40 Foot Shipping Container Dimensions

40 foot shipping container dimensions will have some variations because they are manufactured in different ways. However, the industry standard is 40′ 0″ x 8′ 0″ x 8′ 6″ (L x W x H). In the metric system this is 12.192 m x 2.438 m x 2.591 m.

Internal Dimensions

The figures given above are the box’s external dimensions. Internally, these containers are 39′ 5 long, 7′ 8 wide and 7′ 9 high. In the metric system these figures are 12.032 m x 2.352 m x 2.385 m (L x W x H).


Due to their size, these 40 footers have to be transported by freight trains, semi trailers trucks or ships. Cranes are used to transfer these containers at terminals. To facilitate handling, twistlock points are set on the box’s corners.

These make it possible to secure the box. Containers have their own BIC code used for tracking and identification. Transport expenses are determined in TEUs (20 ft equivalent units).

Rail Transfer

A few shipping containers are still transferred via rail. These are done on well cars or flatcars. The well car is used more often because it can handle double boxes. But a rail system’s loading gauge plays a role in determining the container equipment that can be used. While many loading gauges can handle 40 foot shipping container dimensions, some can only accommodate single stacked boxes. In some cases, only well cars can be used.


Many containers have been developed to meet the needs of various cargoes. Some units are designed for storing perishable goods. There are also collapsible and open tops available. There are also containers made for transporting liquids.

Some of the more commonly used variants are garmentainers for shipping garments on hangers, swapbody, barrel bolsters and rolling floors. Rolling floors are used for cargo that is difficult to manage. For an over sized pallet, the open side variety is used. There are also insulated containers and flat rack containers.

40 foot shipping container dimensions are also known by other names. Among them are sea can, conex box, hi-cube container and ISO container. Regardless of how they are called, all these boxes can be reused.

These boxes are also known as intermodal containers. The term intermodal refers to the fact the unit can be set in different transport modes minus the need to reload or unload the contents. Whether the length is 40 ft 20 ft or something else, a unique ISO 6346 will be on it.

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