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

With so many container sizes 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 the right container size can save you money and keep your cargo safe. 

We’ll discuss how you can choose the best container size for your cargo later in the blog. But if you already know which containers you need, you can use the Container xChange trading platform to source these containers. 

On our trading platform, you can buy and sell containers in 2500+ locations globally. We have 50,000+ containers available. So there’s a higher chance you’ll get your hands on the container size you’re looking for. Moreover, we offer 100% market transparency. This way, you can compare the deals on the platform and choose the best ones.

Want to see how our platform works? 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.

History of shipping container sizes

Shipping containers come in two standard sizes but this wasn’t always the case. Malcolm McLean invented the first standard shipping container in the US in 1956. Before the standardization of containers, all goods were manually loaded into sacks, barrels and wooden crates – and then loaded directly onto cargo vessels. It could take up to 3 weeks to unload and load each ship at this rate! 

The benefits of using standard containers were immediately apparent. It allowed more goods to be shipped at once and the loading and unloading times were significantly reduced. Containers also made it possible to ship fragile items without any fear of getting damaged in transit. 

Now let’s look at the sizes of some of the most popular containers in the market.

Standard shipping container sizes

Standard ISO shipping containers are the most common type of freight containers used in shipping. These containers are 8ft (2.43m) wide, 8.5ft (2.59m) high and come in two lengths: 20ft (6.06m) and 40ft (12.2m).

20ft & 40ft container

You can transport your cargo safely in these durable containers, as they’re made of high-quality aluminum or steel. Read on to find more about these containers.

20ft shipping container size

The 20ft shipping container is the most popular and widely used container. It’s the smallest of the standard container range. Take a look at the shipping container size chart below.

20ft container dimensions

Internal length 5.9m / 19.4ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight 2,300kg / 5,071.5 lbs
Payload capacity 25,000kg / 55,126.9 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.2m3 / 1,172 cu ft

20ft containers are one of the most affordable containers in the market. You can get 20ft containers for $700 in some locations on our platform! Click here to check out the prices of 20ft containers in your preferred location.

40ft shipping container size

The 40ft container has twice the height of a 20ft container. It’s also known as the forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU). This container is suitable if you have cargo that won’t fit inside a 20ft container. Take a look at the table below to get the dimensions of a 40ft container.

40ft container dimensions

Internal length 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight 2,389 cu ft / 67,7 cu m
Payload capacity 61,200 lbs / 27,600 kg
Cubic capacity 8,268.8 lbs / 3,750 kg

Choosing one 40ft container is more cost-effective than choosing two 20ft containers, as one 40ft container is just 30% more expensive than one 20ft. Check out the prices of 40ft standard containers here and see for yourself how 40ft containers are more cost-effective.

High cube shipping container sizes: 40ft and 45ft HC

High cube containers have an extra foot (12 inches, about 30cm) in height compared to standard containers. High cubes are used to transport large, bulky and higher volume cargo that does not fit well in standard containers.

40ft and 45ft high cube containers

High cube containers also come in two sizes: 40ft HC and 45ft HC. Let’s take a look at their dimensions and capacity in the next section. 

Size of 40ft HC shipping container

A 40ft high cube shipping container has the same size as a 40ft container – but with an additional foot in height. Take a look at the 40ft HC shipping container size chart below.

Dimensions of 40ft HC container

Internal length 12.03 m / 39.5 ft
Internal width 2.35 m / 7.8 ft
Internal height 2.67 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 3,940 kg / 8,687 lbs
Payload capacity 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity 76.3 m3 / 2,694.5 cu ft

Cargo-worthy 40ft HC containers cost anywhere between $1500 to $2000. But on our platform, you can get these containers for as low as $1000! Click here to check out more such offers in 2500+ locations globally.

Stay one step ahead and up to date

Join our thriving community to receive valuable tips, trends, and industry news straight to your inbox.

Size of 45ft HC shipping container

45ft high cube shipping containers give you maximum space for your cargo. Take a look at the dimensions of this container from the table below. 

Dimensions of 45ft HC container

Internal length 13.55 m / 44.5 ft
Internal width 2.35 m / 7.8 ft
Internal height 2.67 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 4,820 kg / 10,628 lbs
Payload capacity 27,860 kg / 61,431 lbs
Cubic capacity 86 m3 / 3,036 cu ft

45ft HC containers are more expensive than 40ft HC containers. Click here to check out the price difference between the two in your location. 

All the containers we’ve discussed so far are easily available in the container market. Especially due to the current surplus of shipping containers. But even though the containers are readily available, you still need a safe platform to source these containers from. This is where Container xChange can help you.  

On our platform, you can connect with 1500+ vetted members to buy containers from. Plus, we don’t charge any commission on your deals. Our platform allows you to connect directly with vetted suppliers, negotiate better offers and make secure payments. 

Want to browse through multiple sales offers and choose the best one? Simply click the banner below and find the best container deals in your location.

Small banner for demo

How to choose the right shipping container size for you 

Choosing the right container size comes down to a few important factors. Here are some tips to help you choose the right shipping container size for your needs:

-Volume of cargo: If you have only a few small items, then a 20ft container will be perfect for you. However, if you have a larger number of items or have a higher volume cargo – you should choose a container of bigger size.

-Consider a container’s weight capacity: Along with the volume of cargo, you should also consider the weight of the goods you’re shipping. For example, the maximum payload capacity of 20ft containers is 25,000kg. For anything heavier, you should choose a bigger container size.

