Flat rack containers are used to ship uniquely shaped or oversized goods – that can’t fit inside a regular container. Read this blog to find out all about flat rack containers. And, how you can source them at the best price.
Flat rack containers are one of the most versatile containers that make it possible for you to ship unique cargo. These ISO-certified intermodal containers operate just like standard containers. The only difference is that they can accommodate much more.
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What is a flat rack container?
A flat rack container is a specialized container with walls only at the short ends of the container. Since the container type doesn’t have any roof and long walls, you can easily load the oversized and uniquely shaped cargo from the top or sides. As a result, the flat rack container can easily store and ship out of gauge cargo such as machinery, timber, pipes, buses, and boats, among other things.
Since these containers can carry heavy loads, they’re usually in high demand. Many forwarders rely on their local network to get their hands on flat rack containers. Especially, NVOCCs specializing in shipping unique cargo often end up paying high prices due to the low availability of containers locally. Moreover, their local sourcing network may not even have specialized containers like flat rack.
This is where Container xChange comes into the picture. We offer an online marketplace with 10,000+ containers, including flat racks. With 1500+ vetted members on our platform, you can easily find container suppliers or sellers in your desired location.
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Flat rack container dimensions and weight
Flat rack containers usually have the same dimensions as any standard container. However, since these containers only have walls on the short ends, their dimensions are based on an imaginary volume bound between the internal dimensions of the container.
Flat rack containers come in the standard 20ft and 40ft sizes. But they’re designed to carry heavier and more concentrated loads up to 2,000kg (for 20ft) and 4,000kg (for 40ft). They’re manufactured from steel with softwood flooring.
Let’s take a look at the dimensions before discussing further about the cargo capacity of flat racks.
20ft flat rack dimensions
Here are the dimensions of a 20ft flat rack container.
Dimensions of 20ft flat rack container
|Internal length||5.94 m / 19.5 ft|
|Internal width||2.35 m / 7.7 ft|
|Internal height||2.35 m / 7.7 ft|
|Tare weight||2,360 kg / 5,203.8 lbs|
|Payload capacity||30,140 kg / 66,458.7 lbs|
|Cubic capacity||32.7 m³ / 1,154.3 cu ft|
40ft flat rack dimensions
If your cargo requires more payload capacity than a 20ft flat rack container, you should choose a bigger container, i.e., a 40ft flat rack. Take a look at the dimensions from the table below.
Measurement of 40ft flat rack container
|Internal length||12.13 m / 39.8 ft|
|Internal width||2.40 m / 7.9 ft|
|Internal height||2.14 m / 7 ft|
|Tare weight||5,000 kg / 11,025 lbs|
|Payload capacity||40,000 kg / 88,200 lbs|
|Cubic capacity||62.2 m³ / 2,195.7 cu ft|
40ft HC flat rack dimensions
Apart from 20ft and 40ft, you can also get 40ft high cube flat rack containers in the container market. This is ideal if your cargo requires additional payload capacity as compared to 40ft. Here are the dimensions of a 40ft HC flat rack container.
Measurement of 40ft HC flat rack container
|Internal length||12.13 m / 39.8 ft|
|Internal width||2.40 m / 7.9 ft|
|Internal height||2.29 m / 7.5 ft|
|Tare weight||5,200kg / 11,460 lbs|
|Payload capacity||47,300 kg / 104,280 lbs|
|Cubic capacity||66.7 m³ / 2,354.3 cu ft|
Found the right container size for your cargo? Then, click here and check out their availability and prices in your location.
The biggest advantage of a flat rack container is that you can’t limit its capacity. Since there are no side walls or roofs, you can load these containers with any cargo as long as they meet the payload criteria. However, you may also want to choose between collapsible and non-collapsible flat racks. Read on to find out more.
Types of flat rack containers
There are two kinds of flat rack containers: Collapsible and Non-collapsible. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Collapsible flat rack
As the name suggests, collapsible flat rack containers have detachable or foldable walls. These units are very easy to store and transport since they don’t have any height. When not in use, collapsible flat racks can be easily stored and they take up less space.
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that 4 collapsible flat racks, when stacked, take up the space of a single standard container?
This is especially helpful during repositioning when you don’t want to pay the full price for vessel slots. This helps you save money on transport.
The only disadvantage of collapsible flat rack containers is that the absence of walls makes them structurally weaker than the non-collapsible container.
Non-collapsible flat rack
As the name suggests, non-collapsible flat rack containers have fixed walls at both short ends. This flat rack type has a stronger construction and a higher top load. The only disadvantage of non-collapsible flat rack containers is that it takes a lot of space when not in use.
