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Open Top Containers

Open Top Shipping Containers

Open top shipping containers are designed to simplify the process of transporting heavy cargo. These specialised containers have a roof consisting of removable bows and tarpaulin. The tarpaulin is secured by the roof bows and is made to protect all cargo, storage items or machinery from all weather conditions. The tarpaulin and bows can be easily removed, enabling quick access to the cargo inside. Open top containers also have end doors to provide further flexibility when unloading the cargo.

Open Top Container Uses

Open top containers offer a variety of useful functions. They are primarily used to store bulk goods and transport heavy machinery that cannot fit inside a hard top shipping container. They are particularly useful for businesses that need to safely transport extra long or tall cargo. Items most often stored inside open top shipping containers include machinery, industrial boilers, steel bars, steel pipes and cables. Packing and unpacking of these contents is usually done from above or through the doors using a crane.

The standard sizes for open top containers are 20ft and 40ft. They are ideal for carrying an over-height cargo of over 2.54m. 20ft open top containers typically have a maximum cubic capacity of about 32.2 cubic meters, while 40ft containers have a larger capacity of approximately 65 cubic meters. For more information, read our shipping container dimensions and sizes page.

The open top shipping containers for sale from SEA Containers aren’t just used for storage and transport purposes, they have also been used to create unconventional buildings for commercial purposes. Architects are constantly finding new ways to repurpose shipping containers. This is a growing trend in the shipping container industry. Containers with open tops have been used to create mini markets, open patios, outdoor area cafes, coffee shops and pop up shops or restaurants. The structure of the open top container creates a unique open-air environment, while still providing privacy around the sides of the walls.



Flat Rack Containers vs Open Top Containers

Open top containers have side walls made of corrugated steel. As they are closed on the sides, cargo has to be unloaded from the top or through the doors. Flat racks, on the other hand, have no side walls but do typically have fixed or removable end walls for heavy loading. Flat rack containers are most suitable for overweight cargos or heavy loads that need to be unpacked from the top or the sides. They are ideal for carrying oversized items like vehicles or heavy machinery. The floor is reinforced to withstand the pressure of the heavyweight cargo.

To secure the cargo, lashing rings are installed in the rails, the floor and the corner posts.

The end walls are also stable enough for several flat racks to be safely stacked on top each other.

While mainly used to carry large and heavy cargo, flat racks do have other uses. Like open top containers, flat rack containers have been repurposed in various creative ways. Flat racks provide a stable platform that makes them ideal for creating balconies or open porches. They have also been used to add floor space within storage crate homes and buildings. This helps to create an open layout without removing any existing walls. The standard dimensions of flat rack containers are 20ft and 40ft.




"When I started to look for a container for storage and solar panel array mounting, I can to the problem not knowing very much.  I contacted a few suppliers who basically responded with a quote.  Only John at SEA Containers contacted me me to discuss options and sort out what I really needed.  John visited me on site and even brought along the transport company to check access.  Access did have a few tight spots.

My specification was unusual, and it took a while but what arrived was what I wanted, and it went in place without a hitch.  John was there for delivery - great end to end service.

I have no hesitation in recommending John and SEA Containers if you are looking for any container option."

John L. Walley




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