Open-top steel storage containers are different from other container types. Flat rack containers have a floor and two walls, one of which on each short side. Moreover, standard containers consist of a base, four walls (one of which has doors), and a roof. In comparison, an open-top shipping container has a floor and four walls but no top. In its place, some have a removable steel lid, while others use a tarp to cover the cargo.
Typically, you’ll find one-trip open-top containers for sale between $2,000-$6,000, whereas used containers cost $2,000-$3,000. Alternatively, hiring rather than purchasing costs are between $50-$250 per month, depending on many factors. To be sure, speak to a team member who can tell you exactly how much renting an open-top container costs, both weekly and monthly.
Because open-top sea boxes have no roof, they have extra steel members around the top rim, strengthening the overall container. This decreases the usable inner dimensions compared to other container types. However, outside dimensions usually comply with ANSI/ISO standards.
Renting rather than buying a shipping container gives our customers the flexibility to choose the correct container for a specific cargo. Furthermore, the cost of a short-term rental is far less than the purchase price.
Open Top Sea Containers
Typically, the most common open-top container has exterior ISO-compliant dimensions of 20ft long x 8ft wide x 8ft 6ins high. It has an inside volume of 1360 cubic feet, with a tare weight of 4,850lbs, a net weight of 61,289lbs, and a gross weight of 66,139lbs. However, you can hire larger versions measuring 40ft long x 8ft wide x 8ft 6ins high. This container has an inside volume of 2720 cubic feet, with a tare weight of 8,380lbs, net weight of 57,759lbs, and gross weight of 66,139lbs.
Both container sizes have steel doors on one of the 8ft sides and an open top that uses a tarp or removable steel roof to cover the cargo. Usually, a standard enclosed Conex box’s floor is 1.1 inch (28mm) thick marine plywood supported on a steel framework. In contrast, open-top storage containers can replace this with hardwood or steel, depending on the load type. But, the alternative flooring will increase the tare weight, thereby reducing the cargo’s net weight. Please speak to one of our team for advice on this option.
The open design of this container type gives a few advantages over the standard container:
- Suppose you wish to transport an oversize load taller than the standard 8ft 6ins. In that case, the open-top container provides the advantages of confinement within a container without the height restriction.
- Loading and unloading an open-top container by crane is much easier for shipments such as vehicles, pipes, and timber. It would be difficult to load this cargo using a fork truck.
- Companies use open-top containers to carry bulky and loose materials such as grain, coal, sand, rock, and ore. They can be filled from the top using various means such as hoppers or mobile excavators.
Types of Open-Top Shipping Containers
There are two types of open-top shipping containers:
Although the container has no roof, its removable hard-top allows the container to be completely secured and used as any other storage container. Therefore, you can sometimes carry a tall load and, at different times, a more standard-sized cargo.
Because you can relatively easily remove and replace the hard roof, it’s also possible to load the container by crane. Then, install the hard roof before transit. And finally, unload manually or by fork truck. Or vice-versa.
The soft-tops have a tarp as standard that covers the roof opening. Its purpose is to protect the cargo from contamination, tampering, and the effects of weather and salt spray at sea. Containers travel by road, rail, and sea, and if rain or seawater finds its way into the container, it can damage the freight and add extra weight to the load.
The soft-top must fit snugly over the opening to prevent the tarp from flapping and tearing. The standard tarp stretches across the roof opening, completely isolating the interior from the outside conditions. However, this is no use if the cargo protrudes past the container’s roofline. If you have an over-height load, you need a specially made tarp shaped to cover the shipment and fit the container tightly. Once again, we don’t want dangerously flapping tarps as they often cause damage.
Finally, the soft-top tarp weighs much less than a solid steel detachable roof. Therefore, you can increase the maximum net weight accordingly.
ISO Sizes & Custom Solutions
Here are some of the typical sizes of ANSI/ISO-compliant open-top containers we have for sale.
|5.9m / 19.3ft
|12.03m / 39.5ft
|2.35m / 7.7ft
|2.35m / 7.7ft
|2.38m / 7.8ft
|2.38m / 7.8ft
|Door opening (W x H)
|2.34m x 2.28m 7.7ft x 7.4ft
|2.34m x 2.29m 7.7ft x 7.5ft
|Roof opening (W x L)
|2.23m x 5.44m 7.3ft x 17.8ft
|2.21m x 11.57m 7.3ft x 38ft
|28,130kg / 62,026.7lbs
|26,630kg / 58,719.2lbs
|32.5m3 / 1,147.3 cu.ft
|66.40m3 / 2,343.9 cu.ft
|2,350kg / 5,181.8lbs
|3,850kg / 8,489.3lbs
We know that sometimes, the standard-sized open-top containers haven’t the correct dimensions for your cargo. If you find this is the case, we also have fully customizable open-top boxes available with various options. Contact our team about this type of container.
Why Opt For an Open Top Steel Storage Container?
There are many reasons why you should choose an open-top storage container. Let’s look at the most important.
Having access to the shipment through doors and roof gives you more choices when shipping your products. Besides, sometimes, you can’t load cargo any other way than through the top using a crane.
Not every piece of freight fits nicely inside a standard-sized Conex box. You might have over-height cargo that needs the containment of an open-top box around its sides. Similarly, if you have over-weight cargo, you have the option of a steel floor. And, of course, lifting an awkwardly shaped load might only be possible when it’s inside a regular shaped container.
Finally, suppose you sometimes need to carry smaller products in a fully enclosed container. In that case, a container with a detachable hard-top will serve all purposes.
Can You Stack Open Top Containers?
As you might expect, to prevent accidents and damage, all shipping containers must be closed during transit. And open-top containers are no exception. Either a hard or a soft roof must cover the open top for safety. If you’re using a hard roof, then there will be no problem stacking the containers as high as you need. But, if the container has a soft-top, it can only be stacked if the load doesn’t protrude past the roofline.
Generally, there is no restriction on stack height in the US if the containers are on dry land. However, this statement always assumes appropriate caution, ground stability, cargo types, and many other factors. Furthermore, there are strict limitations for stack height at sea, depending on the regulations governing them, the captain’s discretion, expected weather conditions, and many other factors. However, irrespective of where you are, the weight of a stack of shipping containers can’t be more than the stack load of the lowest container. To disregard this limit risks complete collapse.
Delivering Your Container
Customers often ask how soon we can make a delivery and what happens when we do.
We are a company that delivers nationwide to all 50 states. We can arrange a drop-off of one of our standard ISO open-top containers 7-days a week. However, a customized container might take a bit longer. Furthermore, to maintain the safety of our employees and customers, our drivers cannot take their trucks over mud or very soft ground. But, we try to be flexible and will always accommodate your circumstances as much as possible. If you foresee any problems delivering the container to its required location, let us know when you place your order.
Depending on the type of load, you might need an open-top container to transport it successfully. If so, there are many reasons to choose one of ours, and one of our team will be happy to chat about your requirements and advise you accordingly. So call us to speak with one of our sales team. Alternatively, complete the form at the top of this page to get quotes.