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Home > Services > Logistics >Standard Container Types for Ocean Shipping
Standard Container Types for Ocean Shipping
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In this section you can find dimensions and detailed specification for:
Dry Steel Containers
20' Standard Steel Container
40' Standard Steel Container
40' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container

Special dry steel containers
45' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container
48' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container
53' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container

Special Containers
20' Open Top Container
40' Open Top Container
20' Collapsible Flat Rack Container and 40' Collapsible Flat Rack Container
20' Tank Container

Refrigerated containers
20' Muffler Grade Stainless Steel Reefer
40' High Cube Muffler Grade Stainless Steel Reefer


Dry Steel Containers
Dry Steel Containers are the most widespread types of containers in Ocean / Sea transportation. They are used and constructed for transportation of general cargo on sea, rail and land. Below are the specifications and dimensions of standard dry steel containers used by most of the international sea carriers:
 20' Standard Steel Container back to top 
20 feet standard dry steel containers are weather closed containers suitable for transporting most general cargo. They are especially cost effective for heavier but not so voluminous cargo.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 33.200 cubic meters 1,170 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity 27 - 28 cubic meters 988-1024 cubic feet
Tare weight 2,150 kg - 2,220 kg 4,740 lb - 4,894 lbs
Allowed max. weight 18 tons 39,684 lbs
Internal Length 5.898 m 19'4'
Internal Width 2.352 m 7'9'
Internal Height 2.392 m 7'10'
External Length 6.058 m 19'10 1/2'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.591 m 8'6'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.280 m 7'6'
  40' Standard Steel Container back to top 
40 feet standard steel containers are weather closed containers suitable for transporting most general cargo.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 67.700 cubic meters 2,391 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity 50 - 55 cubic meters 1,765 - 1,942 cubic meters
Tare weight 3,720 kg - 3,740 kg 3,720 kg - 3,740 kg
Allowed max. weight 25 tons 55,115 lbs
Internal Length 12.032 m 39'6'
Internal Width 2.352 m 7'9'
Internal Height 2.392 m 7'10'
External Length 12.192 m 40'0'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.591 m 8'6'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.280 m 7'6'
  40' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container back to top 
40 feet high cube (HC/HQ) steel containers are weather closed containers suitable for transporting most general cargo.They are enspecially cost effective for more voluminous and light weighted cargo like for instance furniture.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 76.400 cubic meters 2,700 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity    
Tare weight 3,730 kg - 3,950 kg 8,223 lb - 8,708 lb
Allowed max. weight    
Internal Length 12.033 m 39'6'
Internal Width 2.352 m 7'9'
Internal Height 2.698 m 8'10'
External Length 12.192 m 40'0'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.896 m 9'6'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.585 m 8'6'

Special dry steel containers
Besides the containers named above, there are dry steel containers that can store even more volume. Please note that these are special containers and are available for shipping to only some regions of the world.
  45' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container back to top 
45 feet high cube containers are suitable for more light weighted and voluminous cargo. The 45' high cube steel dry containers are available on routes to USA and Europe only through certain carriers. Bookings need to be made at least 1 week in advance.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 86.500 cubic meters 3,055 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity    
Tare weight 4,740 kg 10,450 lb
Allowed max. weight    
Internal Length 13.556 m 44'6'
Internal Width 2.352 m 7'9'
Internal Height 2.701 m 8'10''
External Length 13.716 m 45'0'
External Width 2.896 m 9'6'
External Height 2.896 m 9'6'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.588 m 8'6'
  48' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container back to top 
48 feet high cube containers are suitable for more light weighted and voluminous cargo. The 48' high cube steel dry containers are available on routes to USA and Europe only through certain carriers. Bookings need to be made at least 1 week in advance.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 98.800 cubic meters 3,489 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity    
Tare weight 5,140 kg 10,865 lb
Allowed max. weight    
Internal Length 14.470 m 47'6'
Internal Width 2.505 m 8'3'
Internal Height 2.726 m 8'11'
External Length 14.630 m 48'0'
External Width 2.591 m 8'6''
External Height 2.908 m 9'6 1/2'
Door Opening Width 2.493 m 8'2'
Door Opening Height 2.691 m 8'10'
 53' (HQ) High Cube Steel Container back to top 
53 feet high cube containers are have the largest volume and loading capacity. This type of container is available only for sending cargo from Guangdong Province, China to the U.S. Reservations need to be made at least one week in advance.
Description Metric U.S.
Empty container volume 108.600 cubic meters 3,835 cubic feet
Maximum load capacity    
Tare weight    
Allowed max. weight    
Internal Length 15.994 m 52' - 5 11/16'
Internal Width 2.505 m 8'3'
Internal Height 2.71 m 8' - 10 11/16'
External Length 16.154 m 53' - 0'
External Width 2.591 m 8'6''
External Height 2.908 m 9'6 1/2'
Door Opening Width 2.493 m 8'2'
Door Opening Height 2.597 m 8' - 6 1/4'

Special Containers
Below you can find specifications and dimensions for more special containers for transport of more special cargo for different uses.
  20' Open Top Container back to top 

Open top containers are especially suitable for transporting overheight cargo, i.e. cargo taller than 2.54m (8'5'). They are available in two sizes: 20' and 40'. Cargo can be loaded by crane from the top-side. Overheight cargo can also be loaded from the door-side since the door header can be swung open.

