Shipping containers are one of the most unique and useful ways of transportation modality that have simplified the transportation of different types of cargoes over long distances and has made the process much easier and more convenient over the years. There are different types of containers that facilitate the commercial shipping of a variety of goods and products. They may range from reefers for perishable items to open-top containers for large-sized cargoes. Different shipping container types are built and modified on a need to need basis to help maintain the balance of global demand and supply chain in the various parts of the world.

Given below are the list of some commonly used container types you would like to give a look:

Dry Van Pallet Wide Side Door
Double Door Open Top Hard Top Open Top
Flat Rack Platform Insulated
Reefer Bulker Tank

Although conventional containers are built-in with fixed standard dimensions when the cargo to be shipped is oddly shaped or too large to fit in the standard containers. Or if it is too dangerous and damaging to load through the conventional doors. In such scenarios, Flat Rack Containers come to the rescue.

What are Flat Rack Containers?

A Flat Rack Container is similar to any other type of shipping container with the slight difference that it does not have two side walls (longer ones) and is devoid of a roof. So, it contains a solid base and two walls (shorter ones), which makes it appear as a rack, thus giving it the unique name, Flat Rack Containers.

This kind of container is mainly ideal for large-sized, bulky, and heavy-duty cargoes that do not readily fit in a regular standard container due to the restraints of space due to the walls and the roof. They are made up of strengthened steel to keep the structure rigid and sturdy. Heavy-duty tarpaulin sheets may be used to cover the containers on all sides to protect the goods from tampering while in transit. Or the container may be left open with the goods individually packaged. To secure the cover on the container structure, pad eyes, lashing rings, and clamp locks are used.

Different methods of loading the cargo have been employed depending upon the cargo shape and weight:

  • For extremely heavy cargo – cargo is loaded from the top and secured in a place by a crane as the weight of such heavy goods cannot be managed otherwise.
  • For light weighted and manageable cargo- cargo is lifted by a forklift and then shifted horizontally.

This kind of heavy lifting operations must be carried out under the supervision of experienced personnel to avoid any kind of grazing with the container walls.

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Types of Flat Rack Containers

Based on the design and support, these are mainly of two types:

Collapsible Flat Rack Containers:

The collapsible variant has walls (longer ones) on either side that can be collapsed when not in use. They are either detached or folded down to the base of the container. These are comparatively easier for storage as they have no vertical height. But the main issue is mainly about the strength as a collapsible wall does not help in dispersing the forces and there may be the formation of point loads. This results in the weakening of the structure. So, extra care must be taken with the collapsible flat rack containers.

Non-Collapsible Flat Rack Containers:

These containers have non-removable solid walls. These variants are comparatively much stronger and structurally stiffer than their counterparts. They are more convenient for shipping as the walls and floors can bear the weight of loads when in transit avoiding the danger of damage due to slipping. But the only disadvantage with these types of containers is that when not in use, stowing is a concern as they use plenty of space.

What are the different dimension of Flat Rack Containers?

These usually have similar external dimensions to that of standard ISO containers as they have walls and sidewalls that provide support to the structure. However, since roofs and side walls are absent, they can’t be measured.

The volume and capacity mentioned in the table below are usually the imaginary volumes or the expected volume of cargo that can be contained between the inner dimensions of the containers. However, owing to the structure of these containers, goods much larger than the mentioned capacity can be loaded as they can be extended both in the horizontal as well as vertical direction.

20′ Flat Rack
Internal Dimension 18’10×6’10×7’5
External Dimension 19’10x8x8’6
Door Opening
Max Gross Weight 72752 pounds
40′ Flat Rack
Internal Dimension 39×6’10×7’5
External Dimension 40x8x8’6
Door Opening
Max Gross Weight 99207 pounds

The above mentioned dimensions may vary depending upon the region as shipping companies sometimes build these containers with marginally varying dimensions.

What types of goods & cargo are shipped by Flat Rack Containers?

These containers are the ideal choice for transportation of heavy machinery, factory and industry parts and components, etc. due to the extra space provided by these containers. However, cargo needs extra attention while shipping via these containers.

The most common types of goods transported by flat rack containers being turboprop engines of planes as their diameter exceed the width of most of the containers thus flat racks are the ideal choice for transporting pieces of equipment as heavy as them. Other common cargoes that utilize flat racks are commercial automobiles, construction vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, and also pipes mainly the non-conventional large sized commercial pipes.

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How to obtain these Flat Racks?

Well if you are someone who is considering buying shipping containers of these kinds for your business, you should think about a variety of factors before going for these flat rack containers.

Care must be taken in preventing cargo failure by appropriately analyzing the cargo type, weight, and probable method of shifting. These parameters must be checked whether they fall within the permissible limits of the selected flat racks.

Additional simulations must be carried out on a spreader crane carriage to ensure that the unit can be readily loaded without the risk of bending.

For further queries and deciding on a final flat rack container that is best suitable for you, consider checking with your logistics consultant to discuss all the additional measures to be taken for the safe transportation of your cargo.