Shipping Container Dimensions and Sizes


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Shipping container dimensions and materials are highly standardized, consistent, and internationally recognized owing to the strict regulations of the ISO – International Organization of Standardization. Unless you encounter a custom container size that was specifically requested by a unique client, most container providers adhere to the standard shipping container dimensions for each grade of container requested.

Shipping Container Dimensions

Standard shipping containers can be used for all types of dry cargo. Their dimensions include:

10 ft. Standard Containers

– These containers can be used to store items equivalent to half of a single-car garage.

Dimensions Length Width Height
External 3050 mm 2440 mm 2590 mm
Internal 2800 mm 2330 mm 2350 mm
Weights Capacity
Max. Gross Tare Max. Payload
10000 kg 1000 kg 8960 kg 15.95 cubic meters.

20 ft. Standard Containers

– This is the standard size in the industry and the most popular solution for portable storage. These containers can be used to store items equivalent to a one-car garage.

Dimensions Length Width Height
External 6096 mm 2362 mm 2590 mm
Internal 5944 mm 2337 mm 2388 mm
Weights Capacity
Max. Gross Tare Max. Payload
24000 kg 2080 kg 21920 kg 33.9 cubic meters.

40 ft. Standard Containers

– This size of containers is also quite common, and can accommodate items equivalent to a two-car garage or 2-3 rooms.

Dimensions Length Width Height
External 12192 mm 2438 mm 2591 mm
Internal 12014 mm 2286 mm 2388 mm
Weights Capacity
Max. Gross Tare Max. Payload
30480 kg 3900 kg 26580 kg 67.7 cubic meters.

High Cube Containers

– These containers can also be used for all types of cargo, but are mostly used for transporting light, bulky cargo and overheight cargo up to a height of 2.7 m. High cube shipping container dimensions are similar to those of a standard 20’ or 40’ container, but they have an extra foot of height that offers about 12% more cubic storage space than the standard sizes

Dimensions Length Width Height
40 ft. External 12192 mm 2438 mm 2896 mm
Internal 11963 mm 2368 mm 2692mm
20 ft. External 6096 mm 2362 mm 2896 mm
Internal 5919 mm 2340 mm 2692 mm
  Weights Capacity
Max. Gross Tare Max. Payload
40 ft. 30480 kg 4150 kg 26330 kg 76.4. cubic meters.
20 ft. 24000 kg 1900 kg 24800 kg 33.0 cubic meters.

Keep in mind that container dimensions, weights, and capacity can differ slightly from those mentioned above, depending on the manufacturer.

Shipping Container Structure

Standard containers are usually closed, which means that they’re closed on all sides with a double hinge-door on one of the shorter sides. These containers are designed and fabricated to transport general cargo on sea, land, and rail. Their solid corten steel construction makes them extremely tough and durable. They can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from 40 F (-40 degrees Celsius) to 158 F (70 degrees Celsius) without losing their strength, wind and water-tightness.

Manufacturers confirm that each shipping container is safe by running a series of ISO-specified tests on the container’s walls, frame, and corner castings. These tests help to verify that the shipping containers are as strong and safe as transport and building components.

Safe Handling Instructions

As mentioned before, a shipping container must meet ISO standards before it can be used for ocean transport. Manufacturers use ISO standards to guarantee the quality, efficiency and safety of their products. That said, shipping containers are airtight, can be loaded to carry tonnes of cargo, and stacked several containers high, creating various risks if the necessary precautions are not taken when handling them.

You must follow the instructions for safe handling provided by your shipping container vendor to avoid any accidents. This means that you may be limited to the items you can put in storage. For instance, flammable materials and equipment that run on gasoline should not be stored in containers because they may release vapours that pose a risk of explosions.

Set up a flat, solid, raised foundation where your container will be placed to ensure proper drainage, prevent corrosion at the bottom, and get the necessary permits for setting up, modifying, or stacking your container structure according to your city guidelines.