Glossary

Flat Rack Container

Definition

A flat rack container is a specialized type of shipping container designed to transport oversized, heavy, or irregularly shaped cargo. Flat rack containers typically consist of a flat, open bed with fixed or collapsible end walls, allowing for easy loading and unloading of items such as machinery, construction equipment, and large pipes. These containers are commonly used in intermodal transportation, where goods are transferred between multiple modes of transportation, such as ships, trucks, and trains, without the need for unloading and reloading.

— sennder Team

FAQ

Flat rack containers are available in standard 20-foot and 40-foot lengths, with widths typically matching those of standard shipping containers (around 8 feet). However, the height and exact dimensions can vary depending on the specific design and manufacturer.
Cargo on a flat rack container is secured using lashing points, which are located along the sides and corners of the container. Cargo can be secured using various methods, such as chains, wire ropes, or straps, depending on the nature of the cargo and the specific requirements of the transportation.
The advantages of using flat rack containers include: -Flexibility: Flat rack containers can accommodate a wide range of cargo types, sizes, and shapes that may not fit in standard shipping containers. -Easy loading and unloading: The open design of flat rack containers allows for easy access to cargo, reducing the time and effort required for loading and unloading. -Intermodal compatibility: Flat rack containers can be used in intermodal transportation, making it easier to transfer cargo between different modes of transportation.
Some special considerations when transporting cargo on flat rack containers include: -Cargo weight distribution: It is important to ensure that the weight of the cargo is evenly distributed across the container to prevent potential damage or accidents. -Proper securing of cargo: Cargo should be securely fastened to the container using appropriate methods and materials to prevent movement during transportation. -Compliance with regulations: Oversized or heavy cargo may be subject to specific regulations and permits, depending on the mode of transportation and the countries involved.
Flat rack containers can be stacked on top of each other when they are empty. However, when loaded with oversized or heavy cargo, the ability to stack them depends on the nature and weight of the cargo, as well as the specific guidelines of the shipping line or transportation authority. It's essential to consult with the shipping or logistics provider to understand the limitations and safety requirements for stacking when loaded.
Besides machinery, construction equipment, and large pipes, flat rack containers are commonly used to transport boats, vehicles, industrial components, steel beams, and wind energy parts. Their open and robust design makes them suitable for heavy loads and items that exceed the dimensions of standard containers.
Cargo in flat rack containers may be exposed to weather conditions due to their open design. To protect the cargo, it's advisable to use weatherproof covers or tarps, especially for sensitive items. Additionally, securing the cargo properly is crucial to prevent damage from movement or exposure during transit.
The use of flat rack containers for specific types of cargo or in certain regions may be subject to limitations based on local laws, transportation regulations, and safety standards. Oversized and heavy cargoes often require special permits and may be subject to route or carrier restrictions. It's important to consult with logistics providers and regulatory authorities in the relevant regions to ensure compliance.
The cost of using flat rack containers typically is higher than that of standard containers due to the specialized handling, securing requirements, and potentially the need for additional permits for oversized cargo. However, for cargo that cannot be accommodated by standard containers due to size or weight, flat rack containers offer a flexible and efficient solution. The overall cost-effectiveness depends on the specific cargo, route, and logistics requirements. Comparing quotes from multiple logistics providers is recommended to find the most cost-efficient transportation solution.

Example or usage in road freight logistics:

A construction company needs to transport a large and heavy piece of machinery from the manufacturer to a construction site. Due to its size and weight, the machinery cannot fit into a standard shipping container. The logistics provider suggests using a flat rack container to transport the machinery. The machinery is securely fastened to the container using chains and is transported by truck to a port, where it is loaded onto a ship for the next leg of its journey. Upon reaching the destination port, the flat rack container is offloaded and transported by truck to the construction site.