Understanding the different container types and dimensions can help you ship your cargo safely. Read this blog to find out the different container types and where you can find your desired boxes at the best price. 

With so many container types available, it’s important that you choose the right one. In fact, it’s one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. As only the right container can save you money and keep your cargo safe. 

But what happens after you’ve decided on the right container? It can get a bit difficult to find your exact container type in your network. Especially, if you need them in a specific size. And let’s not forget the lack of price transparency in the industry.  

That’s where xChange can help you. On our neutral trading platform, you can trade containers in 2500+ locations globally. We have 10,000+ containers available on xChange, so there’s a higher chance you’ll get your hands on your container type. Moreover, we offer 100% market transparency. This way, you can compare the deals and choose the best one.

Ready to get started? Use our trading search below to find offers from 1500+ vetted members. Just fill in your container type, location and click search to get started.

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If you’re looking for a particular type of container and its dimensions, then you can simply select it from the Table of Content below. 

Container types and dimensions: Overview

There are several container types in the container market. Each container is manufactured to transport a different type of cargo. For example, temperature sensitive items like medicines are better suited for reefer containers.

Right containers not only keep your cargo safe but also save you money. If you use a standard container for medicines, you’re at higher risk of damaging your cargo and not passing the customs. This can cost you both money and time. 

Being part of the shipping business, it’s important that you understand the different container types and their dimensions. 

Let’s take a look at the various container types and understand which type of cargo they’re most suitable for. 

Standard container types and dimensions

A standard container is the most common type of container in the market.They are available in two common sizes: 20ft containers and 40ft containers

Container types and dimensions

They’re usually made of steel or aluminum. The aluminum containers have a slightly higher payload. In general, these containers are airtight and water-resistant, preventing damage from the outside.

Standard containers can carry most types of dry cargo such as boxes, pallets, sacks, barrels, etc. They can be customized on the inside to carry a specific type of goods. For instance, hangers can be fit inside to carry clothes that could be directly transported to the store.

Since standard containers are basic and easily-available, they are not expensive. See it for yourself. Click here to check out the price of standard containers in your location

Standard container sizes and dimensions

Here are the dimensions of standard 20ft and 40ft containers. 

Measurements 20ft  40ft 
Internal length 5.9m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.9ft 2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight 2,300kg / 5,071.5 lbs 3,750kg / 8,268.8 lbs
Payload capacity 25,000 kg / 55,126.9 lbs 27,600kg / 61,200 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.2 m3 / 1,172 cu ft 67.7 m3 / 2,389 cu ft

High cube container

High cubes, in short HC, are actually similar in structure to standard containers. The length and width remain the same but the height increases by 1 foot. This enables them to meet more cargo demands.

Container types and dimensions

High cube containers also come in two sizes: 40ft HC and 45ft HC. Since these containers have additional height, they provide more storage value at their price point. They’re suitable if you need more storage for your cargo that a 20ft or 40ft container can’t fulfil. 

Do you want to get your hands on high cube containers and get more storage for your cargo?  Click here to learn everything you need to know to buy high cube containers. 

High cube container sizes and dimensions

Here are the dimensions of 40ft HC and 45ft HC containers.

Measurements 40ft HC 45ft HC
Internal length 12.03m/39.5ft 13.55m/44.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height 2.70m / 8.10ft 2.70m / 8.10ft
Tare weight 3,900kg / 8,598 lbs 4,800kg / 10,552 lbs
Payload capacity 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs 27,700kg / 61,067 lbs
Cubic capacity 76.3 m3 / 2,694.5 cu ft 86 m3 / 3,037 cu ft

Now that you have an overview of standard containers, let’s take a look at specialized containers. These containers are useful if you have specialized cargo. Read on to find out which container is best for your shipping needs.

Special container types and dimensions

A special container is used for specific needs that can’t be covered by a standard container. Many things can be changed in a special container, such as:

  • A different position of the door(s)
  • Changes in the height and width of the container itself
  • Technological modifications of containers 

Below is a list of special container types and dimensions that you should be aware of.

Reefer container

Reefer containers are container-sized refrigerators used to move temperature-sensitive goods. The flooring of the reefer container has a T-shaped decking that sends chilled air into the container. This makes sure there is consistent airflow among the goods. They can maintain any temperature between -30°C and +30°C.

Container types and dimensions

Reefers carry temperature-sensitive items such as fruits, vegetables, ice cream, drugs, or meat. Each item has a different temperature requirement and it needs to be maintained to protect its freshness. The reefer container can be sectioned to cool and freeze at the same time. It is powered by a generator that provides electricity. When they’re on the road being transported by trucks, the containers are powered by fuel. The reefer container is expensive considering the power and maintenance requirements

Reefer container sizes and dimensions

Here are the dimensions of reefer containers. They’re available in three sizes, 20ft, 40ft, and 40ft HC.

