Commodity Group and Containerization Level
Containerization is usually commodity dependent, which results in a wide variety of existing and potential containerization levels. Even within the same SITC (Standard International Trade Classification) groups, levels of containerization differ. The level of containerization in several types of manufactured goods is very high since this represents the conventional base of the container trade. Although there are several factors supporting containerization, its level of adoption is mainly related to the transportability (weight, packaging, perishable) and market characteristics of the commodity.
The transportability factor is rather straightforward since highly ponderous commodities (e.g. ores, coal, fertilizers) are less suitable for containerization. Still, if a commodity can be packaged (bagged, palletized, drummed), it can be containerized. The market characteristics of the commodity is also important since a high value to weight ratio is prone to containerization. Commodity markets having a high concentration level of producers and consumers are usually better serviced by conventional bulk (crude oil) or break-bulk shipping. So, markets that have numerous producers or consumers offer lower demand densities that are better serviced by container services.