20ft Shipping Container Dimensions, Measurements, & Weight

Containers are the lifeblood of commercial shipping. They come in various dimensions and help to carry a multitude of cargo across all the shipping lanes of the world. The containers as we know them today began to take shape in the mid-20th century. It saved a lot of time and effort in loading and unloading of cargo.

20ft Shipping Container Dimensions

Key Features of Containerization

  • Many unwanted processes were eliminated during loading & unloading activities. This led to a drastic reduction in shipping costs.
  • Transporters could transport huge quantities of cargo per shipment. This allowed them to avail of economies of scale.
  • It was much more feasible to transport goods through shipping containers. This allowed shipping companies to use the international shipping lanes in a much more effective manner.
  • In keeping with this development, ports and harbor facilities were also upgraded. This led to an overall enhancement of the entire shipping sector.

Today, close to 20 million containers of different dimensions are used around the world to facilitate seamless transportation of goods through ships. The containers should mandatorily be ISO-certified that ensures optimum levels of quality.

Dimensions of 20ft Containers

The standard 20ft container or TEU (Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit) is one of the most commonly used containers in global shipping. The usual dimensions are:

  • Exterior dimensions: 20 feet long x 8 feet wide x 8 feet 6 inches high
  • Interior dimensions: 19 feet 4 inches long x 7 feet 9 inches wide x 7 feet 10 inches high
  • The internal volume is 1,172 cubic feet or 33.2 cubic meters (also known as cbm).

For a TEU dry cargo container, the maximum gross mass is 24,000 kg. Twenty-foot heavy tested containers are also used to carry heavy machinery. They can carry a maximum weight of 30,500 kg, an empty weight of 2,400 kg, and a net load of 28,080 kg.

How many pallets can you fit in a TEU?

If we are talking about European pallets, whose dimensions are 1.2m x 0.8m, then you can fit 11 pallet stacks. For pallets of US-style, the dimensions are 1.016m x 1.219m, 10 such pallets can be fitted in a TEU.

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