Freight Containers

An intermodal container (also known as freight container, ISO container, shipping container) is a standardized reusable steel box used to store and move materials and products efficiently and securely in the global containerized intermodal freight transport system. Intermodal indicates that the container can be used across various modes of transport (from ship to rail to truck) without unloading and reloading its contents. Lengths of containers vary from 8 to 56 feet and heights from 8 to 9.5 feet.

The standard ones are typically 20, 40 and 45 feet in length and height of 8.5 feet or 9.5 feet (called high-cube).

Apart from the containers shown below there are other containers like:

  • Garmentainers (GOH) for shipping garments on hangers
  • High-cube palletwide containers, for Euro-pallet compatibility

For more detailed information on which containers are used for what goods look at this CMA CGM Group container brochure

Please note that each shipping line has its own container dimensions and the table below is a general guideline shown only for academic purposes. The dimensions will not greatly vary from what is shown here but for specific requirements relating to a shipping line, please check the actual dimensions with that shipping line.

General-purpose container for boxes, cartons, cases, sacks, bales, pallets and drums

 

Open-top containers for bulk minerals and heavy machinery

 

Flat-rack containers for heavy and bulky semi-finished goods and out-of-gauge cargo

 

Refrigerated containers for perishable goods

 

Tank containers for bulk liquids and dangerous goods
20′ container 40′ container 40′ high-cube container 45′ high-cube container
imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric imperial metric
external dimensions length 20′ 0″ 6.058 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 40′ 0″ 12.192 m 45′ 0″ 13.716 m
width 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m 8′ 0″ 2.438 m
height 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 8′ 6″ 2.591 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m 9′ 6″ 2.896 m
interior dimensions length 18′ 8 13⁄16″ 5.710 m 39′ 5 45⁄64″ 12.032 m 39′ 4″ 12.000 m 44′ 4″ 13.556 m
width 7′ 8 19⁄32″ 2.352 m 7′ 8 19⁄32″ 2.352 m 7′ 7″ 2.311 m 7′ 8 19⁄32″ 2.352 m
height 7′ 9 57⁄64″ 2.385 m 7′ 9 57⁄64″ 2.385 m 8′ 9″ 2.650 m 8′ 9 15⁄16″ 2.698 m
door aperture width 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m 7′ 6″ 2.280 m 7′ 8 ⅛″ 2.343 m
height 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 7′ 5 ¾″ 2.280 m 8′ 5″ 2.560 m 8′ 5 49⁄64″ 2.585 m
internal volume 1,169 ft³ 33.1 m³ 2,385 ft³ 67.5 m³ 2,660 ft³ 75.3 m³ 3,040 ft³ 86.1 m³
maximum gross weight 66,139 lb 30,400 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg 68,008 lb 30,848 kg 66,139 lb 30,400 kg
empty weight 4,850 lb 2,200 kg 8,380 lb 3,800 kg 8,598 lb 3,900 kg 10,580 lb 4,800 kg
net load 61,289 lb 28,200 kg 57,759 lb 26,600 kg 58,598 lb 26,580 kg 55,559 lb 25,600 kg