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January 17, 2023

Shipping Container Dimensions and specifications

Whether you’re looking to buy or lease shipping containers, having an understanding of container sizes, dimensions, and specifications is vital before making a purchase.

Shipping container specifications vary depending on the type of cargo being shipped, so it's essential that you find the right size container for your needs.

In this article, we will explore different types of shipping containers and their corresponding sizes and dimensions. With this information, you can make a more informed decision when selecting the best container for your shipment.

Dry Cargo Shipping Containers

These are the most common types of shipping containers used for general cargo transport. They come in various sizes, including 10', 20', 40', and 45' lengths, as well as high-cube versions of these dimensions.

Dry cargo shipping container dimensions and specifications for 10ft, 20ft, 40ft, 40ft high-cube, and 45ft containers includeing exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Dry cargo storage shipping container dimensions and specifications

10 ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 10 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 9 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 9 ft 7 3/4 in

Width: 7 ft 8 1/8 in

Height: 7 ft 9 5/8 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 18.5

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 34,130

Tare (lbs): 3,260

Max payload (lbs): 30,870

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 19 ft 14 in

Width: 7 ft 6 5/8 in

Height: 7 ft 6 1/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 33.2

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 52,831

Tare (lbs): 4,914

Max payload (lbs): 47,899

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 39 ft 45 in

Width: 7 ft 6 5/8 in

Height: 7 ft 6 1/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 67.7

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,199

Tare (lbs): 5,229

Max payload (lbs): 59,039

40ft High-Cube Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 9 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 39 ft 45 in

Width: 7 ft 8 in

Height: 8 ft 9 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 76.3

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,196

Tare (lbs): 8,747

Max payload (lbs): 58,448

45ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 45 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 44 ft 9 7/8 in

Width: 7ft 5 1/8 in

Height: 7ft 4 3/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 86.1

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 66,139

Tare (lbs): 10,582

Max payload (lbs): 55,559

Flat Rack Shipping Containers

Flat rack shipping containers are used to transport heavy, large cargo and equipment that cannot fit into a standard container. They come in 20' and 40' lengths, with both collapsible and fixed versions.

flat rack shipping container dimensions and specifications for 20ft and 40ft containers including exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Flat rack shipping container dimensions and specifications

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 19 ft 9 3/4 in

Width: 8 ft

Height: 7 ft 7/8 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 33.2

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 99,220

Tare (lbs): 6,400

Max payload (lbs): 92,800

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 39 ft 3 7/8 in

Width: 7 ft 4 in

Height: 7 ft 5 1/2 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 52.7

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 98,326

Tare (lbs): 12,897

Max payload (lbs): 85,429

Open Top Shipping Containers 

Open-top shipping containers are ideal for cargo that is tall or needs to be loaded from the top, such as scrap metal or construction materials. They are generally available in 20' and 40' lengths.

Open top shipping container dimensions and specifications for 20ft and 40ft containers including exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Open top shipping container dimensions and specifications

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 19 ft 4 1/4 in

Width: 7 ft 8 5/8 in

Height: 7 ft 10 1/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 33.2

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 52,897

Tare (lbs): 5,297

Max payload (lbs): 47,619

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 39 ft 5 5/8 in

Width: 7 ft 8 5/8 in

Height: 7 ft 10 1/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 66.67

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,196

Tare (lbs): 8,487

Max payload (lbs): 58,709

Tunnel Shipping Containers

Tunnel shipping containers are typically used to transport heavy-duty loads such as machinery and vehicles. They typically come in two sizes: 20ft and 40ft length. 

Tunnel shipping container dimensions and specifications for the 20ft and 40ft interior and exterior dimensions, as well as the container weight and volume specifications
Tunnel shipping container dimensions and specifications

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 19 ft 10 1/2 in

Width: 7 ft 11 63/64 in

Height: 8 ft 6 1/64 in

Interior

Length: 19 ft 4 13/64 in

Width: 7 ft 8 9/32 in

Height: 7 ft 9 35/64 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 33.18

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,196

Tare (lbs): 4,806

Max payload (lbs): 47,813

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 39 ft 5 5/8 in

Width: 7 ft 8 5/8 in

Height: 7 ft 10 1/4 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 67.7

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,196

Tare (lbs): 8,113

Max payload (lbs): 58,709

Refrigerated ISO Shipping Containers

Refrigerated shipping containers are designed for transporting temperature-sensitive items, such as food and medication. They are typically constructed with an insulated wall or roof panel to maintain a constant temperature inside the container. With two main sizes that measure 20 ft and 40 ft, these containers also come with a variety of features, including dual-temp capabilities and adjustable shelving. 

