stacked shipping containers

Glossary of Shipping Container Terms and Terminology

To help you get your head around the often confusing world of shipping container speak, we’ve put together a short glossary of terms to help you speak and understand the lingo.

Storage container

No doubt the most obvious term on this list, a storage container is a large metal container which has been designed for storing and transporting goods securely.

Locking bar handles

These are the handles which are fitted with locking bars that provide additional security to avoid anyone gaining access to the container who shouldn’t!

Top header

The top header is a term for describing the upper horizontal beam or bar which forms the top part of the shipping container’s frame.

Bottom header

As you may have guessed from the previous description, the bottom header refers to the lower horizontal beam or bar which forms the bottom part of the shipping container’s frame.

Top rail

This term refers to the uppermost horizontal rail which features on the container’s side or end walls.

Bottom rail

Again, you may already have guessed what this term means after understanding what the top rail is – the bottom rail is the lowermost horizontal rail which features on the container’s side or end walls.

Marine-treated plywood floor

A marine-treated plywood floor is any floor which is constructed out of plywood and has been treated with materials that enable it to resist moisture whilst also withstanding the typically harsh conditions of marine environments.

Bamboo floor

A bamboo floor is a flooring option for shipping containers which is made from, you guessed it, bamboo! A material known for its longevity, sustainability and modern looks, bamboo is a great way to protect the environment inside of a shipping container.


A corrugation is a pattern of alternating ridges and grooves on the surface of a construction material. This can often feature on shipping containers and adds to the overall integrity and resilience of the unit.


This term refers to any surface which features alternating ridges and grooves which are arranged to improve its strength. Unsurprisingly, this design is particularly popular on shipping containers!

Door hinge

Far from being exclusive to the world of shipping containers, a door hinge is a device that allows the door of a shipping container to pivot or swing open and closed when needed.

Rubber seal

Again, a rubber seal is something which exists on various other structures and furnishings and is a simple strip or gasket constructed out of rubber. It is used to create an airtight or watertight seal between two surfaces, such as the door and frame of a shipping container.

Door seal

Another common feature on furnishings beyond the realm of shipping containers, a door seal is often constructed out of rubber or a similarly flexible material which is fitted around the edges of a door to prevent the penetration of water, dust, or other contaminants into the closed-off space.

MGW (maximum gross weight)

The MGW refers to the maximum allowable weight of a loaded container. This is inclusive of its contents as well as the container itself, and is specified by regulations or standards.


TEU is an abbreviation of “twenty-foot equivalent unit,” which is a standard unit of measurement that is used in the shipping industry to define the size or capacity of a standard shipping container.

CSC plate

A CSC plate is a safety approval plate which is attached to a shipping container to indicate that it is compliant with the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) standards and regulations.

Shipping container

There’s a very good chance that if you’ve arrived on this list you know what a shipping container is. But in the event you’re still unsure, or found your way here by mistake, a shipping container is a metal container which is used for transporting goods by sea, road, or rail. Providing easy handling and compatibility across various modes of transportation, they are renowned for being durable and practical.

Intermodal container

An intermodal container is designed to be transported using multiple modes of transportation. This means that it can be transported aboard ships, trains, and trucks without the additional need to unload or transfer its contents between modes of transport.

Corten steel

Corten steel is a type of weathering steel which is greatly resistant to corrosion, making it a good choice for shipping containers that are exposed to the elements.

Tare weight

The weight of an empty container, including its structure, flooring, and fittings, but not including its contents.

Container depot

A container depot refers to any facility or designated area which is designed for storing shipping containers. Often a container depot will offer services to repair, maintain and inspect shipping containers.


Absorpole is a moisture-absorbing device which is commonly used in shipping containers to help control humidity as well as prevent condensation.

Lock box

A lock box is a reinforced metal housing or enclosure which is designed to feature a padlock. This provides an additional layer of security which prevents unauthorised access to any of the container’s locking mechanisms.

Corner casting

Corner casting is a term used to describe the metal fitting or structural element which is located at the corners of a shipping container. These are primarily used for lifting, stacking, and connecting shipping containers safely and securely during transportation.

Lock rod

A lock rod or bar that engages with the locking bars of a shipping container‘s doors makes sure that they will remain safely closed as well as preventing any tampering or unauthorised access.

Ship planner

A ship planner is someone whose job it is to arrange efficient shipping routes for shipping containers.

Think we’ve missed something or are still unsure? Simply give us a call today to find out more!

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