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    Shipping container sizes


    Shipping container sizes

    Here at Gap Containers, we’re committed to providing the best possible service for our customers, which includes helping you to identify the ideal size shipping container for your needs. To help with this, we’ve created a detailed conversion chart you can refer to for our standard shipping container dimensions.

    These include both 20ft container dimensions and 40ft container dimensions – which tend to be the most popular – as well as dimensions for 10ft and 30ft intermodal containers.

    We have given the external and internal measurements in both imperial and metric units and included both standard containers and high cube containers, which should allow you to make the correct decision whether you are looking to purchase or hire shipping containers of any size.

    Please note, the container dimensions provided are as accurate as possible – but they are just an approximate indication. The exact shipping container dimensions can vary depending on the manufacturer, therefore, it’s important to use these measurements as a guide only.

    If you’d like further guidance on which container size is best for you, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. You can either give us a call on 0870 240 9405 or send an email to We’re always happy to help and will be able to point you in the right direction.


    Why are shipping container dimensions different internally and externally?

    While it can seem complicated at first, shipping container dimensions externally and internally are often different, with the volume of space inside being less than the external measurements would suggest.

    This is because the sides of shipping containers are almost always made from corrugated steel, which has a depth of around 1 inch (25mm) therefore reducing the internal width and length dimensions of the structure.

    Similarly, the door aperture and floor of the container also impact its interior measurements, thanks to the structure of the doorway, which can make loading and unloading more complex if you need to load very tall or wide goods.

    Although these shipping container dimensions don’t necessarily make a huge difference, it’s still worth taking this into account when selecting the ideal container dimensions for your transportation or storage needs.


    Standard external container dimensions


    Shipping container dimensions

    Do shipping containers need to be the same across the world?

    Shipping container dimensions are standardised for shipping and transport purposes, which allows logistics companies to be sure that their fleet of ships, cranes, and trucks can accommodate and transport them without issue.

    Shipping containers, of course, can be of different lengths and heights, especially if made to client-specific measurements. However, to conform with ISO regulations, they must be 8ft (2.44m) wide – allowing them to be stacked together safely onboard cargo vessels, cranes, and other modes of transport.

    This also allows companies to transport full loads as often as they can, which maximises their profits and makes each journey more economical.

    Standard external shipping container dimensions

    The standard shipping container dimensions for the external length, width, and height of the four most popular container sizes includes:


    Imperial measurements

    Container Length 10ft 20ft 30ft 40ft
    Container Width 8ft 8ft 8ft 8ft
    Container Height:
    » Standard 8ft 6ins 8ft 6ins 8ft 6ins 8ft 6ins
    » High cube 9ft 6ins 9ft 6ins 9ft 6ins 9ft 6ins

    Metric measurements

    Container Length 3.05m 6.06m 9.12m 12.19m
    Container Width 2.44m 2.44m 2.44m 2.44m
    Container Height:
    » Standard 2.59m 2.59m 2.59m 2.59m
    » High cube 2.89m 2.89m 2.89m 2.89m

    Standard internal container dimensions

    Here we list the internal container dimensions for the length, width, height, end door aperture width and height, floor area, cubic capacity, and weight of the four most popular container sizes – including 10ft, 20ft, 30ft, and 40ft shipping containers.

    Imperial measurements

    Internal Length 9ft 2ins 19ft 3ins 29ft 4ins 39ft 4ins
    Internal Width 7ft 7ins 7ft 7ins 7ft 7ins 7ft 7ins
    Internal Height:
    » Standard 7ft 9ins 7ft 9ins 7ft 9ins 7ft 9ins
    » High cube 8ft 9ins 8ft 9ins 8ft 9ins 8ft 9ins
    End Door Aperture Width as req. 7ft 6ins 7ft 6ins 7ft 6ins
    End Door Aperture Height:
    » Standard as req. 7ft 5ins 7ft 5ins 7ft 5ins
    » High cube as req. 8ft 5ins 8ft 5ins 8ft 5ins
    Floor area 72sq ft 150sq ft 227sq ft 305sq ft
    Cubic capacity:
    » Standard 560cu ft 1160cu ft 1760cu ft 2360cu ft
    » High cube 630cu ft 1310cu ft 1985cu ft 2660cu ft
    Weight 1.5 tons 2.4 tons 3.2 tons 4 tons

