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Container sizes

Containers are standardized cargo units. They are manufactured in a large variety of sizes and types, each designed to meet specific cargo and transportation requirements. Their length is usually 20 or 40 feet, although longer containers are used, principally in the US trade; these containers are 45, 48 and 53 feet long.

High Cube Container
Fig :High Cube Container
Their width is always 8 feet although their height can vary. The term High cube container usually refers to a standard-sized container that has a height of 9 feet 6 inches. Container heights can be 8 feet, 8 feet 6 inches, 9 feet 6 inches or 10 feet 6 inches.

Containers are referred to by the acronym TEUs 20 foot equivalent units, or 40 foot equivalent units (FEUs).
The ISO standard for containers defines dimensions, both internal and external, and load ratings. All containers have a framework and corner posts fitted with corner castings.

The castings at each corner of the container support the containers weight. The castings are the only points at which a container should be supported, and are used to attach securing fittings, such as lashing rods and twistlocks. The position and spacing of corner castings are carefully controlled.

Containers that are longer than 40 feet usually have additional support points at the 40-foot position so that they can be stowed over a standard 40-foot container.

Standard sizes for ISO Series 1 freight containers include those shown in the table below. 20-foot containers are actually a little shorter than 20 feet, so that two 20-foot containers can be stowed in a 40-foot bay. The actual dimensions are 12192 mm for a 40-foot container and 6058 mm for a 20-foot container. Thus, two 20-foot containers are 76mm shorter than a 40-foot container.


20' container
20' container



40' container
40' container

Container Weight

It has long been a matter of concern that container weights have been inaccurate, guesswork or deliberately misdeclared (by up to 20%) thus giving rise to serious implications for the stability of ships and, indeed, road transport and terminal equipment with consequent danger to personnel in all modes of transport. This concern has resulted in an amendment to SOLAS Chapter VI, Regulation 2 which, from 1 July 2016, now made it mandatory for all containers to be weighed before they are presented to the ship for loading. Container weight will be determined either by weighing the container after stuffing or by adding the weight of all contents to the tare weight.

It will be the responsibility of the shipper to weigh the full container or its contents with equipment that meets certification and calibration requirements. The SOLAS amendment demands that a specific person must be named and identified as having verified the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper. The verified gross weight will be declared in a signed document to the shipping company and containers presented without such a document will not be loaded.



Related Information

Details Of various Container Types

Safe navigation in a seaway

Hull strength & stability requirement for containerships

Cargo cranes operation, maintenance & safety matters

Cargo stowage and planning in containership

Cargo care at sea

Containership hull strength and stability

Securing arrangement in containerships

Cargo securing in containership requirements

Safe cargo operation in containership

Containerships cargo carrying advantages

Container ship loaded various container sizes
Fig:Container ship loaded various container sizes










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