What fits in a 40-foot shipping container?

The first step of every international move by ocean freight involves deciding on what type of shipping container you need to transport all your household goods to your destination country.

Besides the 20-foot container, the 40-foot container is another popular option for an overseas move due to its size and the amount of furniture it can hold. Here’s are the dimensions of a 40-foot container and what household goods you can fit in it.

40-foot container dimensions

  • In feet: 39’ 6” long x 7’ 9” wide x 7’ 10” high

  • In meters: 12.025m long x 2.352m wide x 2.393m high

  • Usable Capacity: 67.7m3

It has 285 sq ft (26.47m2) of floor space and 2,120 cubic ft (60m3) of volume. Depending on the type of pallet you use, it can hold 22 standard pallets or 27 Euro pallets without stacking.

How to estimate the volume of your 40-foot container shipment

As a general rule, the household goods of a two- to three-bedroom apartment with a living room, dining room, den, and kitchen can fit into a 40-foot container.

Here’s an illustration of what fits into a 40-foot container using a typical 100m2 apartment as an example:

What fits in a 40-foot container

Make sure to use bubble wrap and moving boxes for proper packing to fit all of your belongings into a 40-foot container.

How to pack furniture into a 40-foot container

Loading a container for an overseas move may be rather tedious. Here are some simple tips that may help:

  • Take apart anything that can be re-assembled at your new home and carefully pack them in boxes
  • Be generous with bubble wrap to protect your items
  • Stack boxes on top of one another
  • Place lighter items above heavier items

Shipping vehicles in a 40-foot container

If you’re transporting your vehicle along with your belongings, FCL shipping will be required to reduce the risk of damaging other shipments with LCL shipping.

Most cars can fit a 40-foot container with space left to fill the household goods of a one- to two-bedroom apartment. Make sure to read up on loading a car into a container before you begin doing it to avoid damages.

Every country has different regulations on cars entering its borders. Certain countries may even completely ban you from bringing your car into your destination country. Do your research by checking with the customs authorities of your destination country to avoid problems.

Cost to ship a 40-foot container

The cost of shipping a 40-foot container will vary depending on a number of factors including the nature of the items you are sending and the destination country. You may find the best prices for shipping a 40-foot container on our platform by entering the size and number of boxes and furnishings you will be taking with you. If the volume of your shipment exceeds the capacity of a 20-foot container, you will automatically be charged for a 40-foot FCL container.

Due to consolidating fees, taxes, and customs paperwork, LCL shipping in a 40-foot container will be more expensive than sending a half full 40-foot FCL.