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Overview of Containerization

Overview of Containerization

  • Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers (also “shipping containers”, “ISO containers” etc.). 
  • Containers are built to standardized dimensions, and can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another without being opened.

Characteristics of a Container

  • It holds together and protects the goods/cargoes carried within. Maritime Containers are available in different types and are configured to accommodate different kinds of goods.
  • They are also multimodal compatible enabling the movement of goods fairly seamlessly across the various transport modes by using a minimum amount of labour as they are mechanically handled.
  • It serves as load unit of cargoes in support of International trade.
  • Containers are made strong enough for repeated use.
  • They are designed to be stackable up-to eight tiers high while loaded.
  • It is fitted with lockable devices at all the four corners for ease of securing them during conveyance or shipment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Containerization


  • Flexibility between different types of transport
  • Handling elimination- only opened at destination once sealed
  • Labour saving- only handled during packing and unpacking
  • Little damages- does not occur because it is sealed
  • Eliminates, theft, pilferage- when it is sealed
  • Time saving- loading and unloading using a crane


  • Heavy loads damage roads
  • It is not suitable to transport smaller amounts
  • The cost of labour is expensive- port dues are expensive
  • Delays in deliveries