Cargos come in different shapes and sizes. But an open top container fits almost everything. Get an overview of this unique container type and the price you have to spend to buy one.

The shipping container marketplace has different types of containers designed to transport cargo of a variety of ranges. Let’s understand a bit more about open top container and how is it beneficial for your next shipment. 

What is an open top container?

The open top container is one such special shipping container in the market today. What makes it unique is its open top (as the name suggests). The container has a convertible top made of tarpaulin sheet. You can remove it easily when needed. 

This container is ideal to transport oversized or bulky cargos that can’t be loaded through the door. And the ones that don’t fit a regular container. Here, a crane or a rolling bridge is used for the loading and unloading of cargo. Thanks to its special design, it makes the entire handling process smooth. 

Open top containers have lashing rings, so they keep the cargo stable despite the height and weight of the commodities. So, if your business demands transporting heavy and oversized goods regularly, you know what to look for. 

Having said that, it’s essential to know that, because of its special feature, there aren’t many units of open top containers available. It means that open top containers are often more expensive in container trading market spaces. 

The open top container is available in 20ft and 40ft dimensions. We’ll look at the dimensions and specifications of this container type further in the piece. 

If you are looking to buy open top containers, we can help you find them at the most competitive price along with full-market transparency. You can compare costs and pay the price you’re willing to pay. Explore it first-hand right here

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What an open top can carry

An open top container can carry around 30 tons (30.000 kilograms). And for many, those numbers can be a bit difficult to relate to. So here are a few things, that an open top container would be strong enough to carry – at least in theory:

Open top container

  • An open top container can carry approximately 4 full-grown elephants.
  • You can ship around three forward anchors from cruise ships. The ones from RMS Queen Elizabeth weigh 11,3 tonnes each.
  • The container would also be able to carry the weight of around 30 cows.

But you wouldn’t normally ship any of these things – at least not in an open top container. So, let’s see what legal cargo can you move in this type of container.

Common uses of an open top container

Open top containers are ideal for your tricky cargo. One of the biggest advantages of this type of container is its capacity. Well, it’s huge, especially when compared to a standard container. 

For many goods that can’t be loaded sideways such as machinery, the open top container comes to the rescue. This could also include equipment that needs special technical know-how to transport. In such cases, an open top container is a safe bet as it makes transportation easier and safer. 

You can use an open top container, if you have to ship goods that are too heavy or large, such as: 

  • Industry machines 
  • Pipes
  • Long steel bars
  • Spool of wire
  • Scrap material
  • Bulk coal
  • Trees
  • Construction materials 
  • Glass slabs
  • Marble blocks

20ft open top container dimensions

Just as with any other container, you can find an open top container in both 20ft and 40ft. A 20ft open top container is the most commonly used. Let’s take a look at the dimensions and other specifications of a 20ft open top container.

Measure 20ft
External length 6.058m/ 19.8ft
External width 2.438m/ 7.9ft
External height 2.591m/ 8.5ft
Internal length 5.89m / 19.4ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height 2.35m / 7.8ft
Tare weight 2,260kg / 5,982 lbs
Payload capacity 28,220 kg / 62,214 lbs
Cubic capacity 32.7 m3 / 1,155 cu ft

40ft open top container dimensions

While we are at it, let’s take a quick look at the dimensions and specifications of a 40ft open top container.

Measure 40ft
External length 12.192m/ 40ft
External width 2.438m/ 7.9ft
External height 2.591m/ 8.5ft
Internal length 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.34m / 7.8ft
Tare weight 3,980kg / 8,774 lbs
Payload capacity 26,500kg / 58,422 lbs
Cubic capacity 66.7 m3 / 2,356 cu ft

Read more: 10 types of shipping containers

Maximum load for an open top container

A 20-foot open top container can support a load of about 28 tons, while a 40-foot open top container can support around 30 tons. 

If it’s difficult to relate, here are a few examples that would give you some clarity. An open top container can carry the weight  approximately equivalent to: 

  • 4 full-grown elephants, or 
  • 60 cows, or 
  • Ship three forward anchors from a cruise ship (weighing 11.3 tonnes each). 

If you’re looking to ship your cargo in this type container type, you’ll get one at the best and most transparent price on Container xChange. In case you have a question, our experts will help you to get started. Click the banner below to see how it works.

How much to pay for an open top container? 

