The 20ft and 40ft containers are the most commonly used containers for shipping. That makes them cheaper to buy than special container types.

With the millions of commodities being shipped around the world each year, it can come as no surprise that the containers have developed to keep up with the demand. A demand that leads to things in odd shapes and sizes needing to find a way into a container.

Exactly because of the large demand for containers, there is a need for special containers and standard containers. The standard containers must be easy to stack in a way to save space, to streamline the logistics, and be able to handle many types of shipments.

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The 20 and 40-foot containers are two of the most commonly used container types today. And in everyday life, you can hear them referred to as Conex boxes – the very container that kickstarted shipping as we now know it. The 20ft container, that is referred to as the Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) has become the standard measurement reference. Now, the volume of cargo and the capacity on a vessel are often measured in TEU.

At the same time 40ft containers, which are the same as two TEUs, are known as the Forty-foot Equivalent Unit. Abbreviated FEU.

Are you looking to buy or sell 20ft or 40ft containers? Try the neutral online trading marketplace at xChange. Get global buying and selling options available and gain market transparency within seconds.

20ft and 40ft container

The looks of 20ft and 40ft containers

The vast majority of containers are made of steel or aluminium. The containers need to have a standardized size, so they can be stacked most efficiently. Across the industry, the containers now have to have standard sizes set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The same goes for the 20ft and 40ft container types are also known as Dry Van. They’re called dry vans because they can carry most kinds of dry cargo. It can be everything from boxes, pallets, and barrels to for example clothes already hanging on the hangers. As well as anything in between.

You can customize the inside of the containers, so they accommodate most dry cargo. What can’t be changed, however, are the measurements of the containers. You can in the table below see the measurements of both the 20 and 40ft container 👇

Measure 20ft  40ft 
Internal length 5.9m / 19.4ft 12.03m / 39.5ft
Internal width 2.35m / 7.8ft 2.4m / 7.9ft
Internal height 2.39m / 7.9ft 2.39m / 7.9ft
Tare weight 2,300kg / 5,071.5 lbs 3,750kg / 8,268.8 lbs
Payload capacity 25,000 kg / 55,126.9 lbs 27,600kg / 61,200 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.2 m3 / 1,172 cu ft 67.7 m3 / 2,389 cu ft

Fit it all in

48,000 bananas. 200 full-sized mattresses. Or if you’re shipping electronics, 18,000 iPads can also be packed into a 20-foot container. And with the 40-foot container, you can load it with double the amount.

But, let’s look at the volume on a scale that might be a bit easier to relate to. Pallets!

We’ll start with the EU pallet, EUR. The European pallets have a dimension of 1.2 x 0.8m. In a 20ft container, you can fit 11 Euro pallets in – given that the cargo doesn’t hang over the sides. In a 40ft container, you will be able to stack 23-24 Euro pallets.

There’s also a standard pallet EUR2, which is 1.2 x 1m. Given that the cargo doesn’t hang over the sides, there can be between 10 and 11 pallets in a 20ft. And 20-21 pallets in a 40ft.

Last but not least, we have the North American standard pallet type. It has a dimension of 1.016m x 1.219m. You should be able to stack 10 American pallets in a 20ft container. And 20 pallets in a 40ft.

Generally, the smartest way to load a container with pallets is to fit them in one row along the length of the container and another row along the width.


Trading 20ft and 40ft containers

20ft and 40ft containers are useful for many different types of commodities. On top of that, they save space on the vessels, as you can stack them. That’s something that saves you money. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell containers, check out the container trading platform at xChange!

At xChange, we now offer a neutral online marketplace where you can sell and buy containers. All the members of the trading marketplace have been vetted by the xChange team. Making sure that you only deal with reliable partners.

The marketplace is 100% transparent. This means that you know exactly who you are doing business with, and there are no added commission fees.

Find the containers you’re looking for and activate the market scanner and get notified about new offers that fit your needs.

You can also offer your sales stock to a global network with more than 150+ certified partners.

Click on the banner below and schedule a demo with our team. We will you what the xChange trading marketplace can do for you.


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Container Trading | 20ft Container and 40ft Container – Explained
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Container Trading | 20ft Container and 40ft Container – Explained
20ft and 40ft containers are the most commonly used containers in shipping. It makes them cheaper to buy than a special container. Learn more about 20ft and 40ft.
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