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a. a large cargo-carrying standard-sized container that can be loaded from one mode of transport to another
b. (as modifier): a container port



a standard enclosure serving for the unpackaged transfer of goods by various means of transport. The container is a removable component (body) of transportation vehicles (trucks, railroad cars, ships, airplanes), adapted for mechanized loading, unloading, and reloading from one type of transportation to another. The dimensions and capacity of the container correspond to the carrying capacity and dimensions of the transport vehicles.

The first containers in the world were used in Russia in 1889. Containers are widely used in the USSR and abroad, because they permit the creation of a system of handling cargoes by various types of transport.

Containers are classified according to their use into universal, specialized, and special types. Universal containers can be used for carrying any cargoes in various packaging; specialized containers are for piece cargoes, bulk cargoes, and liquids (for example, building materials, chemical substances, and foodstuffs); special containers are used only for certain cargoes transported under special conditions (for example, in space or under water). Containers come with a capacity (payload) of 1.25, 2.5, 5,10,20, and 30 tons. The 5-ton containers are very widely utilized, as they correspond most closely to the carrying capacity of the basic cargo-lifting machines and transportation vehicles and are economical and convenient to use. The creation of containers with special clamps, or spreaders, is being considered. The basic requirements of all containers are that they protect the cargoes and fully use the carrying capacity of the transport vehicles.


Kontreilery i krupnotonnazhnye konteinery. Moscow, 1962.
Deribas, A. T., and L. A. Kogan. “Konteinernye perevozki.” In Vzaimodeistvie raznykh vidov transporta i konteinernye perevozki. Moscow, 1971.


(industrial engineering)
A portable compartment of standard, uniform size, used to hold cargo for air, sea, or ground transport.


(1) Any data structure that holds one or more different types of data. See metafile and OLE.

(2) A server virtualization architecture that enables multiple applications and services to run in their own isolated partitions. See OS virtualization.

(3) A multimedia file format that contains digital audio and video data streams that have been compressed with different algorithms (codecs). The container may also hold images, subtitles and other meta-data. See codec, metadata, Matroska, MPEG, AVI and QuickTime.

(4) Software that acts as a parent program to hold and execute a set of commands or to run other software routines.
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