What fits in a 20-foot shipping container?

If you’re embarking on an international move and are thinking about shipping your household goods via ocean freight, one of the very first steps is to decide what type of shipping container you will need.

Along with the 40-foot container, another popular and practical container for an overseas move is the 20-foot shipping container. That said, it’s important to know the dimensions and size of a 20-foot container to know how much you can fit in it.

20-foot container dimensions

A 20-foot container’s internal dimensions are:

  • In feet: 19’ 4” long x 7’ 9” wide x 7’ 10” high

  • In meters: 5.898m long x 2.352m wide x 2.393m high

  • Usable Capacity: 32.6m3

It has 146 sq ft (13.86m2) of floor space and 1,172 cubic ft of volume (33.2m3). Depending on the type of pallet you use, it can hold 10 standard pallets or 12 Euro pallets without stacking.

How to estimate the volume of your 20-foot container shipment

As a general rule, the household goods of a one- to two- bedroom apartment will fit into a 20-foot container.

Here’s an illustration of what fits into a 20-foot container using a typical 80m2 apartment as an example:

What fits in a 20-foot container

By using bubble wrap and moving boxes for proper packing, you will ensure that you easily fit all of your belongings into a 20-foot container.

A 20-foot container can hold:

  • 200 full-sized mattresses
  • 48,000 bananas
  • 50-60 refrigerators
  • 400 flat screen TVs

How to pack furniture into a 20-foot container

Loading a container for an international move can be complicated. Here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Dismantle anything that can be re-assembled and carefully pack them in boxes
  • Using plenty of bubble wrap to protect your items
  • Stack boxes that can be placed on top of one another
  • Place heavier items below lighter items

Shipping vehicles in a 20-foot container

If you’re shipping a vehicle, FCL shipping will be required as there’s a high chance of causing damage to other shipments with LCL shipping due to the limited space.

Depending on the size of the car, most cars will fill a 20-foot container with a small amount of space left over for other cargo. Loading a car onto a container has its risks, so while it is possible to fit two small cars into a 20-foot container, it is generally not recommended as they will need to be partially overlapped and will require straps to suspend one over the other.

Each country has its own regulations on car imports, and certain countries’ restrictions mean you may not be allowed to bring your car into your destination country at all. Make sure to do your research by checking with the customs authorities of your destination country.

Cost to ship a 20-foot container

The cost of shipping a 20-foot container will vary depending on a number of factors including the nature of the items you are sending and the destination country. If you think you may require more space, you can give our guide on what fits a 40-foot container a read. You may find the most competitive prices for shipping a 20-foot container on our platform by simply entering the size and number of boxes and furnishings you will be shipping.