Shipping container doors explained

shipping container doors

Shipping container doors are one of the most integral parts of the cargo container and give it completeness. It saves the cargo from slipping over or turning damaged during the journey. Maritime containers have been helping mankind for decades by transporting and storing the cargo to distant places. Many elements come together to form a shipping unit. The structure of the unit involves the wall panel, shipping container floor, roof, corner posts, wooden flooring, and door. These all components when come together formed with hard metals like steel, corten steel, or aluminum makes the freight containers that help us solve all cargo storage and transfer issues.

Other than this, the cargo boxes are in use for architectural buildings like shipping container homes, offices, restaurants, spas, pools, and whatnot. And in every architectural structure shipping container doors play quite an important role.

Now, you might be thinking about what type of door is used for shipping containers! But before moving to types let’s see what are the freight container doors elements!

What are the elements of the maritime container door?

The elements of the cargo container gate incorporate:

Door Body

For door construction, the two vertical rolled hollow sections and 2 horizontal c section members are joined. The four hinges at the corners allow 2700 movement of the doors. The corrugated steel panels fill the void of the doors.


Lockbox, a steel box is welded to help the shipper install padlocks. This adds a safety feature to the door.

Lock-rod and handle

To open, close, and lock, 2-4 lock-rods are installed. This rod contains a cam-and-knuckle mechanism to make the cam come out when you open the door.


Rubber gaskets provide closure to the gaps that are in between the edges of shipping boxes and doors. This stops any type of water leakage or seeping of water inside the maritime shipping container.

Hinge pins

They are pivot points that allow free movement of the doors.

What are different cargo container door types?

The different types of container doors are:

Custom Doors

Custom doors are the ones that are most useful when you are carrying on container modifications. As they give you the feasibility of fixing to the place where you want. It doesn’t come pre-installed, you have to visualize and fit the doors as per your need.

Cargo Doors

The cargo or swinging doors are sturdy doors that you can find at the end of the shipping box. They are perfect for keeping heavy machinery, tools, or any other items. They are wind and watertight and easily safeguard the goods from extreme temperatures, seawater, rain, wind, and other environmental elements. Being durable and heavy-duty, they make it difficult for thieves to pry open them. The main drawback to them is that as they swing open, they need more space. If there is constriction of space, they are not quite successful.

Double doors

Double door containers have double doors that give them the shape of the tunnel. That is why they are famous as “tunnel-tainer.” The boxes come in the sizes of 20ft, 40ft double door, and 20ft high cube. The gates are present on both ends of the boxes that help the loaders to keep the cargoes from both sides. Thus, helping in compartmentalizing the goods is easier and one can keep different items or we can say different shippers also can keep their goods in one freight unit.

Personnel Doors

Personnel doors are the most chosen ones for portable offices, living areas, workspaces, etc. They are better when one has to open and close doors constantly. The doors can be customized as per your needs and you can fit them with bars, locks, or add windows to help the light come in, keep the burglars at bay, and add more security to the area. This provides ease of access to all who are going in or coming out. It also makes the container resistant to wind and water and if you use an insulated container then you don’t have to worry about keeping the room warm or cool.

Open side container doors

Open side doors are in use mostly by snack shops, food vendors, or the shippers who are loading oversized cargo in the box. In this, there is a full wall that is dedicated to the door. The gate opens in folds that contain the inner folds and the outer folds. One can open only inner folds if the outer fold is not necessary to open. And open a full outer fold when they are moving in broad goods or making a door for the shop. They come with container locks and lockboxes that help one to save their cargoes. You can install them well in 20ft shipping containers, 40ft shipping containers, and 20, 40, or 45ft high cube containers.

Roll-up doors

Roll-up, shutter, or overhead doors are the ones that one lifts from the bottom and it curls up inside the steel shipping container from the top. They are perfect when you don’t have large spaces to swing the gates open. The loaders prefer them when they are keeping large or voluminous items in the freight unit. There are two options for opening them – one is mechanical and the other is electrical. You can install them at any place be it the front end, back end, or side of the shipping box.

Sliding glass doors

Cafés, exhibitions, shops are the ones that are favorably choosing sliding glass doors as they add an aesthetic look to the area. They are made of glass and have a vinyl coating. The most beneficial aspect of glass doors is that it allows the light to fill fully in the area where it is installed. But when it comes to security, they are not considered secure one.

Sliding steel doors

Sliding steel doors are the same as sliding glass doors. The difference is that one is of glass and vinyl coating and the other is of steel. They slide at the container top and thus, provide full floor-to-roof access.

Combination doors

Combination doors are famous in large spaces. People are installing a different set of doors to allow ease of access in large spaces. The offices, rental spaces, and other such modifications are using them vigorously.

What are the signs printed at the back of shipping container doors?

The signs printed at the back of the cargo container gates are:

  • Container Number
  • Check Digit
  • Container Owner or Shipping Line
  • ISO Code
  • Max Gross
  • Tare Weight
  • Net Weight
  • Cubic Meter
  • Classification Society Label
  • Certifications

What Is the Correct Way to Open and Close Container Doors?

You should be adept with the mechanics of the door to open it easily. Otherwise, it may seem like a tricky job. And if you are using a used shipping container, then it may become harder for you to open it.

But with the given below steps, you can easily open the door:

  • Turn and lift all the latches on one side of the door. This allows the turning of the handle.
  • Then, turn and lift the handles up. One needs to push the handle to release it.
  • Firmly hold the handles and pull them toward you, so that they should be opposite to the direction of the door. For the gate to open, they need to be parallel to each other.
  • Repeat the same for the other side.

Why do shipping container doors jam?

The freight container doors jam due to several reasons:

  • The frame goes in a racked position due to the bad gear alignment
  • During cargo transfer, the lock rods may twist
  • Rusting of hinge pins or other elements
  • Gasket damage due to overuse or extremely cold weather
  • Collection of water in between the gates
  • Bad construction

Using a proper industrial lubricant on the parts of the door and removing rusty or not functioning parts during inspection helps you open the container doors always without any issue.

Thus, you know now shipping container doors are an important part of the freight box and provide security to the merchandise. So, when you go to buy cargo containers, you must give due attention to them as well.

Want to buy or lease shipping containers?

If you also want to lease or purchase maritime containers in Germany, the USA, Spain, and other parts of the world, then contact LOTUS Containers. We are the top 5 shipping container providers worldwide and provide different container types in all available and needed dimensions. We provide stellar container services like buyback, container depot, intermodal container transportation, and what not to cover all your local and international project-related business needs.

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