Shipping containers have become a ubiquitous sight in modern-day transportation and logistics. These steel boxes have revolutionized the way goods are transported across the globe, providing a secure and efficient means of shipping cargo. 

Of all the shipping containers available in the market, the 20-ft shipping container is the most commonly used size. In this blog, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about 20-ft shipping containers, including their dimensions, measurements, and weight. 

Whether you’re new to the world of shipping containers or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you understand everything you need to know about 20-ft shipping containers. So, let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: 20-ft Shipping Container Dimensions, Measurements & Weight   

Shipping Container Size

For transportation purposes, 20 ft shipping containers are widely used. This chapter will discuss the dimensions and measurements of 20-ft containers to ensure safe transportation.

Not to mention, there are certain parameters for the optimal size and weight of a container. And, knowing the container’s dimensions is crucial to store products efficiently.

1) Dimensions of 20-Ft Container

A 20-ft container is often known as “a dry van” and is commonly used for transporting dry goods. It has the following dimensions.

  • The length of the 20-ft container is 5.90 meters.
  • Width is measured as 2.35 meters while the height is 2.39 meters.
  • The door height is marked up to 2.28 meters, while the door width is 2.34 meters.


The maximum capacity of a 20-ft container is 28,200 kg with a cubic capacity of 33 cubic meters

Many industries heavily favor the 20-ft container, the smallest yet most admired shipping container size. Traders use it to transport iron, raw materials, machinery, and various consumer goods and products due to its versatility and popularity.

Please refer to the following table for complete measurements of different types of 20′ container:




Door width

Door height

Max payload

20′ Dry


2.35m 2.39m




20′ Open top

5.90m 2.34m 2.35m




20′ Flat rack


5.70m 2.36m



20′ Reefer


2.29m 2.25m




2) 20-ft Container Door Styles

There are plenty of door-style layouts in 20-ft containers by which you can easily get access to your material through the longer side.

Not to mention, double doors container allows you to enter and pull items from either side of the container.

3) Benefits and Common Uses Of 20 Ft Shipping Containers

Benefits of 20 Ft Shipping Containers:

Versatility: One of the primary benefits of 20 ft shipping containers is their versatility. Transporters use them for a wide range of applications, from storage to transportation.  Also, they use them as a base for building structures like offices, homes, and shops.

Cost-effective: 20 ft shipping containers are an affordable option for businesses and individuals who need additional storage space or require a means of transporting goods over long distances.

Durability: Manufacturers construct shipping containers to withstand the harsh conditions of ocean transport, making them incredibly durable and capable of enduring extreme weather conditions and rough handling.

Security: Designers create shipping containers to be secure. For this reason, they use robust locking mechanisms and sturdy steel construction which can discourage theft and prevent unauthorized access.

Common Uses of 20 Ft Shipping Containers:

Storage: 20 ft shipping containers are a popular option for storage purposes, as they provide a secure, weather-resistant space to store equipment, tools, and other items. Above all, people use them on job sites, as a temporary storage solution during a renovation or construction project, or even as a long-term storage solution for businesses and individuals.

Transportation: 20 ft shipping containers are often used for transporting goods over long distances, both domestically and internationally. Moreover, you can load them onto trucks, trains, and ships. It ultimately makes them a versatile option for businesses that need to move large quantities of goods.

Modular Buildings: Shipping containers can be modified and repurposed into modular buildings like offices, homes, and shops. Above all, this is a cost-effective and sustainable way to create new structures, as the containers can be easily transported and assembled on-site.

Pop-up Retail Spaces: Pop-up retail spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years. In this regard, 20 ft shipping containers provide a versatile base for these types of businesses. Not to mention, these containers can be modified to include windows, doors, and other features. Also, they can be used as temporary retail spaces for festivals, events, and other gatherings.

4) 20-ft Shipping Container: FCL Vs. LCL


Do you feel that a 20ft container would be too big to carry the cargo you are bringing? You’re in luck! Why? Because you have two options while selecting the mean for transporting your cargo.

Let’s understand!

Less Than Container Load (LCL)

LCL shipping is a cost-effective solution for businesses and individuals who do not have enough cargo to fill an entire container. With LCL shipping, multiple smaller shipments are consolidated into a single container, which is then transported to the destination port.

This allows for lower shipping costs, as the cost of the container is shared between multiple shippers.

LCL is cheaper if the cargo’s total volume is under 15 cm. However, cargo greater than 15 cm will need shipment in one container.

Full Container Load (FCL)

FCL shipping is a popular option for businesses that have enough cargo to fill an entire container. With FCL shipping, the entire container is dedicated to a single shipment, which allows for faster transit times and reduces the risk of damage to the cargo. 

