What is an ISO Container and its Benefits?

What is an ISO Container and its Benefits?

Sep 19th 2023

When you think of a cargo ship, you’ll more than likely also be thinking of the cargo containers, also called ISO containers, piled up and waiting to be emptied. These large Conex boxes are used to transport goods all over the world by both land and sea and have become the standard for global shipping. In this post, we’re discussing what ISO containers are, why they exist and the benefits of using them for both international shipping and for storage right in your own back yard.

What is an ISO Container?

To understand what an ISO container is you first need to know what ISO is. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization and is a non-governmental organization that comprises standards bodies from more than 160 countries. Its mission is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic activity. There are more than 24,00 standards today, covering a wide array of industries and important topics like quality management, product compatibility, information security, risk management and food safety. For shipping containers, ISO has set specific requirements that a container must meet to be considered certified. For example, ISO 6346 is the international standard which describes the identification of a shipping container, ISO 668 sets requirements for the dimensions of the containers, and ISO 1496 outlines the tests that a container must be able to withstand.

Importance of ISO Standards for Shipping Containers

Now that we know what ISO is, why does it matter if a container is an ISO container or not? These standards are not only put in place so that there is uniformity around the world, but uniformity between the modes of transportation used to move the containers as needed. If there were no standards, then containers (and whatever would be transporting them) could be any shape or size, making transferring containers from one form of transport to another difficult and time-consuming. By implementing these standards, ISO containers can be utilized across multiple transportation methods and transferred from one method to another easily. This is also why containers that are ISO certified are referred to as intermodal containers. Intermodal just means that these containers can be used on various modes of travel and are not restricted to just ship, truck, or rail making them international trade compliant.

ISO also outlines tests a container must withstand to be certified. Shipping containers are stacked on top of one another during transportation, and while they are made of steel and do hold up under a lot of pressure, they need to be sure that no matter how many are stacked on one another, the metal won’t buckle under the pressure of the combined weight. Various tests are outlined within ISO 1496 such as testing the corner fittings, the strength of the walls and floor, the weatherproofing of the container, and how the container holds up when being lifted and stacked. For any container to be considered acceptable for international transport, they must be ISO certified. Not only does this encourage product compatibility, particularly between modes of transport, but also means you can be confident that any ISO container can hold out against weather from transport and be strong enough to withstand weight on all sides of the container during its journey.

20ft &  40ft container

Benefits of ISO Storage Containers

Due to the standards that containers must pass to meet ISO requirements, this makes them a great option for anyone looking to rent or purchase a shipping container. Here are a few benefits from using an ISO certified storage container.


Durability As mentioned before, a shipping container must go through rigorous testing to make sure the integrity of the steel will uphold thousands of pounds of weight being applied to all sides of the container. This means that any container you use for storage will be extremely durable and offer you many years of secure storage.


Weatherproof To avoid water seeping in through the sides of the containers during transport, they are tested for their weatherproofing and how well their insulation works to keep out any water from the ocean waves during travel. The weatherproofing that comes standard on all containers is sufficient for any at home use of a storage container. After all, if it can traverse the sea and land, it will be able to withstand any weather you may experience at home.


Modifications Shipping containers are incredibly versatile and can be adjusted to any custom modifications. If you’re looking to add windows, vents or additional doors to the container, a skilled company, like ours, can easily modify the container for you prior to arrival where you need it.

Consistent Sizes

Consistent Sizes Due to ISO standards for intermodal containers, internal and external dimensions are specifically set, making it easy to determine the size and space needed for your container. The available space you need will always be listed and is consistent across the size of container. No variations, no guess work, no worrying.


Security Shipping containers already need to be certain that their contents will not spill out at any time during travel or when being moved from one mode of transport to the next. This means they all have locking mechanisms on the doors to prevent them from opening accidentally and can be further modified with additional lock boxes for added security.

StorageContainer Has What You Need

Whether you need a standard 20-foot container or a modified shipping container, all our containers are made of Corten steel and can withstand some of the most extreme weather conditions. With over 40 years of experience, you can count on for all your container needs. Give us a call or get a free quote online today!

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