Shipping Cargo in Barrels or Drums:

Origin of the use of shipping barrels: (Neither of these issue are applicable with today's transport systems.) 
  • waterproofed the cargo, 
  • enabled the carrier to roll the cargo on and off the ship or deck.  
Problems with barrels:
  • Where do you get a barrel and how much will that cost?
  • Used commercial shipping boxes can usually be found for free;
  • Not all cargo will fit in a barrel;
  • A barrel holds less cargo by volume than boxes of the same width, length and height;
  • If the barrel is more than 70 lbs the trucking company may require pickup by a truck with a lift-gate and an additional charge for providing a lift-gate;
  • Boxes can be shipped by small parcel carriers without the "over-sized" charges that will be assessed on a barrel.

Conclusion:
  • Boxes are usually a more cost effective method of shipping than barrels;
  • If you are capable of transporting your barrel to/from the trucking or ocean cargo terminal, then the barrel rates are only slightly higher than shipping the same amount of cargo in boxes;
  • Barrels are usually impractical for shipping by common parcel carriers and by international air cargo.
  • An air cargo shipment may actually have a total transportation cost that is less than shipping your cargo in barrels.
Notes:
  • 24 x 24 x 36 inches - standard 55 gallon shipping barrel;
  • 12 cubic feet chargeable volume, 125 lbs chargeable weight;
  • 9.4 cubic feet is the ACTUAL VOLUME of a 24 x 24 x 36 inch barrel