Not all cargo can be loaded via a container’s end or side doors. Cargo such as huge sheets of glass or marble could never be successfully loaded via a side opening, nor could raw materials such as coal. Other cargo simply exceeds the height of a container, such as large machinery. Open top containers are specifically designed to transport such cargo and enables loading and unloading by crane or tipper.
20ft open soft top containers are manufactured in the same way as standard containers but have a soft top, in the form of a tarpaulin cover, instead of a fixed roof. The tarpaulin is designed to cover the shipping container roof when the cargo is in-gauge ie not exceeding the roofline. For out-of-gauge cargo an oversized tarpaulin is required. Once the container is loaded the tarpaulin cover is tightly lashed in place to prevent rips and tears – and potential damage to the cargo – during transit.