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Common-use container

Definition A common-use container in military operations refers to a standardized transportation unit designed for convenient and efficient handling of goods. These containers can be used across different modes of transport – from ship to rail to truck – without needing to unload and reload the cargo. It’s a key tool for logistics, facilitating the […]


A common-use container in military operations refers to a standardized transportation unit designed for convenient and efficient handling of goods. These containers can be used across different modes of transport – from ship to rail to truck – without needing to unload and reload the cargo. It’s a key tool for logistics, facilitating the safe, secure, and swift movement of materials, particularly during military operations.

Key Takeaways

  1. A common-use container refers to a standardised, reusable vessel used in military operations for the packing, shipping, and storage of equipment, supplies, and personnel effects.
  2. These containers are designed to enhance transportability and logistic efficiency. They can be loaded onto various modes of transportation including ships, rail, and trucks, facilitating interoperability and ease of transshipment among different transport vehicles.
  3. Common-use containers are crucial in maintaining the operational readiness of military forces. They not only ensure safe and secure delivery of essential military supplies, but also support rapid deployment and sustainability of forces in diverse operational environments.


Common-use containers refer to standardized shipping containers used broadly in military operations for transport of equipment, supplies, or personnel.

The importance of these containers comes from their standard sizes and specifications, making them highly compatible with multiple modes of transports such as ships, rail, trucks, and aircraft.

This interoperability simplifies logistics and ensures the efficient movement of goods, reducing the need for different types of specialized containers.

They are also designed for rugged use in various climatic conditions found in different operation theaters.

Therefore, common-use containers streamline military logistics processes, ensure consistent packaging, handling, storage, and transport capabilities, thus making them an important part of military operations.


Common-use containers in military operations are fundamental to ensuring seamless logistics and supply chain facilitation. The primary purpose of these containers is to streamline the storage, transportation, and distribution of all types of military hardware and supplies both on and off the battlefield.

They are standardized to enable easy handling, moving, loading, and unloading across various modes of transportation, such as naval vessels, aircraft, trucks, and trains. The universal design of common-use containers also makes them suitable for a myriad of uses.

They not only carry equipment, weapons, ammunition, and ancillary operational supplies but also serve as portable field hospitals, command centers, and living quarters for military personnel. Furthermore, their robust construction ensures the protection of the contents from external conditions and potential hazards.

Thus, common-use containers boost the operational readiness and flexibility of the military, owing to their multipurpose role and adaptability.

Examples of Common-use container

Containerized Housing Units: A real-world example of a common-use container in military operations is the Containerized Housing Unit or CHU. CHUs are shipping containers that have been converted into temporary living spaces for service members. They come with basic amenities like beds, air conditioning and a small toilet. This method is popular due to its cost-effectiveness, portability and convenience, especially in overseas bases.

Mobile Command Centers: The military often uses containers to set up mobile command centers. These are outfitted with necessary technology and communication systems to coordinate operations on the ground. Such common-use containers provide a secure and manageable infrastructure that can be easily transported to different locations.

Medical Stations: Military operations also commonly use containers as makeshift medical stations. These are equipped with essential medical equipment and can be quickly deployed in emergency situations or conflict zones. The benefit is that these containers can be airlifted or transported by sea and moved closer to where they’re most needed.

FAQ: Common-use Container

What is a Common-use Container?

A Common-use Container, also known as CONEX, is a standardized reusable steel box used in the military for the transport and storage of supplies and equipment. It was developed during the Korean War to help in the transportation of supplies.

What is the standard size of a Common-use Container?

The standard size of a Common-use Container is approximately 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall. However, there are other sizes available depending on specific needs, such as 10-foot and 40-foot containers.

What materials are Common-use Containers made of?

Common-use Containers are mainly made of corten steel which is designed to be strong, durable, and resist corrosion. They are robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions of military operations.

Are Common-use Containers used for civilian purposes?

Yes, Common-use containers are also widely used for civilian purposes, including intermodal freight transport and for construction of homes and offices. They provide a versatile and portable solution for a variety of storage and transport needs.

Can I buy a Common-use Container?

Yes, Common-use Containers can be purchased from various retailers, both physical and online. They can be used for a variety of civilian applications including storage, construction, and even as the basis for custom homes.

Related Military Operation Terms

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Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Defense: This homepage provides access to an array of official publications that may contain information about common-use containers in the military.
  • Maritime Administration (MARAD): MARAD’s website includes data on maritime resources, which may contain information about military common-use containers.
  • Container Transportation: This website is dedicated to providing information about the transportation of containers, including those used by the military.
  • Global Security: Global Security is an authoritative source on public policy regarding international security – it may offer insights relayed to common-use container in military operations.

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