40ft shipping containers are among the largest standard-sized containers available for storing and transporting goods across the globe. These containers' storage volume and versatility make them a staple of international trade. The dimensions of these shipping containers are measured uniformly in international trade using the imperial system (in feet and inches).
40ft shipping containers can be further classified into various sub-types — 40ft standard containers, 40ft high cube containers, 40ft flat rack containers with sides, 40ft flat rack containers without sides, 40ft open top containers, and 40ft reefer containers. Each sub-type is used for specific purposes, such as:
40ft standard containers: These are known as general purpose containers that are closed on all sides with a door on one or both ends. Generally, dry goods are transported in these containers.
40ft high cube containers: These containers are characterized by their height, which is one foot taller than their corresponding standard containers.
40ft flat rack containers: This type of container only has walls or support posts on its two ends. Some 40ft containers may have side walls for additional closure.
40ft open-top containers: As their name implies, these containers have open ceilings or ceilings concealed by a plastic cover.
40ft reefer containers: These are refrigerated containers that are used to transport temperature sensitive goods.
40ft Stora Enso Cargo Unit (SECU) containers: These are customized containers built to ship bulk cargo like paper through the rail or sea routes. Their dimensions in terms of height varies on the type of operations for which they are used.
40 ft car carrier containers: These containers are specially designed to carry cars internationally via rail or road transportation and, in some cases, via ocean freight too.
40ft pallet wide containers: These containers are specifically designed for a large number of Euro pallets’ accommodation. They are marginally wider than standard ISO containers both internally and externally.
What Are the Overall Dimensions of 40ft Shipping Containers?
In the imperial metric, the overall dimensions and weight of the standard 40ft shipping containers are:
Exterior DimensionsIn feet: 40’ long x 8’ wide x 8’ 6” highIn meters: 12.19m long x 2.44m wide x 2.59m high
Interior DimensionsIn feet: 39’ 6” long x 7’ 9” wide x 7’ 10” highIn meters: 12.025m long x 2.352m wide x 2.393m high
Usable Capacity67.70 cubic meters or 2390.80 cubic feet.
Door OpeningIn feet: 7.5In meters: 2.28
What is the average cost of 40ft shipping containers?
The cost of 40ft shipping containers may vary from one manufacturer to another and also differ from country to country. However, the range of pricing can fall within a certain homogeneous bracket. On average, a new standard 40ft container can cost up to USD 4,208. Additionally, a new 40ft high cube container can cost an average of USD 5,318.
How much can a 40ft container hold?
While there may be deviations in specific metrics, 40ft shipping containers (the dry containers) generally have a payload capacity of 61,200 lbs. To put that into context, a single 40ft shipping container can hold about 24 Volkswagen Polo hatchbacks.
How many pallets can you fit in a 40ft container?
Pallet sizes are different in the US and Europe. The dimensions of a European pallet are about 1.2m X 0.8m. The base of a 40-foot shipping container can hold up to 25 Euro pallet stacks (as long as the load is not hanging over the sides). The dimensions of a standard American pallet are normally 1.016m X 1.219m. The base of a standard 40-foot shipping container can hold up to 21 American pallets.
To maximize the number of pallets that can be accommodated in a 40ft shipping container, the pallets can be placed in a way that some of them lie along the length of the container while the others are along its width.
How to Load a 40ft Shipping Container?The process of loading any container, even a 40ft one, begins by preparing the cargo for loading beforehand. This includes measures such as using new boxes for packing, using bubble wrap to add a protective layer inside the boxes, and wrapping sensitive items with multiple reels of stretch wrap to protect them from dust and damage in the container. Once the goods to be shipped are ready, they can be loaded onto a 40ft shipping container. The following steps are a part of the loading process:
The first step involves checking the condition and cleanliness of the container. Additionally, the locks and serial numbers within the containers can be noted for reference.
- While loading the goods, the goal is to distribute the cargo, furniture, and other boxes proportionately throughout the shipping container. This reduces the chances of the goods moving too much or falling under container movement.
- While loading, the pallets with the largest goods must be placed in the container first. They will be on the bottom level.
- Goods that can be loaded along the corners and walls, especially furniture, need further wrapping, so they do not undergo scratches.
- Nylon rope can be used to tie some of the goods to rings on the floor or the sides of the container.
- All similar items need to be packed together. For example, books, furniture, or glassware must be placed with other books, furniture, and glassware.
- While loading vehicles, equipment, or electronics, the battery system, fuel, and alarm systems must be disassembled and kept in an isolated space. As per the specification in many countries, the number plate of vehicles must face the door.
- Besides these, the loading of goods must be done according to the regulations of the respective shipping authority or other appropriate bodies.
There are several reasons why traders will opt for 40-Foot shipping containers over other alternatives, such as:
- Generally, 40ft shipping containers (especially the dry ones) are built from welded steel. The floor of these containers is usually made from load-bearing marine-grade plywood. These sturdy materials give these containers greater durability and imperviousness to external elements than most other containers.
- 40ft shipping containers can quickly carry heavy and lighter goods as they possess high payload capacity and smooth mobility.
- Like other types of containers, several 40ft shipping containers can be converted into open-top containers to provide more flexibility.
- The high volume of 40ft shipping containers enables governments and NGOs to load and transport large quantities of food supplies, vaccines, and other amenities globally to the needy.
What Are the Uses of 40ft Sh ipping Containers?
The sheer storage space and solidity of a 40ft shipping container allow businesses to use it in many other ways apart from its regular utilities. Some functional and creative uses of these containers are:
Transportation of Cargo
This is the primary use of 40ft shipping containers. These containers are reliable load-movers with a robust, durable, water-tight build to protect goods from various external elements. Its walls are strong and can reliably resist theft and physical damage to the goods stored within the containers. The biggest advantage of 40ft shipping containers is their storage volume, making them an ideal tool for displacing large quantities of goods and large items such as construction and mining equipment (without the office dismantling them) across oceans or through the roadways of a country.
Storage of Goods, Equipment, and Inventory
When 40ft shipping containers are not in motion, they can act as efficient storerooms for keeping goods, inventory, and large equipment. 40ft shipping containers, with their strong metal bodies, are weather resistant to keep cargo safe from sunlight, water, and wind. Large equipment, such as cranes, have greater protection within these containers instead of being out in the open.
Additionally, companies could store their raw materials and finished goods in these containers if their warehouse space runs out.
Some of the alternative uses of 40ft shipping containers are listed below.
Moving of Home and Office
Organizations generally enlist the help of several service providers when they move their office or headquarters from one location to another. Instead of hiring several truckers, such companies can simply rent a 40ft shipping container for the purpose. This container's sheer size, volume, and easy movability allow businesses to move everything at once and do so in the shortest time possible.
Creation of Ablution Units
People in several parts of the world still do not have access to toilets and proper, hygienic sanitation facilities. To address this, 40ft shipping containers can be converted into ablution units with proper amenities for comfort and hygiene for people in such regions.Creation of Portable Offices and HomesWith property prices constantly increasing in most countries, the cost of purchasing land to build an office or home is already beyond the reach of most people in the world. Due to the space and safety they offer, 40ft shipping containers can be fashioned into portable offices and homes to address the problem of expensive real estate. This particular utility of 40ft shipping containers has a downside, too — the difficulty of finding enough space to park a massive home or office for long periods. Despite that downside, portable offices and homes enable businesses and families to save large amounts of money, such as maintenance costs and other property expenses.