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Guide to the Differences Between 20ft, 40ft and 40ft HC Containers

Sea freight containers are available in standard sizes, mainly 20-foot, 40-foot and 40-foot high containers. Having a good understanding of these container sizes can ensure you make an informed decision.

Therefore, today’s guide will delve into the detailed dimensions, respective types, weights and capacities of 20ft, 40ft and 40ft HC containers.

What are the dimensions (length, width and height) of the shipping container

20ft container size and capacity

Below are the details of 20ft General Purpose Containers, Open Top Containers, Flat Rack Containers and Refrigerated Containers

20FT general container

It is the most commonly used type for transporting dry cargo, including machinery and equipment, textiles, medical equipment, electronics and other non-perishable items.

The following are the standard dimensions of 20-foot GP containers for your reference:

External dimensions:
Length: 20 feet (6.06m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 8 feet 6 inches (2.59m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 19 feet 4 inches (5.60m)
Width: 7 feet 9 inches (2.35m)
Height: 7 feet 10 inches (2.39m)

Tare weight:
Approximately 4,850 lbs (2,200 kg)

Maximum payload 20-foot container:
Approximately between 48,000 and 52,000 pounds (21,770 and 24,000 kilograms)

Cubic capacity:
Approximately 1,172 cubic feet (33CBM)

You should know that tare weight is the weight of the container, excluding any cargo or contents.
Payload represents the weight of cargo or contents that a container can hold.
Cubic capacity refers to the total volume of space available within a 20-foot container.
According to specifications, a 20-foot dry cargo container can carry cargo weighing up to 24,000 kilograms and has a maximum volume of 33 cubic meters.

You may want to know the price of a 20ft container shipped from China to your country. Here are a few posts about 20ft containers shipped from China to different countries. If it is helpful to you, you can click on the corresponding post to read.

Cost Of Shipping 20ft & 40ft Container From China To Germany

20FT And 40FT Container Shipping Cost From China To Canada

20FT Container Shipping Cost From China To Australia

20 FT & 40 FT Container Shipping Cost From China To USA

How Much Does It Cost To Ship From China To Singapore

Shipping containers from China

20ft open top container

These containers do not have a top and cargo can be easily loaded and unloaded from the top using a crane or other equipment. A removable tarp or soft top covers the opening, providing protection from the weather.

External dimensions:
Length: 20 feet (6.06m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 8.6 feet (2.59m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 19.4 feet (5.89m)
Width: 7.7 feet (2.34m)
Height: Variable, but usually about 7.7 feet (2.34 m)

Tare weight:
Approximately 4,900 lbs (2,250 kg)

Maximum payload:
Approximately 62,300 lbs (28,230 kg)

Cubic capacity:
Approximately 1,155 cubic feet/(32.7CBM)

20ft flat rack container

It is a shipping container without side walls and roof, with removable or fixed end walls. This design allows for easy loading and unloading of oversized cargo that would not fit in a standard container due to size or shape.

External dimensions:
Length: 20 feet (6.06m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 7.9 feet (2.4m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 18.6 feet (5.69m)
Width: 7.7 ft (2.34 m)
Height: Approximately 7.7 feet (2.34m)

Tare weight:
Approximately 5,070 lbs (2,300 kg)

Maximum payload:
Approximately 67,200 lbs (30,480 kg)

Cubic capacity:
1,154 cubic feet (32.7CBM)

20ft refrigerated container

It is used to transport perishable goods that require a temperature-controlled environment, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, pharmaceuticals, etc.

External dimensions:
Length: 20 feet (6.06m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 8.6 feet (2.59m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 17.4 feet (5.28m)
Width: 7.7 feet (2.29m)
Height: 7.5 feet (2.26m)

Tare weight:
6,790 lbs (3,080 kg)

Maximum payload:
Approximately 62,350 lbs (28,280 kg)

Cubic capacity:
1,000 cubic feet (28.3CBM)

40ft container size and capacity

40-foot containers are also available in special models such as refrigerated containers and open-top containers. Read on to learn about the dimensions of a 40-foot container.

Shipping containers from China

40ft general container

External dimensions:
Length: 40 feet (12.19m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 8 feet 6 inches (2.59m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 39 feet 5.5 inches (12.03m)
Width: 7ft 8in (2.35m)
Height: 7 feet 9.5 inches (2.38m)

Tare weight:
Approximately 8,200 lbs (3,720 kg)

Maximum payload of 40-foot container:
58,920 lbs (26,760 kg)

Cubic capacity:
2,389 cubic feet (67.7CBM)

Ditto, you might be wondering about the price of a 40-foot container shipped from China to your country. Here are some posts about 40-foot containers shipped from China to different countries. If you are interested, you can click on the corresponding post to read.

