Common Shipping Container Specs

Shipping container dimensions vary in length and width. Most commonly, containers are around 10-feet, 20-feet, or 40-feet long, each at around 8 feet wide. The height of each shipping container varies between standard height (8 feet 6 inches) and “high cube” (9 feet 6 inches), which are often used to increase storage space or create better air circulation. Check out the table below for a breakdown of shipping container dimensions and specifications.

  1. Dry containers

Dry containers (DC) are called “dry” because they don’t have any temperature controls — they are basic containers for cargo such as toys and clothes. They are the most common type of container in the world, with 90% of sea freight loaded into them, and they come in different shipping container dimensions and variants:

10-Foot Container 9’9.75″ x 8′ x 8’6″ 9’3″ x 7’8″ x 7’10” 7’8″ x 7’5″ 75 square-feet 2,850 lb
20-Foot Container 19’10.5″ x 8′ x 8’6″ 19’3″ x 7’8″ x 7’10” 7’8″ x 7’5″ 150 square-feet 5,050 lb
20-Foot High Cube 19’10.5″ x 8′ x 9’6″ 19’3″ x 7’8″ x 8’10” 7’8″ x 8’5.5″ 150 square-feet 5,181 lb
40-Foot Container 40′ x 8′ x 8’6″ 39’5″ x 7’8″x 7’10” 7’8″ x 7’5″ 300 square-feet 8,000 lb
40-Foot High Cube 40′ x 8′ x 9’6″ 39’5″ x 7’8″x 8’10” 7’8″ x 8’5.5″ 300 square-feet 8,775 lb
  1. Refrigerated containers

These are cargo containers that can control temperature. They are perfect for storage and for transporting perishables such as flowers or food that need to be kept cold across long distances. Refrigerated shipping containers are available in various sizes, including 20-foot, 40-foot, 40HC and 45HC.

  • Controlled Atmosphere (CA Container): This type of freight container offers the right conditions inside the cargo container to help to slow down ripening, preserve perishable produce and vastly improve the shelf life of goods, especially during long-distance trips.
  1. Special dimensioned shipping containers

These shipping containers have particular dimensions for specific cargo. They include:

  • Open Top Container: A shipping container with dimensions suitable for cargo that is over height and cannot be easily loaded through the door.
  • Flat Rack: A cargo container ideal for shipping goods that are oversized, such as heavy machinery, yachts and construction materials.
  • Platform: Used for odd-sized cargo which does not fit in any other type or size of shipping container.
  • Transportable Tank: Made of strong steel or other anti-corrosive materials for the storage, transportation and long-life protection of liquid materials.


What are the vertical measurements of shipping containers?

The height of a typical shipping container will be about 8 feet and 6 inches. However, this can increase with larger container options, usually by a foot to reach 9 feet and 6 inches.

How to book different cargo shipping container sizes and types

With Maersk Go, you can book dry cargo in 20-40-45 (HC) box containers. You can sign up to our platform to check prices and schedule your next container shipment. Our platform offers instant pricing, saving you wasted time spent on unnecessary back and forth with quoting.