    Metric measurements

    Internal Length 2.80m 5.87m 8.93m 12.00m
    Internal Width 2.33m 2.33m 2.33m 2.33m
    Internal Height:
    » Standard 2.35m 2.35m 2.35m 2.35m
    » High cube 2.65m 2.65m 2.65m 2.65m
    End Door Aperture Width: as req. 2.28m 2.28m 2.28m
    End Door Aperture Height:
    » Standard as req. 2.26m 2.26m 2.26m
    » High cube as req. 2.56m 2.56m 2.56m
    Floor area 6.69m2 13.93m2 21.09m2 28.33m2
    Cubic capacity:
    » Standard 15.89m3 32.85m3 49.84m3 66.83m3
    » High cube 17.84m3 37.09m3 56.21m3 75.32m3
    Weight 1.52 tonnes 2.44 tonnes 3.25 tonnes 4.06 tonnes

    Need bespoke shipping container dimensions?

    Shipping container sizes available at Gap Containers

    The shipping container sizes outlined above are those we have in stock as standard, the most popular of which are the 20ft and 40ft shipping containers.

    However, as a leading supplier, we appreciate that these standard container dimensions are not always suitable for everyone – so we also provide a bespoke shipping container service that offers custom container dimensions.

    As part of this process, we can manufacture a shipping container to meet your exact size requirements, from 6ft to 40ft, and everything in between.

    So, whether you’re looking for smaller shipping container dimensions for personal storage purposes or larger shipping containers for particularly bulky items, we can help.

    Once you have placed your shipping container order, our in-house experts will build the perfect container size for your needs, bespoke to order, for a highly competitive price – and can even deliver it to you for a small fee.

    To get started, why not call us on 0870 240 9405 to discuss your shipping container dimension requirements with a member of the team?

    What size shipping container do I need for international shipping?

    While most international shipping companies can move containers of almost any size, the ISO standards are 20ft and 40ft containers.

    The container dimensions of 20ft and 40ft models differ in length but not width as they must all be 8ft in width to comply with ISO regulations.

    This allows them to be stacked and transported safely and efficiently, ensuring your cargo reaches its end location in the best condition possible.

    If you require any specific information relating to international shipping requirements, reach out to our friendly and experienced office staff today by calling 0870 240 9405 or fill in our enquiry form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    How big is a standard shipping container?

    Here at Gap Containers, we understand that visualising measurements and shipping container dimensions can be tricky. To help you out, here are a few things similarly sized to our most popular 20ft and 40ft intermodal containers.

    20ft shipping containers

    Most 20ft shipping containers will hold the following lengthways:

    • A maximum of 2 cars end to end
    • Just over 2 red telephone boxes, laid end to end
    • Over 6 standard, one-seat shopping trolleys
    • 10 standard pallets or 11 Euro pallets
    • Just over 2 garden sheds

    40ft shipping containers

    Most 40ft shipping containers will hold the following lengthways:

    • Around 4 standard-sized cars
    • Just over 12 standard, one-seat shopping trolleys
    • 20 standard pallets or 24 Euro pallets
    • Just over 4 red telephone boxes laid end to end
    • Up to 4 garden sheds

    For more help with shipping container capacity or to discuss bespoke container dimensions, call us on 0870 240 9405 or send us a quick email and we’ll get back to you with more information.

    Are larger shipping containers more expensive than smaller sizes?

    Many customers assume that 40ft shipping containers will be twice the price of our 20ft models and that by this logic, 20ft shipping containers will be half the price of 40ft models.

    While there is a price difference between shipping containers, the price per container is calculated based on several factors, including:

    • Shipping container dimensions
    • Condition
    • Type, including flat rack containers
    • Quantity
    • Requested modifications and accessories

    As such, it is best to request a full quote based on your exact circumstances, rather than assuming. You may be surprised to find that the best shipping container for you is not the size you had in mind.

    For a quick quote, fill in our quick quote form to the right of your screen or give us a call today on 0870 240 9405 and a member of our team will be happy to help.

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