Measurements 20ft  40ft  40ft HC
Internal length 5.44m / 17.9ft 11.56m / 37.9ft 11.56 m/ 37.9ft
Internal width 2.29m / 7.5ft 2.28m / 7.5ft 2.29m / 7.5ft
Internal height 2.27m / 7.5ft 2.25m / 7.4ft 2.55m / 8.36ft
Tare weight 3,080kg / 6,791.4 lbs 4,800kg / 10,584 lbs 4,480kg / 9,880lbs
Payload capacity 27,400 kg / 60,471 lbs 27,700 kg / 61,078 lbs 29,520kg / 65,080 lbs
Cubic capacity 28.3m3 / 999 cu ft 59.3 m3 / 2,093.3 cu ft 67.3 m3 / 2,380 cu ft

Double door container

Double door containers are built to have doors that swing open outside on both ends. Both sets of doors are built with the same specifications. It is the most convenient option for loading and unloading a container, as you can load and unload  goods quickly from either ends of the container, as required. For instance, if you load a car, you can just drive it through a double door container. You don’t need to reverse it while unloading.

Container types and dimensions

Double door container sizes and dimensions

Double door containers have three sizes, 20ft, 40ft and 40ft HC. Here are the dimensions.

Measurements 20ft  40ft  40ft HC
Internal length 5.9m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.4m / 7.9ft 2.34m / 7.8ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.9ft 2.39m / 7.9ft 2.69m / 8.9ft 
Tare weight 2,300kg / 5,071.5 lbs 3,750kg / 8,268.8 lbs 5,200kg / 11,470lbs
Payload capacity 25,000 kg / 55,126.9 lbs 27,600kg / 61,200 lbs 28,600kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.2 m3 / 1,172 cu ft 67.7 m3 / 2,389 cu ft 76.3m3 / 2,694 cu ft

Open-top container

Open-top containers, as the name suggests, have an open top. The roof of the container is covered with tarpaulin sheets instead of a solid roof. This way, it can be covered or left open according to convenience. The container is made of steel with wooden flooring and the door heads can be swung open for easy loading and unloading.

Container types and dimensions

Open-top containers are used when your cargo is too large to fit in a regular shipping container. For instance, machinery or heavy materials that can’t be stowed sideways but arranged from the top through heavy-lifting cranes. These containers have larger capacities than the normal ones as the roof is open. It has lashing rings that keep the cargo stable and has the capacity to load 1000 kgs.

Open top container sizes and dimensions

Open top containers have three sizes: 20ft, 40ft and 40ft HC. Take a look at the table below for dimensions of each.

Measurements 20ft 40ft  40ft HC
Internal length 5.89m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.4m / 7.9ft 2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.34m / 7.8ft 2.70m / 8.10ft 
Tare weight 2,260kg / 5,982 lbs 3,980kg / 8,774 lbs 4,250kg / 9,370 lbs
Payload capacity 28,220 kg / 62,214 lbs 26,500kg / 58,422 lbs 28,250kg / 62,281 lbs
Cubic capacity 32.7 m3 / 1,155 cu ft 66.7 m3 / 2,356 cu ft 74.9 m3 / 2,645 cu ft

Want to see the prices for open top containers in your preferred location? Click here to check out availability and prices in 2500+ locations right now.

Pallet wide container

Pallet wide container is a special container designed to accommodate a larger number of Euro pallets, commonly used in Europe. The pallets are usually in the size of 1200 x 800 x 144. A standard 20-feet container can carry 11 of them, while a pallet wide 20-feet container can carry 15 pallets. This is possible because the containers are approximately 5m wider on the inside than the standard ones.

Just like standard containers, pallet wide containers are also manufactured from steel but its floor is made with wooden planks for higher durability and friction coefficient.

Container types and dimensions

Pallet wide container sizes and dimensions

Pallet wide containers are available in three sizes. These are 20ft, 40ft and 40ft HC. The table below gives the dimensions of each size.

Measurements 20ft 40ft  40ft HC
Internal length 5.89m / 19.32ft 12.03m / 39.46ft 13.55m / 44.5ft
Internal width 2.44m / 8ft 2.44m / 8ft 2.41m / 7.9 ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.84ft 2.38m / 7.80ft 2.69m / 8.85ft
Tare weight 2,400kg / 5,291.09 lbs 3,800kg / 8,377.56 lbs 4,280kg / 9,435.7lbs
Payload capacity 28,080 kg / 61,905.80 lbs 26,680kg / 58,819.33 lbs 29,720kg / 65,521.38 lbs
Cubic capacity 34.34 m3 / 1,213 cu ft 69.86 m3 / 2,467.12 cu ft 86.2m3 / 3,044.12 cu ft

Flat rack container 

Flat rack containers only have sides on the short ends of the container. They are used for heavy loads and cargo that need loading from the top or sides, such as pipes, machinery, or even buses.

