Despite their name, sea containers are large metal boxes used to transport goods by sea, land and air.
Thanks to their design, they can be neatly stacked on cargo ships, trucks and trains all over the world.
They are therefore an essential tool in international freight transportation. That is why there is an international global classification system used to identify and classify containers.
One of these elements is color. Because despite what many people think, color is not a purely aesthetic matter, but rather each color has a specific meaning that is used to classify containers and facilitate their transport and handling around the world.
Something that you should definitely know for example if you are planning to buy containers in the USA, where all maritime containers have different meanings depending on the industry and the purpose for which they are used.
What is the meaning of the colors of shipping containers?
As you may have noticed, there are containers of different colors, the most common being white, blue, green, red, yellow and brown.
Each color has a specific meaning and is used to indicate, among other things, the type of cargo inside the container.
The white container is the most common and is used to transport dry cargo such as textiles, electronics and non-perishable foodstuffs.
They usually have a dry and ventilated interior to avoid humidity and damp conditions that can damage the cargo. Due to their characteristics and design they are easy to clean and maintain, making them ideal for use in the transport of dry cargo.
Blue containers are used to transport refrigerated or frozen cargo such as meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy and pharmaceutical products.
They are designed to maintain a constant temperature inside, which is controlled by an integrated refrigeration system.
Blue containers are characterized by thermal insulation and are equipped with a ventilation system to prevent moisture accumulation.
Green containers are used to transport agriculture-related cargo such as seeds, grains and processed agricultural products.
They are usually larger than white containers and are designed to carry heavy and bulky loads. In addition, they usually have a dry and ventilated interior to prevent moisture.
Red containers are used to transport hazardous cargo such as chemicals, explosives and flammable materials.
They have a number of safety features, such as thicker walls, special ventilation systems and additional security locks.
They often have specific warning labels and identification markings to indicate the type of hazardous cargo inside.
Yellow containers are used to transport bulk cargo such as chemicals, grain and minerals.
They are generally larger than white containers and have a stronger structure to support large and heavy cargoes.
They also incorporate special openings at the top to allow loading and unloading of bulk cargoes.
Brown containers are used to transport loads of timber and other forest industry related products such as paper and cardboard.
They have a strong structure and are able to accommodate large volume and weight loads and are often equipped with special hooks and clamps to facilitate the loading and unloading of wood products.
Why is this classification important?
As you can see, each sea container color is used to classify the different types of cargo that are transported on the oceans.
This classification is important because it allows transport and logistics companies to handle containers more efficiently and safely.
- For example, red containers carrying hazardous goods must be handled with extra caution and must be separated from other containers to minimize the risk of accidents.
- In addition to their usefulness in transport and logistics, the colors of sea containers are also important for container identification and tracking. Each container has a unique identification number which is used to track its location and transport history. Color thus acts as an additional visual identification mechanism to help transport and logistics operators quickly identify the correct containers.
Although these are the most common colors, it is essential to underline that not all sea containers necessarily follow this color code.
Despite their importance in identifying and classifying the goods being transported, and ensuring that goods reach their destination safely and efficiently, they may vary depending on the company or the purpose of the container.