The Shipping Container You’ve Never Heard Of – The Flat Rack Container

Yeah, they are a type of quote on quote, “shipping container,” even though they don’t necessarily look it. And you most likely won’t be building your house with one of these.

These specialized containers have open sides that allow for the easy loading and unloading of cargo. From their dimensions to their primary uses, let’s take a look at whether or not a flat rack container just might be an unsung hero for your next project.

What Are Flat Rack Containers?

A flat rack container is a type of shipping container that has a higher than average loading capacity. That’s because it’s based on an open-wall and open-top design (see image above) where it has:

  • A steel frame, normally in the shape of a rectangle like a traditional shipping container
  • A pair of end walls at either shorter end – these can be fixed or or are collapsible depending on the container model
  • Open space on the long sides and top

Flat Rack Shipping Containers For Sale

Primary Function of a Flat Rack Container 

As you can imagine, flat rack containers are perfect for shipping and storing bulkier than average cargo that would be difficult to load into a traditional, four-wall shipping container. This might include buses, boats, other shipping containers, heavy machinery, pipes or logs among other things.

Does a Flat Rack Container Have Sides at All?

It does, just not for the longest sides of the rectangular shape. In order to prevent cargo from moving around while in transit, lashing rings can be installed in the side rails or corners of the flat rack container. These allow shipping experts to secure loads using chains and large straps.

Most Common Flat Rack Container Dimensions

Like their closed counterparts, flat rack shipping containers commonly come in 20’ and 40’ lengths. 

The dimensions for a 20’ flat rack container average out to:

  • A payload capacity of 31,000 kg or 68,580 pounds
  • 32.7 m³ or 1154.3 ft.³ of capacity
  • About 5.6 m or 19.4 ft in length

A 40’ flat rack container has dimensions that average out to:

  • 47,300 kg or 104,278 lbs in payload capacity
  • Cubic capacity of 62.2 m³ or 2195.7 ft.³
  • An internal length of 11.7 m or 38.3 ft

Considerations when Using a Flat Rack Container?

The design of flat rack containers makes them quite useful, but it also presents some challenges when it comes to moving these containers and the cargo they hold.

Strap Your Cargo Down to the Container

Because they don’t have a top or sides, the cargo within is much more exposed to the elements and potential thievery or damage. You should focus on belting down or otherwise securing the cargo to the container such that it would be difficult to steal and won’t be tipped off the container from wind or poor road conditions during transport. Additionally, this will prevent any of the cargo from moving and damaging other cargo or injuring nearby people. 

Cover Up Your Cargo

Sensitive cargo on a flat rack should also be protected from the weather via tarps or other protective barriers that can easily be removed for unloading. Waterproof covers are particularly good, especially when flat racks are in transit.

Varying Flat Rack Container Models Allow for Versatility

As we mentioned above, different models allow your flat rack container to behave in specialized ways. The two endwalls of the container can come fixed or foldable (fixed-end vs. collapsible flat rack containers). 

And certain models of flat rack containers may have forklift pockets. This allows you to move the flat rack conveniently to another location without having to unload the cargo and move the flat rack separately.

Measure Twice, Transport Once

When using a flat rack container to move large items, remember to pay attention to the height and width of your final cargo once loaded on a truck. You’ll want to be sure you’re within the legal recommendations in order to prevent fines and vehicle or overpass damages.

Specialized Containers From ModuGo

Flat rack containers are primarily a shipping and transportation solution for large, awkwardly shaped cargo, aka material that is unable to fit in a standard shipping container or that would be too hard to load and unload with side walls.

If you or your company are in need of a specialty shipping container solution, like a flat rack container, contact us, today.

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