Standard Container vs. Tank Container


What's the difference?


Even though the sizes and construction designs of both dry freight containers and ISO tank containers are approved and regulated by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), they are not the same. In both instances, size and capacity can vary depending on the manufacturer, the age of the container, whether it has been customised, and so on.


Shipping containers, or general purpose containers, are usually 20 foot or 40 foot, and are manufactured from either aluminium or steel. As the name suggests, they are suitable for most types of cargo. The 20ft container is particularly popular, followed by the 40ft container. Both are available as reefers for the transport of refrigerated cargo.


Tank containers, on the other hand, are used for safely transporting and storing bulk liquids and gases, including hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals, automotive fuels, et cetera. Most tank containers are 20ft because the tank capacity – when filled with the typical density range of liquids – remains within the optimum maximum gross mass for general use (ITCO).


At Interlease Africa, we specialise in ISO tank containers.


Why should you use a tank container?


There are several benefits to using ISO tanks:


There is minimal risk of product contamination and product loss due to a reduced amount of handling.


Maintenance costs are low.


Specific temperature can be maintained for temperature-sensitive cargo.


ISO tanks are internationally approved and regulated, making them safe.


Tanks can be cleaned easily, are reusable and provide secure storage.


Tank containers are more cost-effective, reliable, environmentally friendly and have a greater capacity, making them a preferable option to drums, which are prone to handling damage and cross-contamination, are difficult to clean and there is a risk of spillage.


They have a lifespan of between 20 and 30 years, especially if they are of the highest quality such as our tank containers.


Interlease Africa specialises in leasing agreements for ISO tanks, short- or long-term hire. View our range of tank containers or contact us for a free quote!


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