Unlocking Global Trade Efficiency with Open Top Containers

Open Top Containers: The value of the worldwide container shipping market is in the billions. In contrast to other cargo and product ships, container ships offer a different kind of maritime transportation.

Shipping containers are the most effective means of transportation for efficient global travel because they are small and simple to store. Containers are designed to carry almost any kind of cargo.

Businesses can rent such spaces, store their products however they like, and then have them sent all over the world.

Furthermore, multiple pieces of these containers can be stacked on top of one another thanks to the way they are made. Hundreds of containers can be stored on board the container ships.

This wide range of cargo can be carried by no other ship in a single voyage. Because of this, the container industry’s annual growth rate is steadily rising.

Numerous types of containers are available for use in commerce for transportation within the container business itself. There is a sort of container for practically any commodity that can be carried, ranging from fully chilled units called reefers to specially built units for manufacturing and industrial parts.

It’s crucial to remember that containers often have set dimensions. Most commonly available units have uniform height and width, but differ in length between 20 and 40 feet.

These are the shipping container sizes that are considered to be standard worldwide, and they go by two names:

The FEU stands for forty feet, and the TEU stands for twenty feet.

When calculating the volume of containers moved,

1 FEU = 2 TEUs

yet what happens if the goods need to be carried yet are too tall to fit inside the container? Or is it not able to be loaded via the doors on either side of the box? Cargo ships and conventional carriers might not be a choice for such commodities.

The Open Top Container enters the picture at this point. The majority of shipping lines and logistics firms worldwide offer this crucial container unit. It facilitates the operation of several industries by enabling the transportation of a wider range of goods.

This article will examine the Open Top Container in more detail, as well as the items that are frequently transported in them and the limitations that come with them.

Overview of Open-Top Containers

Overview of Open-Top Containers

One kind of container unit with a distinctive structure is the Open Top Container (OTC). It stands out for having an open top that is tarpaulin-covered. It is designed specifically to hold bulky, awkward goods that is unable to be carried in traditional containers. Apart from the open top, doors at both ends of the container that permit regular items to pass through can also be used to access it.

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The majority of containers have a discontinuity at the top, although they are nonetheless made of steel for structural strength. All edges of the form are reinforced to maintain its rigidity and to withstand weights coming from all directions.

In addition to being sealed by customs at a port, the top cover and the doors can be locked. Sealing open-top containers presents an extra challenge, even though other containers are hard to tamper with because of the seals on the locks.

Because of this, heavy-duty covers are employed, secured with clamp locks that require a unique tool to unlock. Furthermore, during travel, these containers are watched over to guard against theft or damage to the unit.

The process of loading and unloading is done just like it would with any other regular container. While container stackers are utilized in the yard for arrangement, spreader cranes are used to raise the unit.

The tarpaulin stays horizontal since the cargo usually fits nicely inside the container’s dimensions. In these circumstances, there won’t be any structural issues when the container is stacked beneath other units. On the other hand, part of the cargo will protrude above the container sides if it is big, heavy, and cannot fit within the container.

The container cannot be stacked under certain circumstances. These container units are stored apart from other items during shipping to prevent damage.

at a similar vein, open-top containers at the container yard are positioned elsewhere to avoid unintentional stacking. To transport OT units with cargo that protrudes above the roof, only vertical stacking cranes or forklifts are suitable.

OT containers are not widely accessible in the market because of their novelty. These facilities are available all around the world, and shipping companies like Maersk even provide extra services to keep your goods safe and secure during the voyage.

Owing to their limited availability, these units carry a little higher price tag than standard containers. Additionally, the price varies according on the kind of cargo you want to ship. Loads that are contained completely within the unit are usually taxed at a significantly lower rate than those that are outside the roof cover.

Dimensions and Specifications for Open-Top Containers

Because items transported in over-the-road (OT) containers are specialized, dimensions are crucial in unit selection. Twenty-foot and forty-foot units are the two sizes into which OT units are generally divided. Standard and high cube containers that may hold larger items might be found within them.

When empty, the 20-foot unit weighs between 2,000 and 4,000 kilos, which is known as the “Tare Weight.” Its internal volume is less than 35 cubic meters, and it can handle payloads up to 30,000 kilos.

The 40-foot vehicle has an internal volume of 66.4 cubic meters, weighs 3,850 kg when empty, and can carry a maximum weight of about 30,000 kg.

Take note that although the weight only slightly increases, the volume capacity is double that of the 20′ equivalent. This results from the container’s strength weakening with length.

The container is now more likely to bow under load and experience fatigue-related failure even though it is twice as long. Therefore, unlike the volume capacity, the payload capacity is not increased correspondingly.

