Shipping Container Sizes and Dimensions

What Sizes do Shipping Containers Come in?

A lot of people are curious how much a container weighs and just how long/high/wide they are. Simple box sells a wide variety of shipping containers. 20 foot and 40 foot containers are the most common sizes and typically offer the best price per square foot of storage space.

What are the Typical Dimensions and Weights of Shipping Containers?

ISO Shipping Containers used in North America are typically made in the standard sizes of 8’ wide, 8’6” high, and either 20’ or 40’ long.

40 foot containers are the most common size for people who want to buy a container. Many times when you see a stack of Containers on cargo ships in port, container depots, or being transported on a semi-truck chassis, it is a 40 footer.

20 foot containers are the most popular for renting. A 20 foot Shipping Container is most popular because it is easy to deliver and fits in a wide variety of locations.

Some custom-sized shipping containers are manufactured in lengths as short as 8 feet or as long as 45’, 48’ and even 53’ long. High-cube (Hi Cube) containers are one foot taller in height at 9 feet, 6 inches tall.

Below is a handy chart that shows the standard weights and dimensions of shipping containers. Because there are a variety of container sizes and manufacturers around the world, keep in mind that the exact dimensions of your container may vary from this list. Visit us at any one of our Simple Box locations and we can get more precise measurements for the container you choose.

 

SHIPPING CONTAINER SIZES AND DIMENSIONS
DIMENSIONS 10 foot Standard Container 20 foot Standard Container 20 foot Double-Door Container 20 foot High Cube Container 40 foot Standard Container 40 foot Double-Door Container 40 foot High Cube Container 45 foot High Cube Container
External Length 10′ 20′ 20′ 20′ 40′ 40′ 40′ 45′
External Width 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’
External Height 8’-6” 8’-6” 8’-6” 9’-6” 8’-6” 8’-6” 9’-6” 9’-6”
Door Opening Width 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7”
Door Opening Height 7’-4” 7’-4” 7’-4” 8’-4” 7’-4” 7’-4” 8’-4” 8’-4”
Interior Length 19’-5” 19’-5” 19’-5” 19’-5” 39’-5” 39’-5” 39’-5” 44’-5”
Interior Width 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8”
Interior Height 7’-10” 7’-10” 7’-10” 8’-10” 7’-10” 7’-10” 8’-10” 8’-10”
Weight 2,900 lbs. 4,900 lbs. 5,200 lbs. 5,300 lbs. 8,200 lbs. 8,500 lbs. 8,750 lbs. 10,500 lbs.
*Container Dimensions and Weights may vary depending on several factors such as age, manufacturer, and components used. Check CSC plate to confirm exact details. 
 

SHIPPING CONTAINER SIZES AND DIMENSIONS
DIMENSIONS 10 foot Standard Container 20 foot Standard Container 20 foot Double-Door Container 20 foot
High Cube Container
External Length 10’ 20’ 20’ 20’
External Width 8’ 8’ 8’ 8’
External Height 8’-6” 8’-6” 8’-6” 9’-6”
Door Opening Width 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7” 7’-7”
Door Opening Height 7’-4” 7’-4” 7’-4” 8’-4”
Interior Length 19’-5” 19’-5” 19’-5” 19’-5”
Interior Width 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8” 7’-8”
Interior Height 7’-10” 7’-10” 7’-10” 8’-10”
Weight 2,900 lbs. 4,900 lbs. 5,200 lbs. 5,300 lbs.
*Container Dimensions and Weights may vary depending on several factors such as age, manufacturer, and components used. Check CSC plate to confirm exact details. 

 

SHIPPING CONTAINER SIZES AND DIMENSIONS
DIMENSIONS

40 foot Standard
Container

40 foot Double-Door Container

40 foot 
High Cube Container

45 foot
High Cube
 Container

External Length

40’

40’

40’

45’

External Width

8’

8’

8’

8’

External Height

8’-6”

8’-6”

9’-6”

9’-6”

Door Opening Width

7’-7”

7’-7”

7’-7”

7’-7”

Door Opening Height

7’-4”

7’-4”

8’-4”

8’-4”

Interior Length

39’-5”

39’-5”

39’-5”

44’-5”

Interior Width

7’-8”

7’-8”

7’-8”

7’-8”

Interior Height

7’-10”

7’-10”

8’-10”

8’-10”

Weight

8,200 lbs.

8,500 lbs.

8,750 lbs.

10,500 lbs.

*Container Dimensions and Weights may vary depending on several factors such as age, manufacturer, and components used. Check CSC plate to confirm exact details. 

What are Shipping Containers Made of?

Steel Construction

Most Intermodal Containers are made of Corten Steel (or weathering steel) which is designed to help scrapes, dings and dents better withstand the weather by forming a “protective” layer of hard rust (which is possibly the first time rust has ever been described as a good thing!).

Corrugated Walls

The reason shipping container walls are corrugated is to make them stronger. The corrugation in the 14-gauge steel walls give the container stacking strength. Some containers can be stacked and fully-loaded up to 8 stories high.

An example of the Steel Corrugated Panels of a 40 foot High Cube Shipping Container

Solid Floors

Shipping Container floors vary somewhat, although most new Simple Box containers feature an inch and a quarter plywood or bamboo floor. Many of our newer containers are built with Eco-friendly or environmentally friendly flooring using quickly renewable and sustainable resources. Older containers may have a combination of marine-grade plywood and steel flooring.

