* Specifications may vary, so please ensure you confirm container dimensions at the time of booking.
Do you know how high is a 20 foot shipping container? How much cargo can it load? Can you name its main components? You’ll find such information here.
Shipping containers tend to be 20 or 40 feet in length, but we are going to focus on 20-footers as the more commonly-used container type for individuals and families moving abroad. A 20-foot long container is 8 feet 6 inches tall, and 8 feet wide.
This gives you an internal space of 19 feet and 4 inches in length, by 7 feet 8 inches in width and 7 feet and 10 inches in height. The container door is 7 foot 8 inches tall and 7 foot 5 inches wide – worth considering before you start planning to pack that enormous Welsh dresser or grand piano.
As a matter of fact, all these sizes need to be in compliance with the international standard ISO 668:1995. This way, shipping receptacles can be used smoothly worldwide on different modes of transportation including sea, land, and train (we call such combined activities intermodal transport).
The capacity of a 20 foot shipping container is around 37 cubic meters(cbm). That volume is an approximate rather than an exact figure. That’s because the capacity depends on actual inside dimensions, which are slightly vary as I mentioned above.
It should be kept in mind that here we’re talking about container’s inside capacity rather than the cargo volume loadable in a 20ft box. In fact, cargo volume loadable into a container should likely be less due to air space left among cargo packages. That means with a 37 cbm container, you can only stuff less, say 32 cbm of cargo.
Max gross weight of 20’ container is 24 tons including weight of container itself and cargo loaded inside. That limitation is stipulated in ISO 668:1995.
Exceeding the such limit may trigger fines, liability claims, equipment damage, and extra costs such as forced transloading.
Given the above dimensions and restrictions, a family of two adults and two children could reasonably expect to fit the contents of a two bedroom house into a 20 foot container, including a car. See below for an idea of what will fit in your 20-footer, along with cubic volumes.
The full load capacity of a 20-footer is 1170 cubic feet, but normally you’d be able to fill it to a up to 90% capacity, or 1053 cubic feet. These estimates, however, are only valid if you fit in the items perfectly – which rarely happens – so make sure to leave some extra room. A sneak peak on the number of identical products that a 20-foot container can hold:
If you’re shipping a vehicle in your container you need to build a wall or barrier of some sort to keep it separate from your other things – either out of plywood or timber. This process is called embarkation and is an essential measure when shipping a vehicle in a container.
You must also declare your vehicle non-hazardous by draining all fuel from the car or motorbike, then disconnecting the battery and alarm system. Also, don’t forget to remove all vehicle documents from the glove box as you will need them at a later stage.
Wheels need to be blocked from the front, back and from the sides with wooden blocks or wheel chocks, and the wheels then need to be lashed securely within the container. Sometimes your shipping agent will want this to be done professionally and will provide someone to secure the vehicle in your container for you. Your local garage may be able to load your vehicle into the container using a flatbed for a small hire out charge.