40 Foot Ocean Container Dimensions

Due to manufacturing differences, 40 foot ocean container dimensions may vary somewhat. In spite of the name, some containers will be a few millimeters shorter or longer than 40 ft.

Common Figures Used

That being said, there are some figures that are widely used. Many 40 and 20 ft containers have a height and width of 8 ft. The high versions are usually 9 ft high. In metric terms, the dimensions are 12.19m x 2.44m (H x W).

Other Specifications

20 and 40 foot boxes are widely used in shipping and freight. The 8.5 feet (8.5′) high box is often known as the standard container. However, the high cube or hicube is rapidly becoming popular. These 40 ft boxes are 9.5 feet (9.5′ or 9′ 6″) high. There are also half height containers available at 4.25′ or 4′ 3″ high. These types of containers are used for ingots, steel rods and other heavy loads.

The advantage of these containers is they soak in the weight limit while taking up 50% less space. The most popular type used is dry cargo or general purpose container. Aside from the 40′ x 9.5′ and 40′ x 8.5′ boxes, there is also the 20′ x 8.5′ container available.


When studying 40 foot ocean container dimensions, it is important to know what capacity means. The capacity refers to the entire cube that a container can hold. The cube term denotes the cargo cube dimensions. That is, the capacity is the internal volume of the container. You can get the internal volume by multiplying a box’s internal height, width and length.

The internal dimensions are not the same as the external ones. A 40 ft box has a 39′ 5.375″ internal length. The height and width will also be smaller. If the external width is 8′, it will be 7′ 8.625″ internally. If the box is 8′ 6″ high externally, it will be 7′ 10″ internally.

Payload, Tare Mass and Rating

Rating refers to the maximum gross mass (or weight). This is the maximum allowable weight of the box along with its contents. A 40’ has a 30,480 kg payload. (67,200 lbs.). The tare mass is the weight or mass of an empty box.

40 foot ocean container dimensions have a 3,900 kg tare mass. However, not all containers carry maximum payload. In some countries, there is a limit to the amount of load the box may hold.

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