Cargo Doors and Door Seal

Two full-width cargo doors provide a large opening on one end of the container. A thick rubber gasket that goes around both cargo doors, sealing the opening tightly and keeping the elements out. For containers being used for storage at a home or job site, the thick rubber door seal also means your Shipping Container is rodent-proof and much more secure from critters than a shed would be.

CSC Plate

CSC refers to the International Convention for Safe Containers. This is the international agreement for maintaining containers in safe condition. The CSC plate is a stamp of approval signifying that after examination and witnessing of tests, the CSC Administration is satisfied that the container meets current requirements. The CSC Plate is usually on the left-hand cargo door of the container. A cargo-worthy container that has been surveyed and re-certified will receive a stamp or label to place on the CSC plate, signifying the time the certification will be valid for.

Certification and Surveying

If your Container will be shipped overseas or may be used for Ocean cargo, we can arrange to have a Box re-surveyed and certified for a fee. All re-surveying must happen in the port or depot, so it is most cost-effective for a customer to get a Box surveyed in advance, rather than choosing one in our yard and having us haul it back to the port for surveying.

MGW or Maximum Gross Weight

This measurement as well as other specifications can be found on the doors of the container or on the CSC plate.

What Condition or Grades of Shipping Containers are there?

Containers go by many names. ISO, cargo container and shipping container are the terms generally used. Connex or conex is a military term meaning the same.

ONE-TRIP (New Container)

A one-trip container is a container that was manufactured overseas (typically in China), filled with goods and then shipped to North America with the intent of being sold right away as a “new” container. By having a shipper use the container for a single load (it has just made “one-trip” across the ocean), the cost to get a new container in North America is reduced significantly. We pass these savings along to our customers.

Because they have not had much use, they are usually free from rust and large dents, however because they have made one trip here on a ship and then have been handled by a forklift, truck, and trailer, they may have some minor blemishes like scrapes or small dings. In our industry, we typically consider a one-trip container to be in “New” or “Like-new” condition for the first 5 years of its life.

IICL (the best available Used Containers)

Refers to the Institute of International Container Leasers. The IICL maintains a Guide for Container Equipment Inspection which determines a high standard for containers that are in a Leasing Company fleet. The high standard ensures quality and consistency which makes it easier to maintain, certify, and insure the fleet.

CW / Cargo Worthy (can be shipped overseas)

This quality of container can be used to go overseas again. Cargo worthy containers are used containers that must meet standards of structural strength, be wind and water-tight, and contain all of the proper markings in order to be certified for export use. Containers meeting IICL 5 standards are generally of an even better quality than containers showing as just cargo worthy.

WWT or Wind/Water Tight (no holes)

This identifies a used container as being in the condition of dry and suitable for storage (no leaks). In port, this classification is actually a lower grade than Cargo-worthy and may actually be in As-Is condition. Unfortunately, many sellers promote “wind and water-tight” as being great condition, when in fact it should be the minimum standard. At Simple Box we do not offer Wind and Water Tight.

AS-IS (rough shape and possibly damaged)

This condition should alert the buyer that there might be minor to major damage to the container that could be expensive to repair. We do not stock As-is containers because we don’t want our customers to get a damaged Box.

What are the Differences between Shipping Containers?

HC / High-Cube / Hi-Cube

Refers to “high-cube” containers that are one foot taller than standard containers. High-Cube containers are 9 feet 6 inches high (9’6″).

DV / Dry Van

Standard Containers are often simply called Dry Van, but should not be confused with a van body or cargo trailer with wheels. When you are ordering a 20 foot Standard Container, it may also be called a 20 Foot Dry Van.

FR or F/R or Flat Rack

A Flat Rack is designed with no roof or side walls and a collapsible end wall. It is used as a platform to ship bulkier or non-standard items that would not normally fit inside a shipping container. Flat Racks are often in limited supply and cost several thousand dollars more than a standard container.

OT or O/T or Open Top Container

This container has either a hard plastic or softer tarp covering the roof of the container, making it more like a dump-truck body. These specialty containers are often in limited supply and cost several thousand dollars more than a standard container.

Example of 20 foot Dry Van container

OS or Open Side Shipping Container

Some containers are available with curtains instead of steel side walls, while others are sold with doors along the side. Open side containers are often in limited supply and cost several thousand dollars more than a standard container. The reason for the extra expense is the combination of extra doors, extra steel reinforcement, and extra care in handling needed for all in the process (from the shipping line to the depot).

But wait, there’s more… 😊

Three more useful Shipping Container Terms and Definitions:

What does FOB mean?

Stands for “Free On Board” and typically designates that no freight or delivery fees have been calculated into the agreement. For example “FOB Seattle” would mean that the price is considered complete at the seller’s loading dock. Any additional trucking or handling fees would be the buyer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for.

What is an ISO Container?

International Organization for Standardisation – all of our containers are designed and built according to ISO standards for everything, from the exact dimensions and weights, to the location of the door handles, the type of paint and flooring, the type of steel, and even the numbering system to identify the containers.

What does SOC or MTC mean on a Bill of Lading?

SOC is a Shipper’s Own Container i.e. you as the shipper own the container rather than using one of the shipping company’s containers. It is very important that the Shipping Container is CSC plated. MTC stands for “Move Their Container,” i.e. we relocate a container that is owned by the customer to a new location.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SPECIFIC TYPE OF CONTAINER TO RENT OR BUY, CONTACT US AT ANY ON OF OUR CONTAINER LOCATIONS OR REQUEST A FREE QUOTE REQUEST HERE