Container types and dimensions

The numerous lashing rings allow the load to be secured safely and by legal regulations. For example, crates exceeding the size of a closed container can be loaded. It’s even possible to attach stanchions. Thus, creating a lateral boundary without having to forego the other advantages of a flat rack container.

Flat rack container sizes and dimensions

The table below shows the dimensions of flat rack containers in different sizes.

Measurements 20ft  40ft 
Internal length 5.94m / 19ft 12.13m / 39.8ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.7ft 2.40m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.35m / 7.7ft 2.14m / 7ft
Tare weight 2,360kg / 5203.8 lbs 5,000kg / 11,025 lbs
Payload capacity 30,140 kg / 66,458.7 lbs 40,000kg / 88,200 lbs
Cubic capacity 32.7 m3 / 1,154.3 cu ft 62.2 m3 / 2,195.7 cu ft

Flat rack containers are suitable for shipping specialized cargo. However, it’s difficult to get your hands on flat rack containers in your desired locations through traditional sourcing channels. This is where xChange can help you. Click here to browse through various offers on flat rack containers in your location. Compare prices and choose the best deals for yourself.

Side door container

A side door container, also known as an open side container, has extra doors that open on the long side of the container. The side doors make it extremely convenient to load cargo that is bulky and can’t fit through the end doors. More workers can work simultaneously while loading or unloading cargo, as the side doors give full access to the container.

Container types and dimensions

Side door container sizes and dimensions

Side door containers are available in three sizes. Here are the dimensions of each.

Measurements 20ft  40ft 40ft HC
Internal length 5.9m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft 12.03 m / 39.5 ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.7ft 2.28m / 7.4ft 2.34 m / 7.8 ft
Internal height 2.34m / 7.7ft 2.29m / 7.5ft 2.69 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 2,700 kg / 5,950 lbs 4,700 kg / 10,362 lbs 5,200 kg / 11,470 lbs
Payload capacity 27,780 kg /  61,244 lbs 27,300 kg / 60,180 lbs 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.0 m3 / 1,165 cu ft 64 m3 / 2,2306 cu ft 76.3 m3 / 2,694 ft3

If you too have bulky cargo and need the best quality side door containers, click here to get started. Just fill in your location and the container type. Rest assured, you’ll find the right offer for you.

Hard top container

Hard top containers are very similar to open containers with the difference being a detachable steel roof instead of a tarpaulin sheet. The roof of a hard top container has points through which a forklift can lift the roof. As seen with the previous containers, this design allows for easy loading/unloading of specific types of cargo.

Container types and dimensions

Hard top containers are especially functional for heavy goods and heightened cargo — which needs to be loaded through the roof or doors using a forklift, crane, or crab. Cargo transported using hard top containers include marble, glass sheets, raw materials (like coal), large machinery, etc.

Hard top container sizes and dimensions

Take a look at the table below to get dimensions of hard top containers. 

Measurements 20ft  40ft 40ft HC
Internal length 5.89m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.4m / 7.9ft 2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.34m / 7.8ft 2.69 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 2,260kg / 5,982 lbs 3,980kg / 8,774 lbs 5,200 kg / 11,470 lbs
Payload capacity 28,220 kg / 62,214 lbs 26,500kg / 58,422 lbs 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity 32.7 m3 / 1,155 cu ft 66.7 m3 / 2,356 cu ft 76.3 m3 / 2,694 ft3

Tank container

Tank containers are cylindrical in shape. These containers, also known as tankers, are made of strong steel and anti-corrosive materials. This ensures that the containers can sustain the transport and protect the liquid material they carry.

Container types and dimensions

In most cases, tank containers are used to transport dangerous goods, gasses, and liquids. Each tank container goes through a thorough inspection before it’s allowed to carry goods.

Tank container sizes and dimensions

Here are the dimensions of a tank container.

Measure 20FT
Inside length 6.058 m
Inside width 2.438 m
Door width 0 m
Door height 0 m
Capacity 21,000 l
Tare weight 26290 kg

Insulated container

Insulated containers keep the same temperature inside the container, regardless of the temperatures outside its four walls. They’re suitable for transporting temperature-sensitive goods.

Container types and dimensions

Insulated containers often have a double wall. It’s vacuumed so it prevents heat and cold transfer between the outside of the box and the inside. Moreover, the interior is fully sealed to avoid condensation and moisture

Insulated container sizes and dimensions

Take a look at the table below if you want to know the exact dimensions of an insulated container.

