Container Types and Dimensions

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Shipping container across the globe sizes follow the international standard called the ISO (Industrial Standards Organisation). These containers have been created specifically to meet the demands of exporters and importers in international trade. There are twelve different categories of ISO containers and a variety of types to choose from within those categories, it’s possible to ship everything from bulk grains and raw materials to perishable commodities.

The different shipping containers sizes and their dimensions are outlined below:

 

20-foot Dry Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22GP

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot dry container is for general purpose cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”7′ 6 ¼”19′ 4 ¼”
Interior dimensions in meters2.34 m2.29 m5.9 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs52,831 lbs4,914 lbs47,899 lbs
Weight in kg23,956 kg2,229 kg21,727 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity1,172 CFT33.2 CBM

20-foot Flat Rack Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22PC

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot flat rack container is for especially heavy loads, over-sized cargo, construction equipment, building supplies or heavy machinery.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Interior dimensions in feet8′7′ 3 ⅞”19′ 9 ¾”
Interior dimensions in meters2.438 m2.233 m5.638 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs99,200 lbs6,400 lbs92,800 lbs
Weight in kg45,000 kg2,900 kg42,100 kg
Load Capacity1,154.3 CFT32.7 CBM

20-foot Open-Top Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22U1

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot open-top container is for over-height cargo and top loading.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”7′ 10 ¼”19′ 4 ¼”
Interior dimensions in meters2.352 m2.395 m5.9 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs52,897 lbs5,297 lbs47,619 lbs
Weight in kg23,994 kg2,394 kg21,600 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity1,172 CFT33.2 CBM

20-foot Ventilated Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22VH

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot ventilated container is for cargo that requires ventilation, typically used to transport green coffee beans or similar cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”7′ 10 ¼”19′ 4 ¼”
Interior dimensions in meters2.352 m2.395 m5.9 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs52,897 lbs5,297 lbs47,899 lbs
Weight in kg32,500 kg2,394 kg21,727 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity1,172 CFT33.2 CBM

20-foot Refrigerated Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22RT

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot refrigerated container is for cargo that requires temperature control.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7’6″7′ 4 ⅞”17′ 11 ⅝”
Interior dimensions in meters2.28 m2.33 m5.45 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs67,200 lbs6,970 lbs60,230 lbs
Weight in kg30,480 kg3,160 kg27,320 kg

40-foot General Purpose Dry Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

42GP

 

Container Application:

The 40-foot dry container is for general purpose cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”7′ 10 ¼”37′ 11 ¼”
Interior dimensions in meters2.352 m2.395 m12.01 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs67,199 lbs5,220 lbs59,039 lbs
Weight in kg30,481 kg3,701 kg26,780 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity2,389.75 CFT67.67 CBM

40-foot Open Top Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

42OT

 

Container Application:

The 40-foot open top container is for top loading for excessively long or high cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”7′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.29 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”7′ 10 ¼”39′ 5 ⅝”
Interior dimensions in meters2.352 m2.395 m12.01 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs67,196 lbs8,487 lbs58,709 lbs
Weight in kg30,480 kg3,850 kg26,630 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity2,389.75 CFT66.67 CBM

40-foot High Cube Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

40HQ or 40HC

 

Container Application:

The 40-foot High Cube container is larger than the 40-foot standard dry container.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 8 ⅛”8′ 6 ¼”
Door opening in meters2.34 m2.56 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 8 ⅝”8′ 10 ⅛”39′ 5 ⅝”
Interior dimensions in meters2.352 m2.69 m12.01 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs67,196 lbs8,747 lbs58,448 lbs
Weight in kg30,480 kg3,968 kg26,512 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity2,694 CFT76.3 CBM

40-foot Flat Rack Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

42PC

 

Container Application:

The 40-foot flat rack container is for over-sized cargo, heavy machinery, construction equipment, or supplies.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feetNANA
Door opening in metersNANA
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 4″7′ 5 ⅓”39′ 3 ⅞”
Interior dimensions in meters2.23 m2.27 m11.98 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs98,326 lbs12,897 lbs85,429 lbs
Weight in kg44,600 kg5,850 kg38,750 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity1,860 CFT52.7 CBM

