20-foot Container

The standard 20-foot container or “dry van” is one of the most commonly used containers for the shipment of goods in international transport along with the 40-foot container.


Container dimensions are usually measured using the imperial system (feet) and specifies both the exterior dimensions and the interior or usable dimensions.

  • Exterior Dimensions (in feet): 20 feet long x 8 feet wide x 8 feet 6 inches tall
  • Exterior Dimensions (in meters): 6.10 meters long x 2.44 meters wide x 2.59 meters high
  • Interior Dimensions (in feet): 19 feet 4 inches long x 7 feet 9 inches wide x 7 feet 10 inches tall
  • Internal Dimensions (in meters): 5.898 meters long x 2.352 meters wide x 2.393 meters high
  • Usable Capacity: 32.6m3

In terms of EURO pallet types (European pallets) whose dimensions are 1.2 x 0.8 meters, as long as the load is not hanging over the sides, the base of the 20-foot container can hold up to 11 EURO pallet stacks. Generally, the optimal way of placing the pallets inside the container is with one row long ways and a second row width ways (see how).

For the standard American pallet type with dimensions 40 x 48 Inch (1.016 x 1.219 meters), as long as the load is not hanging over the sides, the base of a standard 20 foot container can hold 10 pallets (see how).


A 20-foot containers empty weight is 2,300 kg and can be loaded to a maximum overall weight of 28 tons (25,400kg).

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