40-foot container

The standard 40-foot container or dry van is one of the most commonly used containers for the shipment of goods in international transport along with the 20-foot container.
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): 40 feet long x 8 feet wide x 8 feet 6 inches tall
  • Exterior Dimensions (in meters): 12.19 meters long x 2.44 meters wide x 2.59 meters high
  • Interior Dimensions (in feet): 39 feet 6 inches long x 7 feet 9 inches wide x 7 feet 10 inches tall
  • Internal Dimensions (in meters): 12.025 meters long x 2.352 meters wide x 2.393 meters high
  • Usable Capacity: 67.7m3

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 40-foot container can hold up to 25 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 40-foot container can hold 21 pallets (see how).


A 40-foot containers empty weight is 3,750 kg and can be loaded to a maximum overall weight of 29 tons (26,300kg).

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