The practice or technique of using a boxlike device in which a number of packages are stored, protected, and handled as a single unit in transit.
Container descriptions have been broadened to include a unitized load on a carrier owned pallet, loaded by shippers, and unloaded by receivers at places other than on airline premises and are restrained and contoured so as to permit proper positioning and tiedown aboard the aircraft.
Containerized air freight reduces packaging costs for the shipper because of the protection afforded by the container. The buildup of container loads at the shipper's plant bypasses the terminals. Shippers who do not have appropriate facilities for loading and unloading containers may contract through the airlines for this service. Specialty equipped trucks pick up containerized shipments at the shipper's plant for direct delivery to mechanical loading equipment near planeside.
Containerization saves the airlines time and manpower in ground handling and enables the carriers to achieve a more efficient utilization of the cubic capacity of modern freighter aircraft and wide body jets. Consequently, the airlines pass along part of this savings to shippers.
(Air Cargo from A to Z, Air Transport Association of America)