Numerous lashing rings are available on the four corner posts, top-side rails and bottom-side rails for securing the cargo. If the cargo needs to be protected from rain, tarpaulin sheets can be provided to cover the top of the container.

Description Metric U.S.
Cubic Capacity 32.200 cubic meters 1,130 cubic feet
Payload (Weight) 28,230 kg 62,240 lb
Tare Weight 2,250 kg 4,960 lb
Max Gross Weight 30,480 kg 67,200 lb
Internal Length 5.900 m 19'4'
Internal Width 2.350 m 7'8'
Internal Height 2.310 m 7'7'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.260 m 7'5'
Roof Opening Length 5.500 m 18'1'
Roof Opening Width 2.220 m 7'3'
  40' Open Top Container back to top 
Description Metric U.S.
Cubic Capacity 65.5 cubic meters 2,306 cubic feet
Payload (Weight) 26,580 kg 58,602 lb
Tare Weight 3,900 kg 8,598 lb
Max Gross Weight 30,480 kg 67,200 lb
Internal Length 12.040 m 39'6'
Internal Width 2.350 m 7'8'
Internal Height 2.310 m 7'7'
Door Opening Width 2.340 m 7'8'
Door Opening Height 2.260 m 7'5'
Roof Opening Length 11.600 m 38'1'
Roof Opening Width 2.140 m 7'0'
 20' Collapsible Flat Rack Container and 40' Collapsible Flat Rack Container back to top 

Although flat rack containers are primarily meant for overwidth (width greater than 2.35m or 7’8”) and heavyweight cargo, both overwidth and overheight cargo can be loaded on flat rack containers due to its open construction. The specially reinforced bottom construction can sustain the high pressure of heavyweight cargo. Numerous high load capacity lashing rings are installed on the corner posts, top-side rails and bottom-side rails for lashing and bracing of the cargo. Commodities commonly shipped in the flat rack container include machinery, industrial boilers, tractors, parts packed in cases, steel tubes, steel pipes, steel bars and cables.

Description Metric U.S.
Payload (Weight) 31,260 - 40,050 kg 68,920- 88,300 lb
Tare Weight 2,600 - 2,820 kg 5,732- 6,217 lb
Max Gross Weight 30,000 - 45,000 kg 66,140- 99,210 lb
Internal Length 12.054 m 39'7'
Internal Width 2.230 m 7'4'
Internal Height 1.955 m 6'5'
External Length 12.192 m 40'0'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.591 m 8'6'
 20' Tank Container back to top 

Most carriers have 24,000-litre ISO tank container fleets. Tank containers are separated for two transportation purposes: tank containers for liquid chemical products and tank containers exclusively for liquid foodstuff. Commodities commonly shipped in the tank container include harmful and/or hazardous chemicals and liquid foodstuff.

Description Metric U.S.
Cubic Capacity 24,000 liter 6,340 gallon
Tare Weight 3,650 kg 8,047 lb
Max Gross Weight 34,000 kg 74,957 lb
Working Pressure 4 bar 58.0 psi
Test Pressure 6 bar 87.0 psi
Vacuum Pressure 0.42 bar 6.1 psi
Barrel/Head Thickness 4.6/4.5 mm 0.181'/0.177'
External Length 6.058 m 19'11'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.591 m 8'6'

Refrigerated containers
Also known as reefer containers, they are used to transport cargo that requires protection from heat or cold, temperature control or ventilation.
 20' Muffler Grade Stainless Steel Reefer back to top 

This type of container is used for transporting less voluminous cargo that needs temperature control / heat / cold protection.

Description Metric U.S.
Cubic Capacity 28.300 cubic meters 999 cubic feet
Payload (Weight) 27,450 kg 60,517 lb
Tare Weight 3,030 kg 6,680 lb
Max Gross Weight 30,480 kg 67,197 lb
Internal Length 5.446 m 17'10'
Internal Width 2.294 m 7'6'
Internal Height 2.263 m 7'5'
External Length 6.058 m 19'11'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.591 m 8'6'
Door Opening Width 2.290 m 7'6'
Door Opening Height 2.260 m 7'5'
Cooling Unit 8,820 kcal/h at 35F  
Controlled Atmosphere Yes  
Modified Atmosphere Yes  
Dehumidification Yes  
 40' High Cube Muffler Grade Stainless Steel Reefer back to top 

This type of container is used for transporting more voluminous cargo that needs temperature control / heat / cold protection.

Description Metric U.S.
Cubic Capacity 67.700 cubic meters 2,391 cubic feet
Payload (Weight) 29,190 kg 64,353 lb
Tare Weight 4,810 kg 10,604 lb
Max Gross Weight 34,000 kg 74,957 lb
Internal Length 11.583 m 38'0'
Internal Width 2.294 m 7'6'
Internal Height 2.548 m 8'4'
External Length 12,192 m 40'0'
External Width 2.438 m 8'0'
External Height 2.896 m 9'6'
Door Opening Width 2.290 m 7'6'
Door Opening Height 2.572 m 8'5'
Cooling Unit 8,820 kcal/h at 35F  
Controlled Atmosphere Yes  
Modified Atmosphere Yes  
Dehumidification Yes  

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