The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the largest developer of international standards and the organization that developed the standard dimensional specifications for steel shipping containers used around the world. These containers are easily transferred between different modes of transport, such as a ship, railway or truck, without the need to load and unload and reload their contents. This standardized identification system is used to give each container a unique mark, which can be divided into three parts: an ISO 6346 (BIC) code, a size and type code, and additional optional markings. ISO 6346 is an international standard that describes the identification of a shipping container.
Ships' ISO containers must keep their contents safe from wind and water, so they have high-strength rubber gaskets on the doors. These standard sizes allow containers to be easily loaded onto ships and transported across oceans and continents. Open-sided ISO containers have the same dimensions as standard containers; 20 or 40 feet, with the difference that they have a side opening. ISO containers are available in a variety of standardized sizes, the most common being those that are 20 feet and 40 feet long.
ISO marks and a consolidated data plate enable intermodal transport around the world when they are kept in place and updated as needed. ISO Flat Rack containers are like Open Top containers, but they also lack side walls and even, in some cases, front and rear walls. The containers are made of non-corrosive steel or aluminum and are manufactured in accordance with ISO standards. Ventilated ISO containers are manufactured to transport products such as coffee or cocoa beans, which must be vented during transport; sometimes these units are referred to as “coffee containers”.
ISO containers comply with international trade and have specifications according to the standards of the International Organization for Standardization. Special purpose containers: these containers are custom-made for any size according to the type of cargo they carry. The table below shows the standard dimensions of ISO containers (common lengths, widths and heights).