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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(industrial engineering)
A portable compartment of standard, uniform size, used to hold cargo for air, sea, or ground transport.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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

(2) A server architecture that enables multiple applications and services to run in their own isolated partitions. Containers have less overhead than the common virtual machine infrastructure, and applications launch faster. See Docker, Kubernetes, OS virtualization and virtual machine.

(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.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
While this will not solve all their problems, 'this is a big help for us, so we can effectively haul the containers from the ATI [Asian Terminals Inc.] and ICTSI [International Container Terminal Services Inc.] to decongest the area,' Bayocot said.
According to Austria, various causes of delay in the release of shipments "include the influx of the volume of imports, the high number of overstaying containers, and the mounting issue on the return of empty containers."
According to him, checks by the service show that nobody exited four of the six containers while only two were accounted for at the terminal, an indication that four of the six containers are missing or have been diverted, under what he described as controversial circumstances.
Domestic import containers measuring 20ft and 40ft will enjoy nil payment in terms of storage for the first four days after arriving at the ICDE.
The container vans' interior height ranges from 2.40 meters to 2.60 meters, and are usually 20 feet or 40 feet long with a standard width of 2.35 meters.
Test Drive Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform with Container-Native Storage
Shipping containers are classified into three major categories, namely tank containers, reefer containers, and dry containers.
How did adding salt to a container affect how quickly the half-and-half froze?
In terms of geography, the global container glass market has been divided in to seven key regions including North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, Middle East & Africa and Japan.
The mission involved moving throughout the country to each FOB, counting containers on ground, and making sure each container was tracked by its container number in the IBS-CMM.
Last year, sales from outside the North East outstripped homegrown turnover, and container hires doubled during the year.
3) Label the containers "Container 1," "Container 2," and "Container 3."