40-foot Refrigerated Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

42RT

 

Container Application:

The 40-foot refrigerated container is for cargo that requires temperature control or perishable cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 5 ⅜”6′ 11 ⅞”
Door opening in meters2.26 m2.13 m
Interior dimensions in feet7’5 ⅜”7′ 1 ⅞”37′ 11 ¼”
Interior dimensions in meters2.26 m2.18 m11.48 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs67,053 lbs10,778 lbs56,275 lbs
Weight in kg30,415 kg4,889 kg25,526 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity2,039.7 CFT57.76 CBM

45-foot High Cube General Purpose Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

L5GO

 

Container Application:

The 45-foot high cube dry container is for general purpose cargo.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Door opening in feet7′ 9½”8′ 5 ¾”
Door opening in meters2.37 m2.58 m
Interior dimensions in feet7′ 11″8′ 10″44′ 4 ¾”
Interior dimensions in meters2.41 m2.69 m13.53 m

Container Weight

Max GrossTareMax Payload
Weight in lbs74,960 lbs10,910 lbs64,050 lbs
Weight in kg3,4000 kg4,950 kg29,050 kg
Container VolumeIn CFTIn CBM
Load Capacity3,122 CFT88.4 CBM

20-Foot Tank Container Dimensions

Container Reference Code:

22TO

 

Container Application:

The 20-foot tank container is for food stuffs, oils, and chemicals.

Container Dimensions:

WidthHeightLength
Exterior dimensions in feet8′8′ 6″20″
Exterior dimensions in meters2.43 m2.59 m6.09 m
Container VolumeIn U.S. GallonsIn Liters
Load Capacity6,450 gl26,001 lt

 

How do I know which container to use?

The various types of shipping containers have identifying serial numbers that act as a mark to helps shippers and freight forwarders track containers as they move through the shipping process.

The identifying mark vary and are combined of the following:

  • The first three letters are the owner code, that is an abbreviation for the name of the owner of the container and is registered with the ICB (International Container Bureau).
  • The fourth letter is known as the product code: U for all freight containers; J for detachable freight container equipment and; Z for trailers and chassis.
  • The following six digits represent the registration number assigned by the owner operator to each container in their fleet.
  • The final digit is the check digit, placed in brackets. This is a control number used to verify the owner, product code, and serial number.
  • There is also an identifying code for the container type, the tare weight (weight of the empty container), gross weight and maximum payload.

 

How do I book a non-standard container?

When shipping oversized cargo, the dimensions and weight determine which container type best accommodates your shipment. If the items(s) do not fit in a standard container, your freight forwarder can arrange a non-containerised shipment. Information about the shipment, along with a photograph and spec sheet must be submitted to the freight forwarder. They will then handle the booking with the shipping company. Once the details are finalised and confirmed, the freight forwarder can give you a detailed assessment of fees and recommend your cargo solution.

How are shipping containers are constructed?

Containers are built from thick non-corrosive steel and square tubing frame. The sides are built from 14 gauge, non-corrosive rolled steel that is corrugated to add rigidity and then welded to the steel frame.

The floor of containers are made of the same square steel tubing for the frame and a thick plywood floor attached to the cross braces.

The corner posts are designed to take the weight of nine containers stacked on top of one another. Each container has a door opening at one end.

Standard containers are 20’ x 8’ x 8’6”, However, the 40-foot and 45-foot containers are becoming just as common. An empty 20-foot container weighs approximately 5,500 pounds and can carry 65,000 pounds of goods.

When talking about containers the cargo statistics are calculated in TEU (20-foot equivalent units). Therefore, a 20 foot container would be 1 TEU, a 40-foot container would be 2 TEUs and so on. As newer super freighters become more commonplace, the sizes of containers are increasing as well, with some measuring as long as some as long as 57ft.

In Europe however, it’s worth noting that the larger sized containers are frown upon because of the older and more narrow streets in many European cities make it difficult for large trucks to navigate. This has been known to cause numerous congestions.

Please contact our sales team if you would like more information about container shipping.