20ft & 40ft Container Cost From China To UAE

Cost Of Shipping 20ft & 40ft Container From China To Kenya

Cost Of 20ft And 40ft Container Shipping From China To Kuwait

Cost Of Shipping Container From China To Nigeria

Shipping Cost from China to Saudi Arabia

40ft open top container

External dimensions:
Length: 40 feet (12.19m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 8 feet 6 inches (2.59m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 39 feet 5.5 inches (12.03m)
Width: 7 feet 8 inches (2.34m)
Height: 7 feet 8 inches (2.34m)

Tare weight:
Approximately 8,400 lbs (3,810 kg)

Maximum payload:
Approximately 58,800 lbs (26,670 kg)

Cubic capacity:
2,360 cubic feet (66.7CBM)

40ft flat rack container

External dimensions:
Length: 40 feet (12.19m)
Width: 8 feet (2.44m)
Height: 7 feet (2.14m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 39 feet (11.89 m)
Width: 7.7 ft (2.34 m)
Height: 7 feet (2.14m)

Tare weight:
11,025 lbs (5,000 kg)

Maximum payload:
Approximately 88,200 lbs (40,000 kg)

Cubic capacity:
Approximately 2,195.7 cubic feet (62.2 cubic meters)

40ft refrigerated container

External dimensions:
Length: 40 feet (12.19 m)
Width: 8 ft (2.44 m)
Height: 8.6 ft (2.59 m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 37.7 ft (11.49 m)
Width: 7.7 ft (2.33 m)
Height: 7.6 ft (2.29 m)

Tare weight:
9,744 lbs (4,420 kg)

Maximum payload:
65,212 lbs (29,580 kg)

Cubic capacity:
Approximately 2,388 cubic feet (67.6 cubic meters)

40HC container size and capacity

Tall cube containers measure one foot (12 inches or 30 cm) more than the height of a standard dry container. Below are the detailed specifications of the 40-foot high cubic container:

External dimensions:
Length: 40 feet (12.19 m)
Width: 8 ft (2.44 m)
Height: 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m)

Internal dimensions:
Length: 39 feet 5 inches (12.03m)
Width: 7ft 8in (2.35m)
Height: 8 feet 10 inches (2.70m)

Tare weight:
8,598 lbs (2,900 kg)

Maximum payload:
65,212 lbs (29,580 kg)

Cubic capacity:
2,694 cubic feet (76.2CBM)

What are high cube containers used for?

Generally speaking, the main purpose of HC containers is to accommodate larger or taller cargo, thereby providing greater capacity. Items such as industrial equipment, oversized crates, or certain types of furniture can benefit from this container type.

To give a more intuitive idea of how much cargo a 40HC container can hold, here are some examples:

If you use Europallet dimensions (48 in x 30 in / 1.2 m x 0.8 m), you can store approximately 23-25 pallets in a 40 ft. high cubic container.

With US pallets (48″ x 40″/1.2 m x 1 m) you can accommodate approximately 20-21 piles, provided they do not extend beyond the sides of the container.

How many pallets can a container hold?

As mentioned above, standard European pallets typically measure 1200mm x 800mm, while US pallets measure 1200mm x 1000mm.

When Europallets are arranged in a single layer, without any wasted space between pallets or on the walls of the container, a 20-foot container can carry approximately 11 Europallets. In comparison, a 40-foot container can hold 23 to 24 pallets.

For USA standard pallets, a 20-foot container can hold 10 to 11 pallets on one floor. A 40-foot container can hold 20 to 21 pallets on its base.

It should be noted that actual transportation scenarios may vary depending on stacking efficiency, cargo shape and loading equipment. You can send your shipment details to our experts and they can provide you with the most suitable customized solution. And maximize container volume utilization according to your requirements.

How to make containers carry more cargo

Cargo planning and preparation
Evaluate and classify cargo based on size, weight and fragility.
Pack smaller items into larger containers to reduce unused space.

Optimize space with stacking and racking systems
Stack goods efficiently, taking into account weight distribution and stability to prevent shifting during transportation.
Utilize pallets, racks or racking systems designed for efficient container loading.
Use stacking techniques to utilize vertical space without compromising the integrity of your cargo.

Implement integration and spin-off strategies
Improve container utilization by grouping and splitting cargo based on destination, demand and accessibility.
Consolidation involves combining multiple shipments from different sources into a single container. It minimizes the number of containers required and increases loading capacity.
Unpacking involves dividing a container into multiple shipments destined for specific destinations. The aim is to reduce shipping time and delivery costs.

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