Hard Top Containers are a specialized version of general dry containers. The major difference between a normal ISO container and a hard top container is that the latter has a removable roof due to which the door header can be pivoted outside – which makes it fairly easier to load and unload the cargo through forklift.

They are majorly used for shipping heavy to very heavy cargo which needs to be loaded through roof opening or door side. It can be used as a general cargo container, as well as an open-top container. Here’s everything you need to know about these super-useful containers.

Know The Hard Top Container

Contrary to its name, the hard top containers have a removable roof which makes the movement of cargo inside the container easier. It is made of corrugated steel and the floor is made of wood for reducing friction. Most of the hard top containers have rings on the roof for accommodating forklift trucks, so it can be detached smoothly using forklifts. The weight of the roof is approximately 450 kg.

The best part about hard top containers is that in case the cargo height is more than the container height, the detachable roof can be lashed on the sidewall inside the container – thus, converting it to an open top container. That is why freight forwarders and shippers prefer purchasing hard top containers, which can be easily converted into open tops or used as a standardized container, as per the requirements.

For safely securing the cargo inside the container, lashing rings are installed in the upper and lower side rails, and corner posts (which can handle up to 2000 kg load), and middle of sidewalls (with 500 kg load handling capacity) — only if the roof of the container is closed.

Just like standard ISO containers, hard-top come in 20’ and 40’ dimensions. They can also be found in high-cube dimensions. Here’s how hard top container look:

hard top container

Hard top container. photo from CHS Container Group

hard top container

Hard top container. photo from CHS Container Group

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Hard Top Containers: Dimensions

Containers are made according to standard sizes set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Hard top containers are available as 20ft, 40ft, and high cube containers. Here are the internal measurements and capacity of these containers:

Measure 20ft HT 40ft HT 40ft High Cube HT
Internal length 5.89 m / 19.3 ft 12.03 m / 39.5 ft 12.03 m / 39.5 ft
Internal width 2.34 m / 7.8 ft 2.34 m / 7.8 ft 2.34 m / 7.8 ft
Internal height 2.38 m / 7.9 ft 2.38 m / 7.9 ft 2.69 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 2,700 kg / 5,950 lbs 4,700 kg / 10,362 lbs 5,200 kg / 11,470 lbs
Payload capacity 27,780 kg / 61,244 lbs 27,300 kg / 60,180 lbs 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs
Cubic capacity 33.0 m3 / 1,165 ft3 65.3 m3 / 2,306 ft3 76.3 m3 / 2,694 ft3

Hard Top Containers are used for transporting all types of general dry cargo and bulk cargo like cement, automotive, construction goods, steel, etc. They are especially functional for heavy & very heavy goods, and heightened cargo — which need to be loaded through the roof or doors using a forklift, crane, or crab. Cargo transported especially using hard top containers include marble, glass sheets, raw materials (like coal), large machinery, etc.

In terms of volume, how much can you fit in a 40ft hard top container?

760 medium trees. Or, 1200 small packaging boxes. Or, contents of four 2 bedroom houses.

But, to simplify things in standard sizes: according to European pallet size (1.2m x 0.8m), you can fit in 30 pallet stacks in a 40ft Hard top high cube container. For American pallets (1.01m x 1.21m), it can fit 25 pallet stacks.

Trading Hard Top Containers

Hard top containers are a versatile choice as sea transporting containers and warehouse containers to load bulk goods, extremely heavy cargo, and oversized cargo that needs to be loaded from the top.

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