The following list includes some of the main measurements of a 20′ and 40′ open top container:

20 Foot Container 40 Foot Container

  20 Foot Container 40 Foot Container
INTERNAL LENGTH 5.89 m 12.03 m
INTERNAL WIDTH 2.35 m 2.35 m
INTERNAL HEIGHT 2.38 m 2.38 m
EXTERNAL LENGTH 6.06 m 12.19 m
EXTERNAL WIDTH 2.44 m 2.44 m
EXTERNAL HEIGHT 2.59 m 2.59 m
UNLADEN WEIGHT (TARE) 2,260 kg 3,720 kg
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 31,260 kg 28,780 kg
VOLUME CAPACITY 32.7 m3 66.7 m3
ROOF OPENING LENGTH 5.44 m 11.57 m
ROOF OPENING WIDTH 2.23 m 2.21 m
DOOR OPENING WIDTH 2.34 m 2.34 m

It is significant to remember that different container manufacturing businesses may use different precise measurements.

Typical Content and Products Transported in Open-Top Containers

Products Transported in Open-Top Containers

Open-top containers are frequently used to transport a variety of commodities, such as jet and ship engines, high-duty tires (such those for heavy lift vehicles), machinery, and factory parts like pipes.

We know from the last part that the device can support loads of up to about three tons. The majority of cargo kinds are well below this restriction; nonetheless, because of their awkward shape, OT containers are chosen for shipment. This section will examine the different categories of commodities and offer some recommendations to assist you in determining if your shipment qualifies as an open-top shipment.

When subjected to loads, OT containers behave differently from other typical units. Even now, they are still frequently employed in the industry. Two main categories of cargo can be transported in an open-top container.

Initially, the load can be too big to fit into a standard TEU or FEU. In these circumstances, a crane will hoist the entire load into the container through the open top. After then, tethers that are placed along the unit’s floor and walls will be used to restrict it.

For this, specially designed pad-eyes and motion-restrictive lashing rings are employed. Generally speaking, these can withstand loads up to 1,000 kg. After the structure is in position, a tarpaulin or other appropriate cover is covered and fastened over it. To avoid the transfer of shocks or jolts during shipment, some slack is included. These kinds of loads are typically transported in open-top vehicles.

Secondly, even if the goods might fit through the container doors of a TEU or FEU, it might not be able to be loaded. This might be because of how delicate it is, that the container floor isn’t equipped with rollers, or some other problem.

For situations like this, certain containers are designed with rollers that allow the goods to be pushed into the container safely. Rollers, however, might not be the best option for large, brittle constructions.

It also requires a level surface for them to be able to move on the floor. It is challenging to use conventional containers because of these issues. An open-top container is ideal for this use. Here, the tarpaulin is tension-fit tightly to the top of the container. Tethers and restraints keep the cargo in place throughout the journey.

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How to Pick an Appropriate Open Top Container

Choosing the appropriate container is crucial, and this also applies to over-the-top containers. As mentioned previously, open top units enable the shipment of a variety of items. But while choosing one of these units, there are a few important things to take into account. Both the services offered and the structural safety must be taken into consideration. Reputable shipping and logistics firms readily give these kinds of facts to any and all clients. This enables you to select the appropriate container unit with knowledge.

An essential component of the structure is the open-top container. Reinforcement members are used to stiffen conventional containers with closed sides. As a result, the structure maintains its rigidity and its ability to resist forces in most directions.

Because containers must support heavy weights and are frequently piled on top of one another, they require a certain level of structural strength. Even with the additional reinforcing, a container may still buckle or bend when loads are applied that are higher than what is permitted. What would happen, then, if you removed the container’s top? In such a case, the structural integrity is seriously jeopardized, and appropriate action must be done.

Since the top is covered in a tarpaulin that is not meant to support weights, the load is no longer able to rest there. Container supports, which run along the container’s four vertical edges, are used to carry the loads downward for this reason. Furthermore, extra vertical supports are extending along the side faces of open-top units since they are weaker.

By adding materials with a higher yield strength, the container’s sides become stiffer and stronger. Because an open-top container does not have a sturdy roof to support it, you must make sure it is structurally sound before handling it.

Next, there are a few considerations about the exterior services offered to bear in mind while choosing an open-top unit. It is occasionally necessary to apply cushioning or other materials to secure delicate goods. In these situations, certain logistics firms offer the required cushioning or might even create specially designed polyester cases to contain the product.

It might be necessary to adjust the tarpaulin cover that comes with the unit to meet your needs. It can be fastened, for instance, using a variety of techniques like a clamped arrangement, which clamps it between the container’s side plates, a knotted arrangement, which connects it to the mainframe via a series of knots, or a crank-belt mechanism, which applies tension to automatically tighten and secure the tarpaulin.

Choosing an open-top container makes sense because the goods may nearly always need to be top loaded. After that, the tarpaulin will be tensioned along the unit’s roof. But safety measures might need to be done to give the tarpaulin some leeway if part of the load protrudes from the unit. By doing this, the loads placed on it are kept from transferring to the cargo and possibly harming it.

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