FCL shipping also allows for greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and route selection, as the container is dedicated solely to a single shipment.

Suggested reading: Shipping Container from China to USA: Everything you Need to Know

Chapter 2. How Much a 20-ft Container Can Hold?

20 feet container inside view

Once you learn the dimensions of a 20-ft container, it’s time to observe the capacity of your container. The purpose of observing capacity is to ensure the container is fit enough for shipping goods.

And the best way to do this is to learn the cubic feet of your 20-ft container.

Usually, the cubic capacity of a 20-ft container is 32.6 cubic meters or a figure of 1,172 cubic feet.

Understanding how much can actually fit inside your 20-foot shipping container is the best way to utilize its full storage capacity. However, maybe you’re trying to fill it up with cars, tools for building, and furniture or you’re utilizing it as a multipurpose storage area.

Without stacking the pallet, 10 regular pallets can be fit in a 20-foot shipping container. The idea that you could move the entire contents of a one- or two-bedroom apartment in a single unit is not implausible.

  • Household items have irregular sizes; let’s say,
  • The best has a size of 1.7 cubic meters which means you can fit 19 beds roughly.
  • Similarly, bookcases are measured at 1.1 cubic meters, which allows 23 bookcases to fit in.
  • An average TV is around 0.75 cubic meters so you can fit around 43 TV sets.

Additional ways to check 20-ft Container Capacity are as follows:

Internal Dimensions

Figuring out the internal dimension is the first step to observing the capacity of a 20-ft container. However, these dimensions vary by a few inches depending on the manufacturing company. The 20 –ft container has the following internal dimensions per the general rule.

  • For metric units: 5.898 m L x 2.352 m W x 2.393 m H
  • For US customary units: 19’4″L x 7’9″W x 7’10″H

Measuring Meters and Square Feet

The square feet area of a 20-ft container is 146 ft2, while in meters, it’s around 32.6 m3

Chapter 3. What type of 20-ft Containers can I Purchase?

When it comes to purchasing or renting a 20-ft container, there are a few different types to choose from. Each type has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences between them in order to make the best choice for your needs. 

Pro Tip:

Some factors to consider when selecting a 20-ft container include:

  • The materials used to construct it.
  • Type of cargo it will be used to transport.
  • Any special features or modifications that may be required. 

In this chapter, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of 20-ft containers that are available and what sets them apart from one another. Let’s dive in!

1) One-Trip 20-ft Container

One-Trip 20-ft Container

As the name suggests, the one-trip container has only been one trip across the ocean, which means the buyer gets it in great condition. Such containers are of great quality but are expensive as well. 

However, if you often require a container, one trip is the best you can get.

2) Cargo Worthy 20-ft Container

Cargo Worthy 20-ft Container

If you’re looking for an affordable option, then cargo worthy can be your choice. Unlike one-trip, cargo-worthy containers have been used multiple times for shipping purposes, they are still in appropriate condition and fit to transport.

The leverage you get on buying cargo worthy is the ultimate protection holding of goods. You might find some dents or minor imperfections, but the protection it offers is exceptional.

3) Wind and Water Tight (WWW) 20-ft Container

Wind and Water Tight (WWW) 20-ft Container

Ideal for static items that require the prevention of water and wind in a container. Preventing wind and water is crucial in shipping; therefore, WWW 20-ft containers are inspected to stand still against wind and water.

4) As-Is 20-ft Container

As-Is 20-ft Container

As-Is is the last category you can get in 20-ft containers. The buyers have to prepare for all the flaws coming along, and it is ideally significant for those who are least concerned about the defects.

While they may not be as visually appealing as newer or customized containers, they are still a reliable and cost-effective choice for many businesses and individuals.

Do you need help sourcing products from China? Don’t know which container is perfect for your cargo? We’ve got you covered! At EJET, we understand that choosing the right shipping container for your specific needs can be a daunting task. With so many different types of containers available in the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. 

That’s where we come in. Our team of experts has years of experience in the shipping and logistics industry and can help you choose the perfect container that meets your specific needs. 

Not only can we help you choose the right container, but we can also source high-quality products from China. As Chinese natives, we have an in-depth understanding of the market and can help you find the best products at the most competitive prices. 

Our sourcing team has years of experience in the industry and can handle everything from product sourcing to quality control and logistics. Please contact our sourcing consultant Sunny Qiu for more information.

sales manager

Also read on: How Much Does a Shipping Container Cost?

Chapter 4:  Some Common Types of Shipping Containers

When it comes to shipping goods, there are a variety of container types available to suit different cargo and shipping needs. Some of the most common types of shipping containers include standard dry containers, refrigerated containers, open-top containers, flat rack containers, and high cube containers. 

