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Buy 20-ft shipping containers

20 ft shipping containers: all you need to know

The 20 ft shipping container, built of anti-rust Corten steel, has been the mainstay of the global shipping industry with over 8 million units worldwide.

In this article, MT Container GmbH guides you through the process of selecting and ultimately buying or renting your very own 20 ft shipping container.

20 foot container dimension and capacity

Although unit dimensions can vary between manufacturers, all must adhere to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The technical reference particulars are:

Technical Particulars Shipping Container 20ft Dimensions
External Length 6,058 mm
External Width 2,438 mm
External Height 2,591 mm
Internal Length 5,898 mm
Internal Width 2,352 mm
Internal Height 2,390 mm
Door Opening 2,338 x 2,280 mm
Tare Weight 2,300 kgs
Payload Weight 25,000 kgs
Floor Area 13.88 m2
Volumetric Capacity 33.0 m3

Why opt for 20 ft containers over other sizes?

20 ft sea containers are compact, readily available, and have a wider circulation. They can hold up to 10 American-sized pallets and provide ample space for most types of cargo.

To meet different cargo needs, you can opt for 20 ft variants:

  1. High cube units: Additional 1-foot overhead clearance and 170 m3 volumetric capacity,
  2. Half-height units: Reduced height of 4 ft 3 in for shorter cargo,
  3. Heavy-tested units: The heavy 20ft shipping container weight increases the payload capacity by up to 30,000 kgs for bulky cargo.

Consolidators at Container Freight Stations (CFS) prefer 20 ft units for Less than Container Load (LCL) shipments since just 4-5 clients can fill up a single unit.

Common containerized sea cargo

ISO shipping containers transport various cargo ranging from non-perishables to industrial machinery and dry freight. Other units are tailored to meet the shipment’s requirements when shipping frozen goods, hazardous cargo, or fresh foods.

Some of these “special” 20 ft sea containers include:

  1. Flat racks and open tops for bulky and Out of Gauge (OOG) cargo
  2. Ventilated units for fresh produce
  3. ISO Tank Containers for hazardous goods
  4. Tank Top units for bulky cargo

A single 20ft sea container can fit as many as 400 flat-screen TVs, 200 mattresses, or 9,600 bottles of wine!

Securely loading a 20 ft shipping container

Securing your cargo using lashing belts prevents damage during transportation. The first step involves positioning pallets from the rear onwards. Compact forklifts are ideal for moving heavy loads.

Once your cargo is loaded, lashing belts secure it to the walls and floor. Adequate ventilation space is provided if required, and goods are tightly packed to prevent shifting mid-journey.

After the final inspection, the container doors are locked and sealed by customs officials. The shipper issues you a unique tracking ID to monitor the container’s Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and any sensors outfitted to your unit (temperature, humidity, and air composition).

See container trust-worthiness

The International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) provides certifications to ensure units are safe to use. Units rated IICL5 are brand new and perfect, while CW (Cargo Worthy) units have slight wear and tear but can continue to be used. A WWT rating indicates that although the container is wind and watertight, it is unfit for shipping. The first two ratings are accompanied by a certified CSC Plaque, while WWT units do not have one.

When buying 20ft shipping containers, opting for special paints enhance corrosion protection and increase container longevity. Depots integrate add-on options to suit additional needs, including light fixtures and advanced sensors. A standard 20 ft unit without any extra outfitting can cost around 2800 €.

Buying VS renting 20 ft shipping container

Deciding on either option boils down to a cost-benefit forecast, based on the prevailing 20ft shipping container prices in the local market. Renting is ideal for irregular shipments but comes with usage restrictions. Buying a unit permits modifications to suit your needs but has maintenance and storage overheads.

MT Container GmbH offers a wide range of 20ft shipping containers for sale, and are uniquely crafted to protect your precious cargo. Operational since 2008, these state-of-the-art units display our expertise and commitment – qualities highly valued by our customers.

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