– Cost of shipping container: The cost of shipping containers varies according to many factors, which also includes the size. 40ft containers are more expensive than 20ft containers. But it’s more economically viable to choose one 40ft container than two 20ft containers. 

Apart from choosing the right size of shipping container, you should also pay attention to the type of container you’re choosing. Special cargo like temperature sensitive goods cannot be shipped in dry containers. For this you need special containers. Read on to find more about special containers available on our platform. 

Special container sizes and types 

Let’s take a look at some of the special containers and their sizes available on the Container xChange platform.

Reefer container size 

A reefer container is a specialized container that carries temperature-sensitive goods at regulated cold temperatures. This includes medicines, pharmaceuticals and food products. 

Take a look at the container size chart below to get the dimensions of reefer containers.

Dimensions of reefer containers

Measurement 20ft Reefer 40ft Reefer 40 HC Reefer
Internal length 17.9 ft / 5.44 m 37.9 ft / 11.56 m  38.0 ft / 11.58 m
Internal width 7.5 ft / 2.29 m 7.5 ft / 2.28 m 7.5 ft / 2.29 m
Internal height 7.5 ft / 2.27 m 7.4 ft / 2.25 m 7.9 ft / 2.40 m
Tare weight 3,080 kg / 6,790 lbs 4,800 kg / 10,584 lbs 4,480 kg / 9,880 lbs
Payload capacity 27,400 kg / 60,417 lbs 27,700 kg / 61,079 lbs 29,520 kg / 65,080 lbs
Cubic capacity 999 cu ft / 28.3 m³  2,093.3 cu ft / 59.3 m³   2,380 cu ft / 67.3 m³ 

Reefer containers are more expensive than standard containers. Click here to check out the prices of reefers in your locations.

Flat rack container size

A flat rack container is a special container with no roof or walls on its longer sides. This makes loading cargo of various sizes and shapes quick and convenient. It is used for out-of-gauge cargo such as machinery, timber, pipes, vehicles and more.

Here are the dimensions of a flat rack container. 

Dimensions of flat rack containers

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

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

Open top container size

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. Open-top containers are used when your cargo is too large to fit in a regular shipping container.

Take a look at the open-top shipping container size chart below.

Dimensions of open-top containers 

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

These are just a few special containers that we’ve discussed. Click here if you want to read more about the 12 types of shipping containers available in the container market. 

And now that you know the sizes of the most popular containers, it’s time to see how you can access their prices for free! Read on to find out more.

Get real-time shipping container prices for free

Accessing container prices is important if you want to make the best container deals. However, prices of containers keep changing and depend on a variety of factors like condition, location and the supply & demand.

One easy way to keep track of real-time container prices is through xChange Insights. With Insights, you can: 

  • Access real-time container prices in 110+ locations globally 
  • Identify the best cities to buy, sell or lease equipment, 
  • Make a good deal even in a new market, and
  • Maximize your profits

For example, according to Insights, the price of a 40ft cargo-worthy container in Budapest, Hungary is around $2000. However, you can get the same container for just $967 in Hamburg, Germany. This way you’ll end up saving around $1000 on your container deal!

And the best part? You can try Insights for free! Click here to see how Insights works and how it can help your business earn more profits. 

Get shipping containers of all sizes on xChange 

Now that you know how to access real-time container prices and enter new markets, it’s time to see how you can use xChange to find containers of all sizes. Here are some benefits of using xChange over your traditional sourcing methods. 

  • Find vetted partners and make deals. Risk free

All companies undergo a mandatory vetting process before becoming members. This means that you can do business with all xChange members. Risk-free. On top of this, all companies also have public profiles. Here, you can see reviews from previous partners. 

  • Make 100% secure transactions

We also protect the buyers. So, you don’t have to worry about paying and not getting your assets. Our dedicated Customer Service team makes sure that your container operations go smoothly. And that your payments are completely secure through the xChange wallet. 

  • Choose between 50,000+ boxes and make unlimited deals

On our platform, you can find 12 types of shipping containers in 2500+ locations globally. We have 50,000+ containers available – making it easier to find the container you’re looking for on xChange than your current sourcing channel.

Want to know more about our platform? Simply click on the banner below to get a free demo on how to find containers in your location at best prices.

Big banner for demo

Shipping container sizes: Common FAQs

What is the size of a 40ft container?

A 40-foot dry container measures 12.03 meters in length, 2.4 meters in width and 2.39 meters in height. The payload of a 40ft container is 27,600 kgs and the cubic capacity is 67.7 cubic meters.

How much can a 40ft container carry?

The payload of a 40ft container is 27,600 kgs or 60,000 lbs. And the cubic capacity of a 40ft container is 67.7 cubic meters.

What is the size of a 20ft container?

A 20-foot container measures 5.90 meters in length, 2.35 meters in width and 2.39 meters in height. It has a payload capacity of 25,000kg or 55,126.9 lbs.

How much do 40ft containers cost?

The average price of a cargo-worthy 40ft container is between $1500 to $2000. The price depends on the location, condition and supply and demand of the containers.

Shipping Container Sizes: Top Guide [Types + How to Choose]
Article Name
Shipping Container Sizes: Top Guide [Types + How to Choose]
Want to know all about shipping container sizes, types and uses? Get the complete guide to choosing the ideal container for your needs.
Publisher Name
Container xChange
Publisher Logo