freight container terminology

  • Controlled Atmosphere (CA)

    An inert gas system used to extend the storage life of seasonal perishable products. To successfully store fruit for long periods, the natural ripening of the produce has to be delayed without affecting the quality. This is achieved by reducing the temperature of the fruit to the lowest level possible without causing damage by freezing or low temperature breakdown. To delay the ripening even further, the oxygen supply in the space is reduced to levels below that of natural atmoshpere (these are below the level required to support human life). A CA-system can actively adjust and control the air composition.

  • Dry Container

    Freight containers made from steel or aluminium suitable for the transportation of various types of cargo that do not require special conditioning.

  • Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR)

    Document which has to be filled in and signed by the receiving party in the transport chain every time a container is handed over from one party to another. Its main purpose is to track container damage responsibility through the transport chain. Parties in that transport chain are: vessels, truckers, terminals, depots, stevedores, customers, etc.

  • Flat Rack Container (or Flat Bed Container)

    Flat rack containers have no side walls and are available with fixed or collapsible walls. They are used for the carriage of heavy, bulky items that are over heigt and/or over width.

  • Forty-Foot Equivalent Unit (FEU)

    A container with the standardized length of forty feet.

  • Full Container Load (FCL)

    A container that is loaded with goods from one single shipper. It does not matter how full the container is.

  • Gross Tonnage

    Measurement of a vessel's overall internal volume which is calculated based on "the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship".

  • High Cube (HC)

    A container that exceeds 8 feet 6 inches in height. A HC container is about 30 cm higher than a standard containers. 

  • Less than Container Load (LCL)

    A shipment which is transported together with goods from other shippers in a single container to the same destination is LCL.

  • Long Ton (LT)

    Unit of weight which equals 2,240 pounds.

  • Metric Ton (MT)

    Unit of weight which equals 1,000 kilograms, 2,204.62 lbs or 35.314 cbft.

  • Modified Atmosphere (MA)

    An inert gas system used to extend the storage life of seasonal perishable products. Unlike a CA-system, however, a MA-system cannot actively adjust/control the air composition.

  • Net Tare Weight

    The weight of an empty container.

  • Net Ton (NT)

    = Short Ton (ST) = unit of weight which equals 2,000 pounds or 907.185 kilograms.

  • Net Tonnage

    Gross tonnage of a vessel less deductions for space occupied by crew's accomodation, machinery, engine room, fuel and for navigation.

  • Net Weight

    Weight of a product without packaging and without the container.

  • Nominal TEU Capacity

    The maximal geometric capacity, expressed in 20 Feet Equivalent Units (TEU). It is the contractual capacity agreed upon in charter contracts or the TEU capacity shown by owner-operators.

  • Open Top Container

    General purpose containers which have a flexible and (re)movable tarpaulin cover instead of a rigid roof. These containers are mainly used to carry over height, heavy or bulky products.

  • Out of Gauge (OOG)

    Cargo which exceeds the internal dimensions of the container/ flat rack in/on which it is loaded by length, width or height.

  • Overheight cargo

    Cargo which exceeds the height of an open top container.

  • Packing List

    Document which details the contents, dimensions and weight of each shipment/container.

  • Pre-cooling

    Articifial cooling of perishables prior to storage or shipping. This requires special equipment or cooling facilities.

  • Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)

    An extensive check of the reefer machinery to ensure that this is in perfect running condition. PTI’s only relate to the machinery part of the container, not to the general structural inspection.

  • Reefer Container

    A freight container equipped with a refrigeration unit or system suitable for the transportation of temperature sensitive cargoes such as persihables.

  • Short Ton (ST)

    = Net Ton (ST) = unit of weight which equals 2,000 pounds or 907.185 kilograms.

  • Stuffing

    The loading of cargo into a container.

  • Tank Container

    Freight container consisting of a tank and framework used to carry liquids and gases. It is equipped with accessories to facilitate filling and emptying and has safety devices. Also called tanktainer.

  • Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU)

    A standard-sized container which is generally twenty feet long, 8 feet wide and 8.5 feet high.

  • Unstuffing

    The unloading of cargo from a container.

  • Verified Gross Mass (VGM)

    Total weight of a container to be loaded on board, including weight of the cargo, packaging, securing materials and tare of the container. Since 1 July 2016 SOLAS regulations require shippers to establish and communicate the VGM to the shipping line prior to loading of the container o/b. There are two ways to obtain the VGM: 1) By weighing the container after sealing at a certified weighing facility. 2) By  adding  the  weight  of  each  package  stuffed  into  the container, plus  the  weight  of  the  packing  and  lashing  material  and  plus  the  tare  weight of  the container,  having  in  this  case  received  a  certification  and  approval  from  a  relevant national regulatory body. Failure to provide such VGM documentation for a container results in non-loading of that container.

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