Understanding Sea Freight Container Sizes

Sea freight container sizes

If you are looking to move your household furnishings abroad, you will probably need to use a freight container. No doubt you’ll have many questions about this, particularly about sea freight container sizes and how much they hold. If you’ve been confused by seeing different sizes mentioned by different international shipping companies, that’s because like houses, these containers come in different sizes.

Shipping containers come in some standard sizes. If you are moving overseas, the amount of furniture and other items you are shipping determines what size container you will need. But don’t worry if your shipment is smaller than the smallest sea freight container. You don’t have to fill it. Instead, you can opt for what is known in the industry as a ‘less than container load’ shipment. The rest of the container will be filled with other shipments, and your items will be totally secured and protected.

What Are the Different Sizes of Shipping Containers?

Freight containers come in standard sizes. Some are so large that they’ve been converted into tiny houses or even joined together to make a not-so-tiny house with different rooms. Shipping container sizes in feet are: 20’, 40’, 45’ and 40 HQ. The ‘HQ’ means ‘high cube’. These containers are extra tall. Standard shipping containers are 8’6” tall, while HQ containers are 9’6”. Normally, shipping containers are 8’ wide.

While the industry talks in terms of feet, many of us think in metres. So it helps to know the metric measurements of containers too.

Shipping container sizes in metres are:

·         A 20 foot container is about 6 metres long.

·         A 40 foot container is a little more than 12 metres long.

·         A 45 foot container is just shy of 14 metres long.

·         A HQ (high cube) container is 2.90 metres tall.

Knowing the different shipping container types and sizes is important, but what you really need to understand is which size you need for your belongings.

Calculating What Size Sea Freight Container You Need

For most of us, it is not very helpful to know that a 20’ container has a cubic volume of 1,169 feet and a load capacity of just over 61,000 pounds. We want to know which shipping container sizes and types will fit one double bed, a set of bunk beds, the three and two seater couches, our kitchen table and chairs and the rest of our things!

To get an accurate idea of what size shipping container you will need, start boxing up the small things you’ll be bringing and measuring your furniture. Remember that the height of the container is slightly taller than an average room, and it will be packed tightly. It is easy to overestimate the space you’ll need! The contents of the average three-bedroom house can fit comfortably into a 20’ shipping container.

While very few people make many international moves with all of their possessions, our staff at Spratt Personal Shipping have lots of experience with overseas relocations. We’re happy to discuss your sea freight container needs and help you find the best way to get your household belongings from here to there. Give us a call today!