Refrigirated ISO shipping container dimensions and specifications for 20ft and 40ft containers including exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Refrigirated ISO container dimensions and specifications

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 18 ft 17/32 in

Width: 7 ft 6 15/32 in

Height: 7 ft 5 39/54 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 28.8

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 67,180

Tare (lbs): 6,700

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 38 ft 1/32 in

Width: 7 ft 6 in

Height: 8 ft 3 5/8 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 67

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 74,957

Tare (lbs): 9,080

Max payload (lbs): 64,992

Insulated or Thermal Shipping Containers

Thermal shipping containers are designed to maintain a specific temperature range, depending on the type of cargo being shipped. They are typically constructed with an insulated wall or roof panel, and come in various sizes, including 20ft and 40ft.

Insulated or thermal shipping container dimensions and specifications for 20ft and 40ft containers including exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Insulated or thermal container dimensions and specifications

20ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 18 ft 10 in

Width: 7 ft 5 in

Height: 6 ft 11in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 27.4

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 52,910

Tare (lbs): 5,840

Max payload (lbs): 47,070

40ft Container Specifications

Exterior

Length: 40 ft

Width: 8 ft

Height: 8 ft 6 in

Interior

Length: 37 ft 11 in

Width: 7 ft 6 in

Height: 7 ft 5 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 59.1

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 71,650

Tare (lbs): 10,580

Max payload (lbs): 61,070

Cargo Storage Roll Shipping Containers

Cargo storage roll shipping containers are ideal for secure storage of smaller items. These containers come in a variety of sizes that aren't standardized. The two most common sizes are 20ft containers and 40ft containers. The container dimensions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but generally, you can expect sizes and specifications similar to dry storage shipping containers.

Half-Height Shipping Containers

Half-height shipping containers are typically used to transport bulk commodities, such as coal. They most commonly come in 10ft, 16ft,  and 20ft sizes, but the dimensions differ from regular cargo containers.

Half-height shipping container dimensions and specifications for 10ft, 16ft, and 20ft containers including exterior and interior dimensions, and container weight and volume specifications
Half-height shipping container dimensions and specifications

10 ft Container Specifications 

Exterior 

Length: 10 ft 

Width: 8 ft 

Height: 4 ft 2 in 

Interior

Length: 9 ft   

Width: 7 ft 4 in 

Height: 3 ft 3 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (m3): 5.92

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 18,739 

Tare (lbs): 2,475

Max payload (lbs): 16,264 

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 25,800

Tare (lbs): 3,750

Max payload (lbs): 22,050

16ft Container Specifications

Exterior 

Length: 16 ft 

Width: 8 ft 

Height: 4ft 2 in 

Interior 

Length: 14 ft 11 in  

Width: 7 ft 4 in  

Height: 3 ft 3 in 

Container Volume 

Load capacity (m3): 5.4

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 28,439

Tare (lbs): 6,393

Max payload (lbs): 22,050

20ft Container Specifications 

Exterior 

Length: 20 ft 

Width: 8 ft 

Height: 4ft 2 in 

Interior 

Length: 19 ft 3 in  

Width: 7 ft 3 in  

Height: 3 ft 1 in 

Container Volume 

Load capacity (m3): 5.4

Container Weight

Max gross (lbs): 27,290

Tare (lbs): 5,240

Max payload (lbs): 22,050

Swap Bodies Shipping Containers

These containers are available in various sizes, making them the perfect choice for any shipping and storage requirement. There aren't any standard swap body shipping container sizes in the US, but the most common sizes are 20' and 40'.

Car Carriers

Car carriers are the perfect solution for shipping large vehicles, including cars, vans, and light trucks. Car carriers come in various sizes and container dimensions depending on the size of the vehicle being shipped. The standard car carrier comes in 20’ and 40' containers with the same dimensions and specifications as dry cargo containers.

Drums

Drums are shipping containers used to ship liquid cargo items. They come in various sizes, but the most common is the 55-gallon barrel. 

55-Gallon Drum Dimensions and Specifications
55-Gallon drum dimensions and specifications

55-Gallon Drum Specifications

Exterior Diameter: 23.5 in

Interior Diameter: 23 in

Height: 34 in

Container Volume

Load capacity (gal):

55 gal

Intermediate Bulk Shift Shipping Containers

These containers are often used for hazardous material transportation or liquid bulk shipping. The sizes of intermediate bulk shipping containers vary from 10–100 cubic meters of volume based on the manufacturer.

Tanks

Tanks are the largest type of shipping container used to transport liquids and gases. Tank dimensions vary based on the container size and liquid capacity. However, about 95% of these are 20ft long, and even those vary in the container volume they can hold, ranging from 7.30 to 24.75 cubic meters.

Making Sense of Shipping Container Sizes

Whether you’re transporting goods across the globe or storing products locally, selecting the right container size is critical to ensuring your shipments arrive safely and quickly at their destination.

Choosing the right shipping container size is an important decision that can save you time, money and hassle. With a range of sizes available to meet your needs, it’s essential to do your research when selecting the best option for your shipment or storage requirements.

Knowing what dimensions and specifications are associated with each type of container should help make this process easier so you can have confidence in making an informed choice.

Cargoflip can help you make the right choice and, more importantly, track your container from start to finish. Use our software to locate your shipping containers with confidence, regardless of their size.

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