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Open Top Shipping Containers

An open top shipping container is a specialized container used for cargo that needs to be loaded from the top, usually by crane. Once loaded, the container is secured with a soft or hard roof, and can be stacked and transported in the usual way.

At Port Containers we have both 20 foot and 40 foot open top containers for sale with either a tarpaulin or steel roof. Constructed from heavy duty Corten steel, they have double doors at the end, and several internal anchor points with timber or steel flooring.

Make Loading Goods via Crane Easy

General purpose shipping containers solved a very real need for import and export businesses, as being able to transfer whole containers from truck to port to ship and off again was a revolutionary innovation that significantly reduced the time it took to load cargo on a ship. Before the advent of standardized shipping containers, a ship could take up to one whole week to be loaded, but these days a container ship can be loaded or unloaded in 12-16 hours. However, there are some types of cargo that are difficult or impossible to load via the relatively small double doors of a general purpose container. So a container that could be filled by crane from above (similar to the way traditional cargo ships had their goods loaded by crane directly into the hold) was created: and voila! The open top container was born.

Wind-Proof, Watertight, Safe and Secure

As its name indicates, an open top container has an open top. However, by the time it is loaded and ready for shipment, it will be fully enclosed. This is usually done with a heavy-duty tarpaulin. The tarpaulin roof is exceptionally safe and secure, and once it is lashed into place, your goods are fully protected. However open top containers with a steel roof (which can be placed by a crane at the end of the loading process), are also available.

After loading is complete, the container is fitted with bow supports and a header rail, and the tarpaulin or hard roof is lashed tightly into place. The container then becomes as secure, water-proof, wind-tight and structurally sound as a general purpose container. The ISO rated corner fittings mean they can also be stacked as well.

Used for Heavy or Bulk Goods

Goods that are shipped in open top containers include heavy items that need to be loaded by crane, like logs, steel rods, construction materials and heavy machinery. Other goods like bulk minerals are also loaded via the top of the container.

How to Make Sure an Open Top is the Right Container for You

The name of the container leads many people to believe that they can use an open-top container for tall goods that won’t fit into a container with the roof left off, but this is not the case. The support bows, header rail and even the roof itself give the container its structural integrity, and must be put in place. If you have a tall or awkward item that won’t fit into a standard container, a flat-rack container is probably a better option for you than an open top container.

20 Foot Open Top Shipping Containers

At Port Containers we have a range of new and used 20 foot open top shipping containers at competitive prices, ready to be shipped to you anywhere in America.

Perfect for Transporting Heavy Goods

Constructed with top grade Corten steel, our open top containers are available with either a tarpaulin roof or a steel roof that can be removed by crane. Double doors at the end give easy access to the container and it can also be loaded or unloaded with a forklift if required. Steel or flooring timber is available, depending on what your business requires. Open top shipping containers are ideal for heavy machinery, mining equipment, steel rods, logs, dry cargo, bulk goods, minerals and chemicals. These are the most common cargoes that require an open top container because they are easily loaded by crane.

Versatile and Convenient – Load Through the Side or the Top

Although they have been designed for top loading, the open top containers can also be used for regular cargo if required. This dual capability makes it a versatile and valuable container that can be adapted to different cargoes when required.

Completely Wind-Proof, Waterproof and Secure

Once loaded, an open top container is fitted with a header rail and bow supports, and the roof is secured over the top.  The soft roof consists of an extremely strong and durable tarpaulin (known as a roof tilt or tarp), which is lashed securely into place before the journey begings. The hard roof is made out of heavy duty steel and is maneuvered into place by crane. It is then also tightly lashed and secured.

Once the roof has been secured, the open top container is as secure and sturdy as a regular shipping container, and can be stacked and stored in the regular manner

 40 Foot Open Top Shipping Containers

At Port Containers, we have a wide range of 40 foot open top containers available for sale, either with a hard roof or a soft roof.

Incredibly Tough, Waterproof and Secure

Like all ISO shipping containers, the 40 foot open top containers are constructed out of heavy duty marine grade Corten steel and feature several internal anchor points for safe stowage of goods. 270 degree opening double doors on the end wall allow the option of loading goods via a forklift if a crane is not required, and the containers are available with timber or steel flooring. The 40 foot containers are ideal for shipping heavy machinery, wire bales, construction materials, mining equipment, dry goods and long items like wood or steel rods. The double doors also allow for loading of regular goods, so it can be used in a similar way to a general purpose shipping container if required.

An Open Top That’s Not an Open Top

Contrary to its name, an open top doesn’t remain open during shipping. A header rail and roof bows are added once the container is loaded, and the roof is then tightly secured in place. The roof is a key component of the container’s structural support, and it cannot be shipped without it, so using an open top container to ship goods that are too tall or bulky for a regular container is not possible. In this case, a flat rack container or other container designed for shipping awkward goods would be required.

Open Top Shipping Container Dimensions

SPECIFICATIONS20’ UNIT40’ UNIT
MAX PAYLOAD67196 lbs58797 lbs
TARE WEIGHT4960 lbs8399 lbs
CAPACITY1130 ft³2295 ft³
INTERNAL LENGTH19’ 4” 39’ 6”
INTERNAL WIDTH7’ 8”7’ 8”
INTERNAL HEIGHT7’ 7”7’ 7”
EXTERNAL LENGTH20’40’
EXTERNAL WIDTH8’8’
EXTERNAL HEIGHT8’ 6” 8’ 6”
DOOR OPENING
WIDTH7’ 8”7’ 8”
HEIGHT7’ 5”7’ 5”

*Dimensions & weight may differ nominally depending on manufacturer.

Want to Buy an Open Top Container?

You’ve definitely come to the right place! At Port Containers, we’re experts in all the types of shipping containers required to ensure your goods arrive safely and securely. And we have incredibly competitive prices, too. To order your open top shipping container, or to talk about your shipping container requirements, simply give us a call on 1888 307 2420. Or fill out the easy to use quote form and we will send a price list out to you.