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Shipping Container Sizes

Shipping containers are held to very specific dimensional standards to ensure they can be safely stacked on top of, and below, any other shipping container in the world. Standard shipping containers are 8′ wide, and are measured in TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalent units). Ocean cargo containers are held to a rigid standard to ensure that there are no issues during shipping.  Each intermodal shipping container (sometimes called “conex” containers) must be able to not only stack perfectly on a cargo ship, but also lock into chassis trailers safely and securely stack on rail cars.  The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets the standards for shipping container dimensions (via ISO 668).

to ensure the same equipment can safely handle the containers anywhere in the world, shipping containers are held to a very specific set of specifications and dimensions.

Container dimensions by type

Shipping containers and storage containers can come in a range of sizes, 20ft and 40ft shipping containers are the most common container lengths (externally) and 8ft in width as standard. Commonly the height of a container will be 8ft 6” and a high cube will have an additional foot to be 9ft 6”. Our variety of small new build containers are ideal for small areas and tight corners and a solution if you are restricted of space.

Internal dimensions

The sides of a container in nearly all cases, is corrugated. The depth of the corrugation is usually 1 inch (25mm), which means that 2 inches (50mm) is lost from the external width dimension (1 inch each side). The back (blank end) is also corrugated and the doors are around 2 inches (50mm) thick meaning that approximately 3 inches (75mm) is lost from the length.

The main reduction from external to internal dimensions is with height. The floor of a standard container has an underside clearance of approximately 6 inches (150mm) and the floor has a thickness of 27mm (1.1 inches). As the roof is corrugated another 1 inch (25mm) is lost resulting in an internal dimension of around 8 inches less than external – 7ft 10 inches (2.39m), though this can vary slightly either way depending on the floor thickness and construction method used.

Though the door height is additionally reduced because of the steel top rail above the door, this is a part of the structural integrity of the container, typically it’s 4 inches (100mm) thus reducing the entrance height to 7ft 6ins (2.28m), though this can vary slightly either way.

Container weights

There are three relevant weights, the Tare weight, the Gross weight, and the Payload. These are painted onto the outside of the container doors when it is in service or before it has been repainted for another application.

The container Tare weight is the weight of the container without cargo or contents.

The container Gross weight is the weight of the container plus the maximum Payload it can hold i.e. the maximum total weight of the container.

The Payload (or Net weight) is the weight of the cargo or contents that a container can hold.

20ft and 40ft Containers

Container Type20ft20ft High Cube40ft 40ft High Cube
20ft20ft High Cube40ft40ft High Cube
External
(L x W x H)
6090mm x 2440mm x 2590mm6090mm x 2440mm x 2900mm12180mm x 2440mm x 2590mm12180mm x 2440mm x 2900mm
Internal
(L x W x H)
6010mm x 2340mm x 2390mm6010mm x 2340mm x 2690mm12110mm x 2340mm x 2390mm12110mm x 2340mm x 2690mm
Door opening
(W x H)
2280mm x 2310mm2280mm x 2580mm2280mm x 2310mm2280mm x 2580mm
Tare Weight2050 kg2230 kg3750 kg3890 kg
Pay Load
(Net Weight)
28430 kg28250 kg26730 kg26590 kg
Max Gross Weight30480 kg30480 kg30400 kg30480 kg

Now, we can depict the information completely disaggregated

20ft shipping container dimensions

Measure20ft
Internal length5.9m / 19.4ft
Internal width2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight2,300kg / 5,071.5 lbs
Payload capacity25,000 kg / 55,126.9 lbs
Cubic capacity33.2 m3 / 1,172 cu ft

Container price for 20ft shipping container

The 20ft shipping container is the most common and in-demand type. However, the the container price largely depends on the market situation. In locations where there’s a deficit of containers, the price is typically higher. On an average, a 20ft shipping container price can cost anywhere between US $1,378.91 to US $6,894.53.

40ft shipping container dimensions

Measure40ft
Internal length12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight3,750kg / 8,268.8 lbs
Payload capacity27,600kg / 61,200 lbs
Cubic capacity67.7 m3 / 2,389 cu ft

Container price for 40ft container

Another standard favorite is the 40ft container. 40ft shipping containers are also known as Forty-foot Equivalent Unit (FEU). They can carry most kinds of dry cargo, similar to their 20ft container cousin. It is 7ft 10in high on the interior and has 2,350 cubic ft of storage space. The average container price of a 40ft container can range from US $2,751 to US $4,125.82.

40ft high cube shipping container dimensions

Measure40ft high cube
Internal length12.03m/39.5ft
Internal width2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height2.70m / 8.10ft
Tare weight3,900kg / 8,598 lbs
Payload capacity28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity76.3 m3 / 2,694.5 cu ft

Container price for 40ft high cube container

A 40ft high cube container is a foot taller than a standard 40ft container. This ensures that your goods can be loaded higher. These specialized containers have a storage space of 2,694 cubic ft. They are ideal to transport light and large cargo with maximum height of 2.70 m.

The average container price of a 40ft high cube container can cost between US $4,400 to US $7,200, depending on availability and market conditions.

New Build Containers / Smaller Containers

Container Type6ft8ft10ft
6ft8ft10ft
External
(L x W x H)
1980mm x 1950mm x 1910mm2438mm x 2200mm x 2260mm2991mm x 2438mm x 2591mm
Internal
(L x W x H)
1800mm x 1860mm x 1730mm2275mm x 2106mm x 2050mm2831mm x 2344mm x 2376mm
Door opening
(W x H)
1850mm x 1690mm2070mm x 1945mm2310mm x 2280mm
Weight450kg630kg825kg

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Author J Konrath

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