Intermodal shipping containers

Intermodal shipping containers

Containers come in a few varieties. A standard container is 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. The standard height is 8 feet 6 inches. This is known as a twenty foot equivalent unit or 1 TEU. This is how the capacity of container ships is measured. The World’s biggest container ships like the Emma Maersk or the MSC Oscar can carry 15 to 19,000 TEU’s. Having said that the most common container size is actually a 40 foot container, so the ship’s capacity is half the stated amount. Even so almost 10,000 containers is a massive load. These huge ships can cause their own problems. Roads around ports become very congested when one of these Goliaths docks!

40’ containers are the most useful. There is little difference in cost between a 20 foot and 40 foot container which is why the 40’ has become the most common. There are two standard heights. The high cube at 9’6” is now the most common. Surprisingly if you have something very heavy to transport you can get more weight in a 20 foot container as the steel box is lighter than a forty foot. They are also stronger as there is less unsupported weight. There are many different varieties of container. One specialist example is the Reefer or Refrigerated Container. This is used to transport chilled and frozen food.

Containers are normally used for long distance transport where time isn’t so critical. The cost savings are considerable. The container ships typically only have small crews of maybe 30 people. A large ship can replace 10,000 or more trucks. Container shipping itself can be very cost effective. It is often more expensive to collect or deliver the container a few hundred miles by road than it is to ship it 10,000 miles from China to Felixstowe.

Container shipping is most cost effective over long distances. We can ship containers from Europe but to be honest the savings aren’t great unless you happen to be based right by a port as the cost of shipping the container to the end user is fairly high.

Railways are becoming more and more important for moving containers. Not as economical as sea shipping but a lot faster and certainly cheaper than airfreight. There are now routes from Northern China into Germany which cuts transit times by a few weeks. Speedshift can then arrange road shipping back into the UK.

Speedshift has organised many container movements for it’s customers. We can arrange the most reliable and cost effective way to ship around the World. So if you have a container of toys to come in from Shenzen to Southampton we can not only assist you with the shipping but also all the customs paperwork as well as the end delivery or destuffing as it is known.

Speedshift now has depots located in most of the main UK ports. We have services in Immingham, Tilbury, Southampton, Liverpool and Avonmouth to name but a few.

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