How to Select and Purchase the Perfect ISO Container

ISO or intermodal containers (also known as shipping containers) are used for the intermodal transport of freight. They are designed and made according to specifications from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and are used for many types of shipping methods like being transported on ships, big rig trucks, or by rail cars and trains . These ISO container regulations were created to define a shipping container that meets certain size, durability, and strength standards. The point of these rules is to guarantee that the container can withstand harsh weather environments endured being shipped as well as having the structural integrity necessary to be lifted by heavy duty cranes  After they are done being used for transporting and shipping.  Containers are used for a number other purposes at the end of their initial traveling lives. Portable and permanent on site placement for storage units is very common. A cargo unit has 8,000 lb (3,629 kg) of metal which takes 8,000 kWh (28,800 MJ) of energy to melt down. Repurposing used ISO shipping containers is an increasingly viable solution to solving issues for people,  businesses, and the environment.

What is an ISO number and does it Matter?

The ISO 6346 International Standard establishes a visual identification system for every container, which is overseen by the International Container Bureau.  This standard includes a serial number, the owner, country code, length, width, and height, as well as the type of container.

Some containers do not have a visible ISO 6346 code, but rest assured that they are fully CSC safety approved containers.  Most often, these shipping containers are shippers owned, meaning they are not owned by the carrier, but are supplied by the shippers.

Container Safety Certificate (CSC)


ISO storage containers sometimes have a container safety certificate (CSC) issued by the containers manufacturer that must be re-issued every two and half years by a certified inspector. Sometimes companies will go through an approved continuous examination program (ACEP) as a substitute or equivalent of this process.

Types of ISO Containers For Lease or Purchase

There are many different kinds of ISO containers for companies to rent or buy depending the  needs of the business, including standard containers, modified containers, tank containers, reefer, insulated, dry freight, flat racks, open-top, and insulated.

Flat racks and platforms are containers that are used to ship very heavy machinery. They don’t have any side walls, but may have end bulkheads and  come with a collapsible feature.


Open-top containers are shaped like a box but can be loaded from the top or end. They are made to transport heavy, tall, or hard to load materials such as coal or seed etc.

open top container

Dry freight or cube containers are loaded in the front, they are completely enclosed and suitable for many types of storage purposes.

dry frieght cube container

Insulated or thermal containers are capable of storing chilled and frozen items, as well as temperature-sensitive materials and products.  They are different than reefer containers because they are not refrigerated but do come with the walls being insulated.


Reefer containers are temperature controlled cargo units that have an integral refrigeration unit. They are used to ship and store perishable food items or other products that need a temperature controlled atmosphere.


Tank containers are made to the same standard sizes as other ISO containers, but are cylindrical vessels placed in a rectangular steel framework. Usually, these units are used to store or ship liquid or bulk materials.


ISO Container Sizes and Dimensions

ISO containers are designed for shipping because their dimensions are regulated by the International Standards Organization (ISO). These classifications allow ISO containers to use space as efficiently as possible and does not matter if it is by rail, ship, truck. .

Container Height

Standard ISO containers measure 8 ft. 6 in. in height.  However, ISO containers are available in several heights ranging from 4 ft. to 9 ft.6 in.  Containers that measure 9 ft.6 in. tall are called high cube containers, while 4 ft. and 4 ft.6 in. containers are often known as half height containers.

Container Width

Most containers measure 8 ft. or 2,438 mm wide. ISO Containers that are larger are usually grouped into two other size categories. Alpha characters or letters C, D, E, and F identify containers that are bigger than 2,438 mm, but less than 2,500 mm. Containers that are larger than  2,500 mm go by L, M, N, and P.

Container Length

The most common container lengths are 20ft and 40ft. Other lengths available for rent or purchase include 20ft, 40ft, 45ft and 53ft.

Call US For A Quote on Shipping Container Rentals or Purchase (888) 896-5084 or Simply fill out our quote Form

There Are Many Different ISO Container Features To Choose From

ISO containers are available with several types of features. Some containers are waterproof, they can be stacked on top of one another, anti-flammable, anti-corrosive, explosion proof, and/or suitable for storing hazardous materials.

Additionally, we provide containers that are a buffer against electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference (RFI), which are suitable for the transportation of electric and electronic products. Or, if you are transporting goods that need to be kept in refrigeration or products that have high moisture such as coffee, you can choose the vented ISO containers.  These type of containers contain ducts along the side panels as well as the top and bottom rails in order to replace warm air with cold air.

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