Systems: Advanced containers may have integrated tracking and monitoring systems that enable real-time location tracking and cargo surveillance, enhancing security during the entire journey.Weatherproofing: Open Side Containers are designed to be weatherproof, protecting the cargo from exposure to the elements & ensuring its integrity during transit.

B. Protective Elements of Traditional Containers:

Traditional Containers also offer reliable protection for the cargo being transported. Some protective elements include:

Solid Structure: Traditional Containers are constructed with a sturdy steel frame and thick walls, providing a strong barrier against external forces and potential intrusions.

Double Doors with Locks: These containers have double doors with secure locking mechanisms, preventing unauthorized access and ensuring the safety of the cargo.

Cargo Securing Points: Traditional Containers are equipped with internal cargo securing points, allowing the cargo to be fastened and secured to prevent shifting during transit, minimizing the risk of damage.Impact Resistance: Traditional Containers are built to withstand impact and rough handling, ensuring the protection of the cargo during loading, unloading and transportation.

How to Make the Right Choice for Your Cargo

For cargo that requires easy lateral access, such as oversized, irregularly shaped, or delicate items, Open Side Containers offer unparalleled accessibility, making them the ideal choice. On the other hand, if your cargo consists of standardized or palletized goods, Traditional Containers provide excellent security, versatility and compatibility with various transportation modes. Assessing the specific dimensions, fragility, and loading requirements of your cargo will guide you toward the container type that best suits your needs.

Practical Tips and Recommendations for Cargo Owners

Know Your Cargo: Understand the characteristics and dimensions of your cargo, as well as any special handling requirements, to determine the most suitable container type.

Plan for Loading and Unloading: Assess the loading and unloading process of your cargo to determine which container type facilitates easier and more efficient handling.

Prioritize Cost-Effectiveness: Balance the container type’s features and benefits with your budget to ensure cost-effectiveness without compromising cargo safety.

Track and Monitor: For high-value or sensitive cargo, consider containers with tracking and monitoring systems to ensure real-time visibility and security.

Test Load if Unsure: If uncertain about which container type best suits your cargo, conduct a test load in both container types to assess practicality and efficiency.

As cargo owners and logistics professionals, making an informed decision is crucial to optimize space, enhance security, and protect valuable goods throughout their journey. At SPS Ideal Solutions, we understand the significance of this decision, and our wide range of container solutions ensures that your cargo is transported with utmost care and efficiency. By carefully considering your cargo’s unique needs and leveraging our expertise, you can make a well-informed choice between Open Side and Traditional Containers, setting the course for a successful and seamless cargo transportation experience.