Shipping container dimensions have been standardized, so they do not vary from one market to…
Understanding Shipping Container Dimensions
Shipping is one of the oldest methods used to transport goods from one location to another. For centuries, port cities have been some of the most vibrant cities in the world. This is because they are centers of trade and because they are gateways to other cities, countries and markets. The shipping industry, however, has grown in leaps and bounds throughout the last century and a half. New forms of power such as steam, coal, electricity and petroleum have made the ships themselves more efficient than ever. Trains, trucks and airplanes have made it far easier to disperse goods once they have arrived at a port. Shipping containers have changed with the industry, adapting to new demands. Shipping container dimensions have been forced to adapt as well.
The dimensions of a shipping container depend on a number of factors. It must be built to fit its contents and it must be built to fit its mode of transportation. While the term “shipping container” once implied transportation by boat, it has come to refer to any container being transported over a long distance. The smallest shipping containers are simple padded envelopes, not much bigger than a sheet of paper. These are used by individuals who want to send small packages through the mail. In general, shipping containers bought for personal use tend to be on the small side. Envelopes and boxes can be shipped cross country and delivered to private addresses in a matter of days.
Shipping container dimensions become more standardized when used for larger, professional shipments. The economies of the world have become increasingly intertwined and the transportation industry is, in many ways, the backbone of the global economy. It takes a complex network of ships, trucks and airplanes to send merchandise around the world. Most industrial shipping containers must stack easily inside a ship and must also fit on a train car or a truck bed. In order to ensure that the containers can easily move from one mode of transportation to another, the containers come in a number of standardized sizes and styles.
Standard shipping containers come in either a twenty foot or a forty foot length. The inside length of the twenty foot model is 19’4″, the inside width is 7’8″ and the inside height is 7’10” for a total capacity of 1172 cubic feet and a maximum cargo weight of 47,900 lbs. The inside width of the forty foot model is 39’5″, the inside width is 7’8″ and the inside height is 7’10” for a total capacity of 2390 cubic feet and a maximum cargo weight of 59,040 lbs.
Opentop shipping containers also come in twenty and forty foot lengths, but their tops can be easily removed and their dimensions are slightly different. The twenty food model has an inside length of 19’4″, an inside width of of 7’7″ and an inside height of 7’8″ for a total capacity of 1136 cubic feet and a maximum cargo weight of 47,620 lbs. The forty food model has an inside length of 39’5″, an inside width of 7’8″ and an inside height of 7’8″, for a total capacity of 2350 cubic feet and a maximum cargo weight of 58,710 lbs. No matter what is being shipped, it should fit within the confines of these shipping container dimensions.