Open Top Containers: What Are They?


Shipping containers have revolutionized the global trade and give a new high to the world’s shipping with its variety of uses. These Conex boxes are available in multiple sizes with different dimensions and specifications that can greatly handle your small as well as bulky cargo. With a perceptible growth of the shipping industry, new types of cargo containers are taking up space in the market, and their demands are as increasing as they have more versatility in their specifications.

The Open Top Container is one of the well-known types of the cargo container that is used to carry oversized cargo. As the name implies, these metal boxes do not have any top cover at all. They are specifically designed for the large items that need loading via crane and would not fit in the door of the standard shipping container.

These containers look similar to a standard 20 ft or 40 ft container and only have a specific use. Although they have no roof, they are usually more expensive than a regular dry storage container and is not a practical option for shipping use. These types of containers are always sealed up. To make a sealed box, the canvas is positioned over the top of the metal box.

In this post, I’ll discuss some exciting things about these Conex Boxes.

  1. What are they made of?

These cargo containers are usually made of corrugated steel, and the flooring is based on hardwood or bamboo. The door head can be spun out to operate forklifts and other similar devices. They also have four metal posts at the top corners to provide support for stacking.

  1. Types of Open Top Shipping Containers:

These special containers come in two types:

  1. Open top containers with Hardtops

the name suggests, their top is made of hard steel, and you can easily remove its roof with the help of the crane.

  1. Open top containers with soft tops

This type of open-top container is made up of tarpaulin, a soft material. Usually, all open tops are supplied with a soft top that covers the shipping container roof only when the cargo is not oversize and not sticking up beyond the roofline. When you have a large cargo, you should have to buy in a specially made oversized tarpaulin (tarp) to go with it. A Canvas or plastic sheets can be the best alternative of tarpaulin (tarp) that you can easily replace.

  1. Floor depth on an open-top shipping container

Typically, the floor of an open-top container is a fair bit higher than the floor in a standard dry shipping container as the floor needs extra strength in it to make up for the lack of a roof. However, floor depth varies on a 20ft or 40ft shipping container depending on the ages and makes of the container.

  1. Open top shipping containers with removable door header bar:

Some shipping lines and leasing companies have introduced an additional feature of a removable header bar above the door on open top shipping containers. This helps for easy loading of some bulky cargo by a forklift. However, this is not a guaranteed feature under ISO specs, and if you still need this feature, you can ask your supplier to add this feature in your metal box. The openinings of dooe header are typically 6ft 2 inches / circa 1880mm above the floor line.

  1. Open top containers provide the following capacities:

Open top metal boxes are available in 20ft and 40 ft standard sizes, but some shipping lines have introduced some high cube open top shipping containers. A 20ft shipping container offers 32 cubic meters of inside capacity while a 40 ft container offers 64 cubic meters capacity. As they have removable tops, more items can be packed easily.

  1. Standard uses of open-top shipping containers:

Open top boxes are special containers that have limited uses as they are less versatile as compared to other types of shipping containers. However, some considerable applications of these metal boxes are as under:

  • If you have a business that needs to ship heavy and oversized load regularly, the open-top container is the best choice ever.
  • These cargo containers can be used to transport ore, coal, or other similar minerals.
  • They are used to transport trees.
  • They are used to transport long steel bars of different thicknesses.
  • These containers can easily be transformed into open-air swimming pools and gyms.
  • They can also be used to remove debris.
  • Open top shipping containers are widely used to carry coils of wire.
  • Open top containers can easily carry cranes that other standard container won’t do this job best.
  1. How to buy open-top containers?

If you need to buy a shipping container for domestic or commercial purposes, the internet is the best way to find out the desired one. You can easily get this type of cargo container from many shipping lines. Many online shipping companies are offering one-trip and used containers at reasonable prices. You have to place your quote, and they’ll shortly contact you to know about your requirements. These companies offer both types of open-top containers, which also includes a collection of flat-pack sheds, canopies for containers, and more. Also, make sure that the company you are buying from delivers in your area.


You can go for one-trip or as-is containers if you have a limited budget. But if you frequently transport oversized freight, it’s better to consider purchasing new open-top containers.