In this blog we explain the standard ISO shipping container sizes and most common aftermarket applications these are used for.
What dimensions are standard size shipping containers?
Shipping containers are built to internationally recognised standards set by the International Standards organisation (ISO) which means that they need to adhere to specific size requirements. All standard ISO shipping containers are 8ft wide to ensure that they can be fastened together and stacked on top of each other on board a cargo vessel. Standard ISO shipping containers are 8.5ft high and come in four lengths; 10ft, 20ft 40ft and 45ft externally.
Extra tall, or ‘high cube’ containers as they are known (sometimes shortened to HC), come in at 9.5ft high to provide additional volume but the rest of the dimensions are the same.
All sizes of these shipping containers adhere to the same rules regarding their corner castings, so you will find eight corner castings on each container. Offering up to 16 attachment points for a Domino Clamp.
What are the most popular sizes of shipping containers and what are they used for?
20ft shipping containers tend to be the most popular size for repurposing; ideal for a wide range of storage solutions such as replacements for garden sheds, at sports and recreation clubs and on building sites. They also work well for smaller conversion projects such as a home gym or office, food and drink stands, medical units, and science and research facilities. Many haulage companies will have the ability to lift and transport them, so they are easy to relocate.
40ft shipping containers offer the best value for money in terms of cost per cubic meter, and are more commonly used for larger commercial conversion projects such as offices, retail units, bars and restaurants. These larger sized shipping containers have been used to help bring innovations such as vertical farming to life. They are less favoured for storage due to being so long, which makes retrieving things from the back of the container difficult without maintaining a clear pathway all the way down the length of the container; thereby wasting space. Their good value for money per cubic meter can also potentially be offset in higher transportation costs, so they are better suited to being used in permanent or semi-permanent installations.
40ft high cube shipping containers are particularly sought after for container homes due to offering a larger headroom and creating a feeling of more light and space.
What other sizes are available?
As we mentioned earlier, ISO Shipping containers also come in both 10ft and 45ft. 10ft containers are often used for parking booths, small site offices or retail storage, they are light and easy to move so are a good option if your container is a short term solution, without needing lots of interior space.
Some companies offer cut-down versions of 20ft and 40ft containers enabling customers to choose a specific size to meet their requirements, this is a good solution if you need something bigger than a 20ft container but don’t have the room for a 40ft for example.
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