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Definition: ISO Freight Container


An ISO freight container is a unit of transport equipment, which is:
i)  Of a permanent character and accordingly strong enough to be suitable for repeated use;
ii) Specially designed to facilitate the carriage of goods, by one or more mode of transport, without intermediate reloading;
iii) Fitted with devices permitting its ready handling, particularly its transfer from one mode of transport to another;
iv) So designed as to be easy to fill and empty; 
v) Having a length of 20 feet or more.

Note: In addition, containers should be stackable and have an internal volume of 1 m3 or more.
Swap bodies are excluded. 
Although without internal volume, and therefore with no internal volume, flats used in maritime transport should be considered to be a special type of container and therefore are included here. For a fuller description, reference should be made to ISO 668 and 1496.
Glossary For Transport Statistics, Eurostat, ECMT, UN/ECE, Third edition