All You Need to Know about ISO Container Tanks - Straight Forwarding
All You Need to Know about ISO Container Tanks - Straight Forwarding


So you’re planning to ship a container of liquid chemicals or a gas-like substance, how do you store it? That’s where ISO container tanks or tanktainers come in. These containers are approved to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, hence its name ISO tanks. With these tank containers, hazardous and non-hazardous substances can be safely transported across regions.

What are ISO Tanks?

ISO Tanks are manufactured to the ISO specifications of 6.05 meters long, 2.4 meters wide, and 2.4 or 2.55 meters high. Each tank is able to store up to 26,000 liters or 6,900 gallons worth of liquid. Moreover, the tank container usually has an insulating and protective layer as well as a rectangular steel frame surrounding the cylinder-like shape. The ISO container tanks were made with the intention of safely and securely storing hazardous substances for either storage or transport.

Basic Handling Guidelines for ISO Tanks

The structure and design of the ISO tank containers allow for it to be loaded and unloaded from the top and bottom. Loading and unloading substances take place on either the top or bottom valve which is connected by a hose to a loading/unloading facility with a pump. Safe handling of hazardous substances should be prioritized and having professionals handle the process is necessary.

Type of ISO Tank Containers

There are 9 main types of ISO tank containers to be aware of. These are:

  • Fuel Tank – Gas transports
  • Storehouse Tank – Grain and powder transports
  • Reefer Tank – Transport with cooling capabilities
  • Food-grade Tank – Foodgrade product transports only
  • Swap Body Tank – A larger container tank that can hold greater capacity than most standard ISO container tanks
  • Baffle Tank – Container tank that has a framework for controlling the temperature
  • Lined Tank – Specially designed tanks with lined insides for the transport of highly destructive substances
  • Heated Tank – Capable of transporting products that require heating or warming
  • Rubber Lined Tank – Shipping of corrosive or acid-based compounds

Additional subtypes can be classified with either a “T” or “IMO” code. The “T” code helps separate the usage of the tank container while the “IMO” code identifies the type of tank containers for hazardous materials.

  • “T” Type:
    • T1 ISO – For wine and light liquids
    • T4 ISO – For non-hazardous edible and non-edible oils
    • T11 ISO – For non-hazardous chemicals
    • T14 ISO – For hazardous chemicals and acids like HCl and zinc chloride
    • T50 ISO – For LPG and ammonia gas
    • T75 ISO – For Cryogenic liquids
  • “IMO” Type:
    • IMO Type 1 – For explosives, combustible fluids, destructive and harmful substances.
    • IMO Type 2 – For flammable fluids incorporate diesel and cooking oils.
  • IMO Type 5 – For  non-refrigerated condensed gases

Where to Find ISO Container Tanks?

Most container tanks can be found through local tank container operators. Tank container operators can provide different services as well as different types of tank containers for the handling of the shipment. However, if your business is considering purchasing a tank container, there is a hefty price tag associated with that.

A new tank container will cost upwards of $10,000 for a 20-foot tank container while a 40-foot tank container has a price tag of around $12,000. Used tank containers have prices of $7000 for a 20-foot tank container and $8000 for a 40-foot one. So for the next time you are planning a shipment, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional to see if you need an ISO tank container.

If you’re in need of a freight forwarding agent, talk to SFI today and we will provide you with the best possible quotes for your shipping needs.
Email us at or call us at (909) 594-3400.

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