Getting the right flat rack in the right dimensions is quite difficult if you solely rely on your local network. This is because your local sourcing channel may not have specialized containers like flat racks in your desired location. You certainly don’t want to miss out on the big bucks that Out of Gauge shipment can earn you!
Pro Tip: You can even expand your business and find profitable markets globally for Out of Gauge shipments. Source flat rack containers at a low price from Container xChange and operate in high-demand locations. Learn how you can do this here.
That’s why you should join xChange to expand your network of vetted container suppliers and users globally. Through our platform, you can find multiple offers on different container types and choose the best deals.
Want to give it a try? Click the banner below and check out the prices of flat racks in your location.
Cargo shipped in flat rack container
You must know by now that a flat rack can carry goods that a standard container cannot. From agricultural produce like sugarcane to windmills, flat rack containers can carry them all, especially industrial goods. Let’s have a look at some of the most commonly shipped cargo.
- Breakbulk goods
- Heavy machinery
- Construction equipment
- Pipes and tubes
Whatever cargo you’re planning to ship, it’s important that it’s loaded properly without exerting any pressure on the goods itself. For this reason, it’s better to store your flat racks either at the top of the container stack or on the ground. This prevents accidental damage due to contact with other cargo or containers.
Now, you must be wondering if three sides of the container are open, how does the cargo remain secure?
Flat rack containers come with lashing rings on the side rails, floor, and corners. You can keep the cargo in place by cross or loop lashing with the help of chain or web lashing. Some containers even come with lashing winches, latching belts, and stanchions to provide additional support and security for the cargo.
How to choose the right flat rack container
Now that you know about the design, dimensions, uses, and types of flat rack containers, it’s time to decide which one will fit your needs the best.
There are a few things to take into consideration before investing in one:
- Cargo type
- Concentrated load
- Loading and unloading process
There may be times when the unique shape of your cargo might not evenly distribute over the entire length. With such cargo, you’ve to ensure that you’re not going over the concentrated load limit. The concentrated load should not exceed the floor strength of the container. The load limit is usually set at 2,000kg for 20ft FR and 4,000kg for 40ft FR.
If your cargo is distributed evenly, then its collective weight should be within the payload range of the flat rack container. The payload capacity is usually set at 30,000kg for 20ft FR and 40,000kg for 40ft FR. You should also figure out your loading and unloading process so you can choose between collapsible and non-collapsible container types.
Lastly, the most important factor to consider is the pricing. If you struggle to find the prices of containers, we’ve got the perfect solution for you. Read on to find out more.
How much do flat rack containers cost?
Now that you know all about flat rack containers, the last thing to consider before making the purchase is the price. Take a look at the table below to get an average price of cargo-worthy flat rack containers in your location.
|Location||20ft flat rack||40ft flat rack|
Ready to buy flat rack containers? Read on to find out how you can make the best deals on xChange.
Buy & lease flat rack containers on xChange
Now that you know everything about flat rack containers, including how you can access the prices, it’s time to use our platform to make the best deals.
At Container xChange, we offer you an online global container marketplace. We make it easy for you to find shipping containers in your desired locations and price-points. With more than 1,500 vetted members and 10,000+ containers on the platform, xChange enables you to find the best deals on containers.
If you only use containers for shipping occasionally, it doesn’t make sense to spend so much money on purchasing them. You can simply use our leasing platform to get flat rack containers for one-way use. Interested in leasing flat-rack containers? Just click here to check out affordable leasing deals in your desired locations.
However, if you’re going to use containers regularly and for a long time, it’s better that you buy the container instead. This way, you can use the container at your convenience, lease it out when not in use, and also sell it at a profitable location later. See how James Grunky multiplied his profits doing exactly this via xChange.
Want to buy a flat rack container? Just head over to our trading platform and fill in your location and container type. You’ll then get multiple offers to choose from. You can also negotiate directly with the seller on the platform itself.
And once you’re happy with the prices, you can make your payments through the xChange wallet. Through the wallet, you can keep track of all your payments in one, safe place.
All this at 100% market transparency and 0% commission. Container xChange provides you with an all-in-one platform for all your shipping needs. So why look somewhere else? Just click the banner below to get all your questions answered today.
Flat rack container: Frequently asked questions
What are the dimensions of a flat rack container?
The internal dimensions of a standard 20ft flat container is19.5ft X 7.7ft X 7.7ft. Whereas, the internal dimensions of a 40ft flat rack container is 39.8ft X 7.9ft X 7.
What cargo uses flat rack container?
Flat rack container is used to ship and store oversized cargo and uniquely shaped cargo such as breakbulk cargo, construction equipment, cranes, pipes, windmills, automobiles, steel, glass, and sugarcane among other things.
What is flat rack in shipping?
Flat rack in shipping refers to flat rack container type. It's a container type used to ship oversized, heavy, and uniquely shaped cargo.