Understanding the differences between these types of containers can help you select the right one for your specific needs.

1) Open Top  |  The Convertible Of Shipping Containers

Open Top container

Open-top containers are a type of shipping container that features an open top, which allows for the easy loading and unloading of cargo that is too tall to fit into a standard container. 

The open top can be covered with a tarpaulin or removable hardtop, which provides protection from the elements during transport.

Transporters commonly use open-top containers to transport oversized or bulky cargo, such as machinery, construction materials, or large equipment. The open-top design permits the loading and unloading of the cargo using a crane or other heavy equipment, making it easier to transport large or heavy items.

  • One key advantage of open-top containers is their flexibility. Above all, the open-top allows for easy loading and unloading using a crane or heavy equipment without the need for costly modifications to the container. 
  • The removable top makes it easy to load and unload the cargo from the top, which can be especially useful in situations where the cargo cannot be loaded or unloaded from the side.

2) Ventilated  |  The Breathable Container

Ventilated container

Ventilated containers are a type of shipping container that is designed to allow for the free flow of air through the container. This makes them ideal for transporting goods that require ventilation, such as fresh produce, flowers, and other perishable goods. 

Here are some key features and benefits of ventilated containers:

  • The ventilation system consists of specially designed vents that are strategically placed throughout the container to ensure that air circulates evenly.
  • They are available in various sizes and configurations, including standard 20-foot and 40-foot containers, as well as high cube and open-top options.
  • Ventilated containers are ideal for transporting perishable goods that require proper ventilation to maintain their freshness and quality. Some common items that are transported in ventilated containers include fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other perishable goods.

3) Insulated  |  The ‘Thermos’ Flask Container

Insulated container

Insulated containers are a type of shipping container that is designed to maintain a consistent temperature inside the container, regardless of the external environment. 

They are ideal for transporting goods that require temperature control, such as food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. 

Here are some key features and benefits of insulated containers:

  • Insulated containers are equipped with a layer of insulation material, typically made of polyurethane or polystyrene, that helps to regulate the temperature inside the container.
  • The insulation material helps to maintain a consistent temperature inside the container, even in extremely hot or cold temperatures.
  • Some insulated containers are equipped with refrigeration units, which allow for precise temperature control of the cargo.

4. Reefer  |  The Floating Fridge Container

Reefer container

Reefer containers, also known as refrigerated containers, are a type of shipping container that are designed to transport temperature-sensitive goods, such as food and pharmaceuticals. 

They are equipped with a refrigeration unit that allows for precise temperature control of the cargo.

  • The refrigeration unit can maintain temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F) and as high as 30°C (86°F), making them ideal for transporting goods that require strict temperature control.
  • Reefer containers are available in various sizes and configurations, including standard 20-foot and 40-foot containers, as well as high cube and open-top options.
  • These containers are also available with specialized features, such as air circulation systems, humidity control, and insulation.
  • Reefer containers are also available with specialized features, such as air circulation systems, humidity control, and insulation.

5. Flat Racks  |  More Dance Floor Than Container

Flat Rack container

Manufacturers design flat rack containers to transport oversized or irregularly shaped cargo that cannot fit inside a standard container. Flat rack containers are a type of shipping container designed specifically for this purpose.

They are essentially flat platforms with no walls or roof and are ideal for transporting heavy machinery, vehicles, and other large or bulky items.

  • Flat rack containers come equipped with lashing points or tie-down points on the floor and sides that enable secure stowage and transport of the cargo.
  • Some flat rack containers also feature folding or removable end walls, which make it easy to load and unload the cargo.
  • These containers are an economical and efficient solution for transporting oversized or irregularly shaped cargo, as they do not require specialized equipment or permits.

6. FlexiTank  |  An Inflatable Within a Container

FlexiTank container

As if you were putting a balloon in your shoebox and then removing the lid. These containers have a flexible tank that looks like a bag inside.

People use these containers for shipping bulk liquid. They can contain between 10,000 and 24,000 liters (depending on the container size.)

  • Designers create FlexiTank containers for the transportation of non-hazardous liquids, such as food-grade oils, juices, and wine.
  • They construct these containers from high-quality, food-grade materials that international organizations, such as the FDA and European Food Safety Authority, approve.
  • FlexiTank containers come equipped with valves and fittings that facilitate easy filling and dispensing of liquid cargo.

Useful resource: What is the Meaning of CBM in Shipping Terms?

Chapter 5: 20-ft Shipping Container Loading Tips

Proper packing is key to loading properly. If you don’t properly pack and wrap your belongings, they can be damaged.

Remember that the shipping container may tilt up to 30° as it travels across the ocean. Therefore, all your precious and delicate items should be protected. Also, it is essential to have strong materials.

