Heated Shipping Containers: Your Solution for Intermodal Shipping in Cold Climates

Modified shipping containers have long been used across Canada depending on the weather patterns. For instance, when the weather is predominantly cold such as in winter, your temperature-sensitive products may get damaged if not well-taken care of. That’s where the heated shipping container comes in.

A heated shipping container maintains a specified temperature range to keep your shipped products in the desired condition. Besides the container’s superior strength and tight steel, a heated shipping container has additional modifications to ensure high temperatures within the closed system.

Read through the article to learn more.

Features

  • Heated shipping containers have spray foam insulation on the walls to keep the container warm. Besides warming the container, the foam insulation prevents condensation accumulation, thus protecting the interior surface from moisture damage.
  • Most of their doors (man doors) have theft-resistant padlock enclosure boxes for enhanced security and easy access.
  • They have a 60 Amp, 120 / 240 Volt electrical panel.
  • They also have one quad electrical outlet near the panel.
  • They are water and wind-tight, ensuring your shipment is secured from external elements.
  • A well-integrated heater into the system.
  • The heated shipping containers are available as 20″ and 40″ long units. Don’t worry about moving and stacking; the corner castings and the forklift pockets have got you covered.

Specifications

Heated shipping containers support modifications depending on your business. You can add 8″, 10″, 20″, or 40″ standard or high cube shipping containers for the electric packages. The electrical package options available are lighting only, heating and lighting, heating, lighting, and air-conditioning.

For heated and cooling containers, you should ensure it has enough insulation. This practice ensures high energy efficiency.  As the walls of the container become cooler below the dew point of the air inside, condensation occurs. The ventilation should be enough to ensure sufficient air circulation to prevent condensation from accumulating. Proper ventilation also prevents moulds and mildew from growing in your container.

Below are the specifications for various-sized heated shipping containers.

20″ Standard Container

Exterior Measurements

  • Length – 20 Ft
  • Width – 8 ft
  • Height – 8 ft 6 inches

Interior Measurements

  • Depth – 19 ft 4 inches
  • Width – 7 ft 6 inches
  • Height – 7 ft 9 inches

Door Openings

  • Width – 7 ft 7 inches
  • Height – 7 ft 6 inches

Cubic Capacity

  • 1,150 cu. ft.

Empty Weight

  • 4,900 lbs.

Gross Weight

  • 67,200 lbs.

20″ High Cube Container

Exterior Measurements

  • Length – 20 ft
  • Width – 8 ft
  • Height – 9 ft 6 inches

Interior Measurements

  • Depth – 19 ft 4 inches
  • Width – 7 ft 6 inches
  • Height – 8 ft 09 inches

Door Openings

  • Width – 7 ft 7 inches
  • Height – 8 ft 6 inches

Cubic Capacity

  • 1,320 cu. ft.

Empty Weight

  • 5,300 lbs.

Gross Weight

  • 67,200 lbs.

40″ Standard Container

Exterior Measurements

  • Length – 40 ft
  • Width – 8 ft
  • Height – 8 ft 6 inches

Interior Measurements

  • Depth – 39 ft 4 inches
  • Width – 7 ft 6 inches
  • Height – 7 ft 09 inches

Door Openings

  • Width – 7 ft 8 inches
  • Height – 7 ft 6 inches

Cubic Capacity

  • 2,350 cu. ft.

Empty Weight

  • 8,200 lbs.

Gross Weight

  • 67,200 lbs

40″ High Cube Container

Exterior Measurements

  • Length – 40 ft
  • Width – 8 ft
  • Height – 9 ft 6 inches

Interior Measurements

  • Depth – 39 ft 4 inches
  • Width – 7 ft 6 inches
  • Height – 8 ft 09 inches

Door Openings

  • Width – 7 ft 8 inches
  • Height – 8 ft 6 inches

Cubic Capacity

  • 2,650 cu. ft.

Empty Weight

  • 8,800 lbs.

Gross Weight

  • 67,200 lbs.

Insulating Shipping Containers

Heating inside the heated shipping containers can be achieved through insulation. Insulated shipping containers protect the container’s interior from adverse weather (heat and cold). The insulation will, however, depend on the container’s primary use and the locality’s climatic conditions.

Below are the four most common insulation options. Please note that they are all environmentally friendly and do not harm the environment or human health.

  1. Styrofoam panels
  2. Batt insulation
  3. Spray foam insulation
  4. Mineral wool.

Styrofoam

Styrofoam insulation is ideal for storage containers. Installation is effortless and cost-effective. You won’t need to secure the panels with the build-out of stud walls. This system has its panels mounted on bars flushed with the walls of the container. Alternatively, the panels can be glued directly to the walls of the container, which is the most economical way to insulate a shipping container.

Styrofoam insulation has an R-value of 4, the lowest among insulation methods. Therefore, it is the most suitable option for a storage container. A one-inch styrofoam is enough for a storage container and lasts up to 50 years.

Batt Insulation

Batt insulation is ideal for living spaces and container offices. It is made of finely woven mineral wool, fibreglass, or plastic fibre strands. You must install a wood frame inside the container when installing batt insulation. The insulation conceals behind a vapour barrier and plywood finish-out. 

Although this insulation method is cost-effective, you might pay extra plywood and wood framing costs. An R 19 or R 13 batt insulation in living spaces and office structures is recommended. Batt insulation has superior performance and can last up to 100 years.

Spray Foam

This insulation method is ideal for storing and shipping temperature-sensitive equipment such as computer network servers and paper documents. First, the foam is sprayed onto the interior wall. It expands and converts into a hard covering, which is water-resistant too. It is cost-effective as the spray foam adheres to the container’s walls, eliminating the need for frames. 

However, the specialty equipment used for installation makes it more expensive. It has an R-value of 6 per inch of thickness and can last up to 80 years. The only downside is its poor aesthetic appeal, which shouldn’t be a big deal if it has viable functionality. But if you’re more into its aesthetic value, you can cover the spray foam with aluminum walls or plywood.

Spray foam insulation has other benefits, too, as listed below.

  • Spray foam insulates against sound.
  • It prevents fungus, moulds, and bacteria from developing in the container.

Mineral Wool

Mineral wool is ideal for storing and shipping non-flammable materials. It can also be used in living spaces. During installation, you’ll need a framing structure—ideally steel or rolled batt. Mineral wool has an R-value of 13 and 26 on walls and ceilings, respectively.


A heated shipping container is your solution for transporting temperature-sensitive items in cold environments. Unfortunately, shipping containers with steel walls don’t have any form of temperature regulation. But with insulation, you can keep optimal temperatures ideal for temperature-sensitive shipments.

Insulating shipping containers is an effective and efficient way to ensure the safety of temperature-sensitive items in cold environments. Depending on your needs, you can choose from a variety of insulation options that are environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Whether it’s Styrofoam panels for storage or mineral wool for non-flammable materials, there’s something out there that will work best for you. With proper ventilation and insulation, your heated shipping container will be able to keep optimal temperatures ideal for transporting sensitive cargo safely.

If you’re looking for a way to safely transport temperature-sensitive items in cold climates, then look no further – RailGateway.ca is here to help.

With the right insulation, your goods will stay safe and secure during the journey. And when it comes to freight services, there’s no better choice than rail freight. Rail freight offers greater security, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With the right insulation and rail freight services, your temperature-sensitive cargo will arrive safely at its destination.