Measurements 20ft 40ft
Internal length 5.75m/18.10ft 1.561m/37.11ft
Internal width 2.26m/5.7ft 2.28 m/7.6ft
Internal height 2.11m/6.11ft 2.249m/7.5 ft
Tare weight 2650 kgs/ 5840lbs 4800 kgs/ 10580lbs
Payload capacity 21350 kgs/ 47070lbs 27700 kgs/ 61070lbs
Cubic capacity 970cu ft 2090cu ft

Half height container

Talking about the different container types here’s a shout-out to a very special box, the half height. Half height containers are ideal for moving heavy goods with low-volume cargo. They are used to transport pipes, tools, chains, hooks, anchors, and sometimes even vehicles. Locally, these containers are also used to transport items such as coal, sand, and gravel. If you are transporting over-height goods, half height containers can be an ideal choice.

Half height containers follow the DNV (Det Norske Veritas) standards. A DNV-approved half height container is equipped with slings, shackles, and multiple internal lashing points. There are also net securing points, cargo restraining nets, anti-slip surfaces, and forklift points for safety purposes.

A half height container also comes as an open top container for easy loading and unloading of cargoes. You also have the option to customize it with removable side or swinging doors. You can also choose a range of size that suits your need.

Half height container size and dimensions

Here are the dimensions a 20ft half height container

Measure 20ft
Internal length 19.3ft (5.88m)
Internal width 7.3ft (2.22m)
Internal height 3.1ft (0.94m)
Tare weight 2,378 kg/ 5,240 lbs
Payload capacity 10,000 kg / 22,050 lbs
Cubic capacity 12.25 m³/ 432.6 cu ft

After discussing so many containers, you might be confused between similar container types. Read on to know the differences between them.

Differences in different types of shipping container

As you have seen, each shipping container type is designed to ship a different type of cargo. It’s important that you understand the container types if you want your cargo to be safe. However, with so many similar container types, it’s natural to get confused. 

Here are the differences between a few container types.

Flat rack container vs open top container

Container types and dimensions

Both flat rack and open top containers are used to ship specialized cargo. The main difference between the two is that the flat rack only has walls on the short end of the container. Whereas, an open top container doesn’t have a roof.

If you have specialized cargo like machines or equipment that can’t fit inside an open top, you should choose a flat rack.

However, if your cargo can be put inside an open top using heavy-lifting cranes and fits inside the container, you should go for an open top container.

Insulated container vs reefer container

Insulated and reefer containers are both used to ship cargo that’s temperature sensitive. However, there’s a minute difference in the cooling system of both these containers. Take a look at the table below to know the differences. 

Reefer container Insulated container
Provides precise temperature control inside the container. Only maintains the initial temperature 
Used for climate-controlled storage Used for maintaining the initial temperature
Keep goods cold, frozen, or at a specific temperature during long-distance shipping Protects the interior from exterior conditions and often used in the retail market

By now you must have chosen the right container type for your shipping needs. But where can you find the exact container type in your desired location? Well, that’s where xChange comes into the picture. 

Read on to find out how you can buy & sell containers on our trading platform.

Buy or sell different container types and sizes on Container xChange

Getting the exact container type at your desired location is quite tricky if you’re using traditional sourcing channels. Even if you do find the container you’re looking for, there’s no guarantee that you’re paying the right price due to the lack of transparency in the industry. 

However, if you’re a member of xChange, you can easily trade containers with 100% market transparency. We’ve created a neutral online trading platform that works exactly like an online store.

You can browse through various container types across conditions, locations, and prices. When you’ve set your eyes on a container, or a bunch of them, you can reach out to the seller directly and negotiate a price. 

We have over 10,000+ containers at 2500+ locations. So there’s a higher chance you’ll get your hands on your desired container type. Moreover, we don’t charge any commission on container sales. 

And once you finalize a deal with another vetted member, xChange wallet will ensure that your money is safe. 

Sounds safe and convenient right? Just click the banner below and start trading containers securely on xChange today. Or, simply talk to our experts and get all your queries solved.

Container types and dimensions

Container types and dimensions: Common FAQs

What are the different types of containers?

There are many different container types. Standard container types include 20ft dry container, the 40ft dry container, and high cube containers (with extra height). Specialized container types include reefer, pallet wide, tank, open top containers, etc.

Which container types are the most common?

Some of the most common container types are 20ft DC, 40ft DC and 40ft DC high cube containers. They are standard container types used for shipping dry cargo.

Which container is used for shipping temperature-sensitive goods?

Reefer containers or insulated containers are used for shipping temperature-sensitive goods. If your cargo is to be shipped at a specific temperature, then reefer container is your ideal choice. However, if your cargo can be shipped by maintaining the initial temperature of the container, you should use an insulated container.

 

 

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12 container types and dimensions [+get quality boxes 2023]
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12 container types and dimensions [+get quality boxes 2023]
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Learn about different container types and dimensions. Find out their uses and where to source quality containers at best prices.
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Container xChange
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