Make sure you have enough furniture blankets and plastic shrink wrap, and corrugated cartons. There’s an art in placing things into containers. Remember that it is all about finding the perfect balance. These tips will help you make sure your cargo stays snug.

1) Ask Your Friends for Help

Are you looking for a partner with big arms? A 20ft container can be challenging to load with furniture. It is best to have more people on the team.

It is possible to hire temporary laborers, but it is best to get help from friends. Most shipping companies will allow you to load the container for two or three hours before you start paying them. This is known as a live load.

A drop and package service is another option. In this case, the container will be left with you for up to one or two days. Although it is more expensive, this makes things much easier. Therefore, ensure your neighbors of the large container from the sea arriving on their street.

The 20-ft container takes three hours to load. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before. A smooth container-loading process requires regular cups of coffee or tea.

2) Get A Ramp

Your container will arrive in a box, a raised platform on wheels attached to a truck. A chassis sits four-foot above ground.

This is a problem with heavy furniture. The solution? A ramp. Therefore, you should hire one from a local company that offers ramps to make your life much easier.

Before the shipping container arrives, make sure you have it installed at your home so you can begin loading.

3) Container Inspection

a person is doing Container Inspection

The container will eventually arrive. You will see the container moving along the road toward your house, and everything will seem real.

Now is the time to put your plan into practice. You need to make sure that your container is in good condition before putting it into action.

Each shipping container comes with a wooden floor. So, check that the container has watertight seals. Also, your furniture might get dampened by its voyage across the ocean if it does not.

Therefore, it is best to go inside the container to check this. In case, there’s no light getting into the container, no water will get in. So be sure to have someone you trust at the container doors who will not lock it behind.

4) Put the Heavy Stuff in the First

This is just common sense. Do not allow fragile items to be broken on the journey. You can place any heavy items such as a refrigerator or dining room table at their bottom.

5) Distribute The Weight Evenly

A container that is too heavy on one side could cause problems later. The heavier side of the container will be crushed if it tilts as it crosses the ocean.

It is important to ensure you don’t put anything too heavy on one side of your container.

6) Pack-It Tightly

Everything must be very cozy in there. You will get damages if you have items that are too close together. Furniture damage can happen when the truck driver brakes hard or the container ship tilts. You can think of your container as a tightly packed bookshelf.

7) Make Use of Dunnage

Sometimes you will need help to pack everything tightly. If you have unfilled gaps in your cargo, “dunnage” is a good option.

Shipping language for padding’, ‘dunnage’ refers to loose pieces of wood. However, you can use pillows and blankets. Simply stuff the gaps until nothing moves.

8) Secure Everything

You can use loading straps (rope) to secure your items. Secure anything heavy or prone to falling.

It’s important to ensure that the ropes are not too loose as they’ll be subject to severe strain once the ship moves across the ocean.

9) Load the Most Important Stuff Last

The first things to be taken out of the container are the last ones you have put in. If you need your pottery on the first day of your arrival, you won’t want a wall of packed furniture to get it.

10) Prepare For “Container Sweat”

You may also know it as “container rain” or something less disgusting. This is when condensation collects on the ceiling and walls and drips onto your cargo.

Temperatures can reach up to 60°C depending on how they travel, especially if they’re going through tropical regions. For example, a container is going from the UK into Australia.

The best way of reducing internal humidity is by using Dehumidifiers. Not to mention, these include “damp sticks,” which look like the silica gel packs you find in new trainers by ensuring the wood you use.

Above all, Dunnage and pallets should be extremely dry. It’s dangerous to load a container in the rain. Check the weather forecast before you schedule your loading day.

Chapter 6. FAQs about “20-ft Container”


1) How many CBM is 1kg?

1.000 KG is equal to 1 CBM.

2) How many CBMs is a 20-Ft container?

A general 20-ft container has 33 CBM.

3) What is the weight of an unloaded 20-ft container?

A container’s unloaded weight is 2,300 kg and can load a maximum of 28 tons.

4) How many boxes can fit in the 20-ft container?

Usually, one pallet can lift up to 60 boxes, and 10 pallets can fit in a 20-ft container. The total number of boxes will be 600.

5) How many cars fit in a 20-ft container?

As per experts, a 20-ft container can fit two cars at once.


The 20-ft containers play an essential role in international trade by enabling the safe and efficient transportation of goods worldwide.

However, knowing the dimensions of a 20-ft container is essential to avoid inconvenience in your business venture. So, familiarize yourself with the dimensions mentioned above, measurements, and types to choose the best option for your next transportation.

If you have any questions or need further information about 20-ft containers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help! Above all,  we can even assist with arranging shipping from China to your desired destination.