Shipping Container Sizes

Need to find shipping container dimensions? Are you trying to figure out how wide is a shipping container? Need to figure out exactly how big a shipping container is? You've come to the right place. This guide will cover the dimensions and specs of the standard shipping container sizes as well as non-standard units. There are many different options, and this guide should help you choose the right container type for your needs.

Standard Container Dimensions

The standard shipping container dimensions are 8 feet wide and 8 feet 6 inches tall. ISO shipping containers have standardized dimensions so they can be used as an intermodal shipping container. Standardizing the width, height, cargo door and other specifications allows containers to be stacked on a cargo ship, freight train, or storage yard.

Standard Exterior Dimensions

  • Width: 8 Ft
  • Height: 8 Ft 6 In
  • Length: 10 Ft, 20 Ft, 40 Ft
  • Container Door Opening: 7' 5" High x 7'8" Wide (double door container)

Standard Interior Dimensions

  • Internal Height: 7 feet and 9 7/8 inches
  • Internal Width: 7 ft 8 in
  • Internal Length: 9'3", 19'3", or 39'5"

Shipping Container Specifications

Measurement 10 Ft 20 Ft 40 Ft 40 Ft HC (High Cube) 45 Ft HC (High Cube)
Interior Length 9'3" 19'3" 39'5" 39'5" 44'5"
Interior Width 7'8" 7'8" 7'8" 7'8" 7'8"
Interior Height 7' 9 7/8" 7' 9 7/8" 7' 9 7/8" 8'10" 8'10"
Exterior Length 10' 20' 40' 40' 45'
Exterior Width 8' 8' 8' 8' 8'
Exterior Height 8'6" 8'6" 8'6" 9'6" 9'6"
Door Opening Height 7'5" 7'5" 7'5" 8'5 1/2" 8'5 1/2"
Door Opening Width 7'8" 7'8" 7'8" 7'8" 7'8"
Cubic Capacity ? 1,165 cu. ft. 2,350 cu. ft. 2,694 cu. ft. 3,043 cu. ft.
Tare Weight 2,866 5,050 8,000 8,775 9,810
Max Gross 24,910 67,200 67,200 67,200 72,800
Max Payload 22,040 62,150 59,200 58,425 62,990

High Cube Shipping Container Dimensions

A high cube container is a specialty unit that provides additional storage volume over standard containers. The 20-foot and 40-ft long containers are the most popular, and there are also some 45 ft HC containers as well, but that's not a standard length. High cube containers are 1 foot taller than standard containers, making them 9 feet 6 inches tall. Hi-Cube containers are vital to transporting oversized equipment and items that need the additional height clearance (door entry is also taller) and higher internal ceiling.

  • Width: 8 Ft
  • Height: 8 Ft 6 In
  • Length: 20 Ft, 40 Ft
  • Interior Height: 8' 10"
  • Door Opening Height: 8 ft 5.5 inches

40 Foot Shipping Container Dimensions

The 40-foot shipping container is the most common type of unit, and it's also one of the most versatile. There are two types of 40 footers, standard ISO dimensions and high cube. They are often used for both domestic shipments within North America as well as international transport. They make up about 80% of the overall container market.

  • Width: 8 Ft
  • Height: 8 Ft 6 In
  • Length: 20 Ft, 40 Ft
  • Interior Height: 8' 10"
  • Storage Volume:

##40 Ft High Cube Container Dimensions

40 foot HC container have the same exterior measurements as standard 40 footers, but with one extra foot of height, making them 9'6" tall. This extra foot in height adds up to a very large increase in cubic capacity, about 15% more space for storage.

20 Ft Shipping Container Dimensions

20 foot shipping container is the standard for determining intermodal container capacity. They are referred to as TEU's which means twenty foot equivalent units. 20 ft containers are 20 ft long, 8.5 ft tall and 8 ft wide. They have 1,165 cubic feet of capacity, just over double the capacity of 10 footers, and 49.5% the capacity of 40 footers. They weigh 5,050 lbs when empty which is about 63% of the weight of a 40 ft container, making them less efficient and heavier to transport the same volume of freight.

10 Ft Shipping Container Dimensions

Standard 10 foot containers measure 10 ft long, 8 ft wide and 8.5 ft tall. 10 Ft containers are not as common as 20 ft and 40 footers, as they are less efficient to transport cargo. 10 ft boxes weigh 2,866 lbs and have a max payload of 24,910 lbs (the weight of the container and the cargo).

Reefer Container Dimensions

Reefers are refrigerated containers that have additional insulation for temperature control. They are equiped with a cooling system that can keep goods stored at any temperature between -25 degrees and 25 degrees. There about the same interior volume, but reefers weigh much more, as the refrigeration system and insulation is very heavy.

40 Ft Reefer Dimensions

A 40 foot reefer has the same external dimensions as a standard 40 ft dry container, making them 40 ft long, 8.5 feet high and 8 feet wide. Due to the specialized equipment needed to turn a standard container into a refrigerated container, reefers weigh much more. Tare weight for a 40 footer is 10,778 lbs, or 30% more than a non-refrigerated container.

20 Foot Refrigerated Container Dimensions

20 ft reefers have similar exterior measurements as standard boxes, 20 ft long by 8.5 feet high and 8 feet wide. Like the 40 ft reefers, the major difference comes in the tare weight, and a 20 ft reefer weighs 6,970 lbs when completely empty. This makes them about 38% heavier than a non-temperature controlled container.

Pallet Wide Container Dimensions

These are often referred to as extra-wide containers. They typically need an oversized trailer and are much more difficult to transport on roads, which is one of the reasons they are much less common. Pallet wide containers have 4 additional inches of interior width, enabling them to fit many more pallets. Due to the increased internal dimensions, a 40 ft pallet wide container can store pallets side by side easily, enabling them to store around 30 pallets compared to 25 for a standard size.

Storage Capacity: High Cube VS Standard Cargo Containers

The main difference between these two types of containers is the additional 1 foot height of the container. This translates to a big difference in storage volume. Here are some basic facts about the storage volume differences between high cube and standard steel storage containers:

  • 20 Ft high cube conex boxes have about 10% more storage volume compared to a standard box with an 8.5ft height.
  • A 40 Ft high cargo container has 14.6% more storage space compared to a standard unit with an 8.5ft height.

Non Standardized Storage Container Lengths

There are many different lengths of containers, but they are not standardized and are more difficult to find. Here's a list of lengths for non ISO container sizes:

  • 30 Foot Container Dimensions
  • 45 Foot Container Dimensions
  • 54 Foot Container Dimensions

In addition to these shipping container size options, there are also portable storage containers, which are often made out of wood and lower strength aluminum, instead of steel. These containers are popular among moving and storage companies and are often used for residential moving. These containers often come in 8 ft, 12 ft, and 16 ft lengths, and should not be confused with steel shipping containers.

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