Items are shipped all over the world each and every day, and most people don’t think twice about the shipping process. There is actually a lot that goes into shipping any type of cargo, including how the cargo is packed and stored. Cargo just can’t be loaded onto a truck, ship, or airplane without being properly packed. How it is packed depends on the type of cargo, how much it weighs, how large it is, and its final destination.
Most items that are going to be shipped will need to be packed into shipping containers. There are many different types of containers, all of which have different uses. The most common are ISO containers, which can be used for all kinds of shipping, including rail, ship, and truck. These are standardized, so they can be used all over the world with the most common being the top-loading style, which is used for heavy cargo.
A unit load device is a type of container typically used for shipments that are traveling by air. Also referred to as a ULD, these can be used on wide-body and narrow-body aircraft, and they are made to hold a lot of cargo. These are advantageous to companies because since they are large and hold a lot, it doesn’t take many containers to ship large loads of cargo. Each ULD has tracking identification to make the shipping process even easier.
Insulated shipping containers are used for carrying sensitive cargo, such as food items. They are temperature controlled, so products stay fresh until they are delivered. These are also used for shipping various chemicals and pharmaceuticals and can be used on ships and trains. They look like steel drums, and some have vacuum flasks for more insulation.
The final type of container for cargo is one that is used for liquids and gases, known as an intermediate bulk container. These can be made from either plastic or steel and are generally squared off so as to hold more material. These are lined with plastic and have taps that allow them to be easily drained or filled.