ISO Tank Containers
A tank container is a large steel storage vessel which is pressurized and fixed into a 20 foot frame that conforms to ISO shipping container standards. Although the standard box container industry originally started life in the United States, the tank container industry has its roots in Europe.
Since the 1970s, tank containerization has become a well known and popular mode of transport due to its inherent efficiency, safety and cost benefits.
A frame is critical for tank cargo as it safely permits all other intermodal transport options around the world. These include rail, road and shipping.
Tank Container Uses
For the transport and export of gases and bulk liquids, tank containers provide an extremely safe and cost-effective method of moving this type of freight internationally.
Other common uses of tank containers are as follows:
- powered or granular dry bulk materials
- liquid and permanent gases
- flammable, corrosive and other hazardous/non-hazardous liquids
- non-hazardous chemicals
- non-hazardous liquid foods such as milk, oils, wine, and oils
Tank containers do not have any major application in the container housing sector.
Types of Tank Container
There are 3 types of tank container:
- Beam tanks
- Generic tanks
- Swap tanks
1. Beam Tanks
They are, therefore, lighter with lower tare weights and ideally suited to transporting gases such as nitrogen, oxygen and argon.
Average capacities range fro 7,500 to 27,000 litres.
Beam tanks tend to be low maintenance requiring little in the way of ongoing repairs. These tanks are usually ISO standardized and suitable for worldwide shipping and cargo.
2. Generic Tanks
Generic tank containers are the most common type and are fully contained within a welded frame or cage. They may look like beam and generic hybrids depending on the manufacturer.
This protects the tank from the possibility of rollover during transport with the frame being constructed to full ISO standards for tank containers.
The ISO frame is a critical part of the generic ISO tank container’s design. All tanks meeting this criteria must be tested for stacking, lateral and longitudinal inertia.
3. Swap Tanks
While principally created for European use, its application is growing worldwide.
Where the regulations permit a high volume of cargo to be transported, the swap tank is the economic choice.
The tank may be lifted and stacked using standard ISO equipment, although the increased width and length prevents stowage within the cell guides of a container vessel.
In general, ISO tank containers have an intrinsic capacity of between 20,000 and 35,000 litres depending on the characteristics of the cargo.
Each tank on average will have a working pressure of between 3 and 4 Bar.
Tank Container Dimensions
The dimensions of a tank container cannot be categorized in the same way as standard intermodal containers.
Most tank frames conform to ISO standards and are typically available in 20 foot sizes.
We have provided tank container dimensions and the relative capacities as well as other technical data for the following types of swap tank.
Tank Containers In Container Homes
However, with a little forethought, it’s clear that tank containers could be better utilized where liquid or gas storage, for example, is important. By doing this, there is considerable scope for the expansion of ‘eco’ shipping container homes in rural areas where there is no underground infrastructure or existing mains’ points for services.
The Quik House container home concept from New Jersey or the Lot-Ek kit home pioneered in New York are two excellent examples where tank containers could be incorporated in this way.