Shipping Containers Disassembled: What are the Parts of a Shipping Container – Part 1

inside of a shipping container

It might seem amazing that a box made of sheet metal and beams can hold so much weight and keep cargo safe during a long sea journey. While not overly complex, each part of the shipping container is an essential part in making sure that the shipping container is able to do its job.

Let us look at the components that make up a shipping container, and see what to look for to make sure they are in good working condition.

The Parts of a Shipping Container

There are six main parts to a shipping crate:

  • Floor
  • Horizontal Support Rails
  • Corner Posts
  • Cross members
  • Side Walls
  • Roof

When all of these parts are assembled correctly, they provide protection for your cargo. The way in which they are assembled also provides the support necessary to handle the weight of your cargo. The construction design distributes the weight through the container, and allows the container to remain flexible enough to deal with stresses of loading and unloading.

The Importance of Proper Maintenance

Whether it is at sea, moved across land on a truck, just sitting around in a warehouse or on a dock, the container may be damaged by something. That is why it is essential that the repairs are done properly.

Improper repair will lead to a weakening of the structure. This means there could be something as simple as leaking which could damage your cargo. In a worst case scenario, a cross member fails and causes the container to collapse during loading.

Here is a detailed look at each of the components we listed above, including what you are looking for to make sure your shipping container is in good operating order.

Flooring: Typically, the floor is constructed of a special kind of plywood that is suited for operation in a marine environment. This specialty wood is resistant to breaking down when subjected to moisture or a generally wet environment for long periods of time. The decks and transoms (where the motor is mounted to the boat) of many small pleasure boats are made of marine plywood.

Cross members: These cross beams can usually only be seen from underneath the container. They are typically steel I-beams that hook into the bottom rails.

Plywood floors are meant to sit across three cross members or optimum support. A quick inspection of the floor can reveal soft spots in the plywood, or repairs in the floor that were made with plywood pieces that are too short and do not cover the three necessary cross beams.

Cratex Group offers industrial packing services for a wide variety of cargo. Contact our experts with any questions about shipping containers or packing services today!