As supported by the US Department of Agriculture (2021), different agricultural products require special handling as well as services in the course of transit. The manner in which the use of containers as transporting units has to be expanded to pay significant attention to the container as a commodity or supply chain unit. The main purpose of this article is to highlight different container types when shipping agricultural commodities. There are multiple forms of containers that are used when shipping agricultural commodities.
Dry Storage Containers
These are dry storage containers that are used when transporting dry goods and materials. This type of container can be used when transporting dry agricultural commodities (Marine Insight, 2021). The rationale for this view is that almost all forms of standard goods that do not have any particular requirements can be transported using the dry storage containers.
As the name implies, refrigerated containers are containers that have refrigeration. This means that they are often used to transport agricultural products that are highly perishable. For instance, refrigerated containers can be used in the transportation of milk or fruits and vegetables over longer distances. The availability of refrigerated containers means that agricultural products that are highly perishable do not have to be consumed at the specific point of production but can be transported to the required destinations while maintaining the required temperatures (Marine Insight, 2021).
Tank containers are in the form of a tank-based shape. They are used for transporting liquids or gases. In the context of the shipping agricultural products, tank containers are used in ensuring that agricultural products that are in liquid products are transported with ease (Pro Connect Integrated Logistics, 2020). For instance, the use of tank containers can play a crucial role in transporting milk to different destinations.
As the name suggested, ventilated containers are containers that have ambient air circulation (Marine Insight, 2021). The implication is that in the shipping of agricultural commodities, ventilated commodities are used to ensure that there is appropriate transportation of agricultural products that may require a specific level of circulation of air.
Insulated or Thermal Containers
Insulated or thermal containers are containers that are specific for particular products. These shipping containers have specific regulated temperature control that allows them to make a higher form of temperature. The selection of the material is done to ensure that they are able to have a long life without being inappropriately damaged by constant exposure to high temperatures (Pro Connect Integrated Logistics, 2020). This way, it is possible for the insulated or thermal containers to serve relevant roles in ensuring that the agricultural commodities being transported are not damaged or subjected to adverse temperatures or related issues.
Intermediate Bulk Shift Containers
The intermediate bulk shift containers are specialized storage shipping containers that are made majorly for the role of intermediate shipping of products. These containers are made in a way that makes them easily suitable for handling large amounts of materials. The intermediate bulk shift containers are also made for the goal of shipping materials to destinations in which they can be further packed as well as sent off to the final spot (Pro Connect Integrated Logistics, 2020).
Side Open Containers
The side open containers are viewed as dry storage shipping containers that have one door at one end of the container and the other door is along the side of the container. This type of shipping container makes it easy to load as well as unload cargo that can be damaged when loaded through the of the container. It also makes it easy to unload cargo into the container (Pro Connect Integrated Logistics, 2020). The containers are used to unload agricultural products such as cabbages and apples.
Open Top Containers
As indicated in the name, open top containers are used specially to ensure that there is ease of loading and unloading of cargo. It is imperative to note that contrary to the name, these containers are not literally open. The rationale for this point of view is that the top can be secured through the use of plastic sheets or ropes for securing the cargo from adverse weather conditions (Pro Connect Integrated Logistics, 2020).
Efficiency and safety of agricultural commodities is the main key points to consider when identifying the type of shipping container, it is important for the supply chain officers to select the right shipping container for the agricultural products. In most cases, shipping of agricultural commodities; food and beverages mostly covers large distance from the country of origin to the place of further processing or the final destination, as a result, the agricultural commodities are exposed to different conditions which might harm the product, hence there is a need to select the right shipping container for the different agricultural commodities.