The price of the open top container heavily depends on the cargo. And whether it’s in ‘gauge’, meaning the cargo is not protruding above container roof level. If it protrudes out at the top, the price shoots up enormously, making the overall transport expensive. The reason is that other containers then can’t be stacked on top of these containers. It’s considered wasted space, costing you more money. 

The cost also depends on the route and destination’s demand for returning the container with the merchandise.

Let’s look at three different locations and find out how much you’ll shell out for this box on average. 

Note: The container prices here are based on thousands of transactions on the xChange trading platform in 2021.

The average price for a 20ft open top container (cargo-worthy) stands at US $2,363.5. In Belgium, a 20ft open top container will cost you an average price of US $2,716.5. However, in Italy, you can get it at an average price of US $2,325.23, and in UAE, you may shell out US $2,000 for a 20ft open top container.

A standard 40ft open top (cargo-worthy) container costs US $4337.28. In India, you can get it at an average price of US $4,474.28. If you are looking to buy containers in the UAE, you’ll have to spend about US $4105.09. 

Read more: How much does a shipping container cost?

Open top container

Get your container on xChange at the best price

Unlike a regular 20ft shipping container, these containers are hard to find. The reason? They are special boxes and serve a specific purpose in the shipping industry, and hence the demand is more. Most of the time they are retained for a longer time as well. 

However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re looking for one on xChange. You can choose the location you want to buy an open top container and check for availability. 

The best part is, you set your budget, and make sure not to pay more than you should. Let’s see how xChange can further help you in this process. 

Are you looking to buy or sell containers?

Open top containers are useful for many different types of commodities. Moreover, they help you transport the cargo that most other containers can’t ship.

If you’re looking to buy or sell containers, check out the container trading platform at xChange!

At xChange, we’ve many container suppliers such as Seaco, Conway, Sogese, Kuehne+nagel, and Ravian to name a few. 

Though sometimes, it can be difficult to get to work with big companies, at xChange, we offer a neutral online marketplace where small businesses can be members too and sell and buy containers easily. 

All the members of the trading marketplace are vetted on xChange. This ensures that you only deal with reliable partners.

The marketplace is 100% transparent. This means that you know exactly who you are doing business with, and there are no added commission fees. 

Find the containers you’re looking for and activate the market scanner. Get notified about new offers that fit your needs.

You can also offer your sales stock to a global network with more than 1000+ certified partners across 2,500+ locations globally. 

Try the neutral online trading marketplace at xChange and get global buying and selling options available within seconds. Click on the banner to schedule a demo with our team. Our experts will give you a glimpse of what the xChange trading marketplace can do for you.

Click on the banner below and enter your contact details. Our support team will reach out to you and help you find the right containers.

Open top container: Common FAQs

What is an open top container?

The open top container is a special shipping container that comes with an open top. The convertible top is made of tarpaulin sheet. You can remove it easily whenever needed.

What is an open top container used for?

The open top container can transport oversized or bulky cargos that can’t be loaded through the door. You can use an open top container to transport goods such as, industrial machines, pipes, long steel bars, spool of wire, trees, glass slabs and marble blocks.

How is the price of an open top container determined?

The price of the open top container depends on the cargo. And whether it’s in ‘gauge’, meaning the cargo is not protruding above container roof level. The cost also depends on the route and destination demand for returning the container with goods.

What is the difference between a flat rack container and open top container?

The difference between a flat rack container and an open top container is their structure. However, both these containers are ideal for oversized cargo. A flat rack comes with two walls that can be folded to create a flat base. It’s ideal for goods of unusual height and width, for example, a yacht or an airplane. The cargo is loaded from the side or sometimes from the top, secured by multiple lashing rings. An open top container has a removable roof made of tarpaulin sheet. The cargo is loaded from the top using a crane. This type of container can carry bulky and heavy, oversized goods such as industrial machines, pipes, spool of wire, marble blocks, and so on.

What is the size of an open top container?

Just like any other shipping container, open top containers come in 20ft and 40ft. A 20ft open top container dimensions are 20’ x 8’ x 8’6 and a 40ft open top stands at 40’ x 8’ x 8’6.

What is the height of open top container?

The external height of a 20ft open top container is 2.591m/ 8.5ft, while the internal height is 2.35m / 7.8ft. In a 40ft open top container, the external height stands at 2.591m/ 8.5ft and its internal height is 2.34m / 7.8ft.

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Container trading | Open Top Container – Explained
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Container trading | Open Top Container – Explained
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An open top container is a special container and there are not that many of them. That also means that they often are more expensive in container trading. Learn more about open top containers here.
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Container xChange
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