High cube containers are one of the most commonly used containers for shipping cargo after standard 20ft and 40ft containers. Providing extra space, these containers are the go-to choices for forwarders.

A distant, identical, but taller cousin of 40ft standard containers, these specialized high cube containers are much in demand due to the height advantage

But, there’s more to them than just the height!

Know The High Cube

Standard sized containers with a height of 9’6” are called High Cube Containers. They look like standard containers, but because they are a tad bit higher, they appear like a cube when viewed from the front and back – thus the name. Also called High cube, Hi-Cube, HC, or HQ, a majority of these containers are made from durable materials like steel or aluminum.

They have numerous lashing rings (mounted on front top end rail, bottom cross member, and corner posts) which can bear a maximum of 1000 kg load. Some High Cubes may have recesses in the floor which serves two purposes:

  • It helps in centering the containers on chassis, and
  • It allows these containers to lie lower and thus, have taller construction.

High cubes have become very common in the maritime industry because of the extra space they offer, courtesy height. This is how these popular cases look:

high cube container cover image

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How High Cubes Measure…

Containers are made according to standard sizes set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), so they can be stacked efficiently reducing the risk of toppling over during transit.

High Cube Containers are similar to the 40ft standard containers in length and breadth but have a height difference of exactly 1 foot — giving the HC an additional ~344 cu ft of storage capacity. They are also heavier. The difference between a standard 40ft container and a hi-cube container is:

Measure Standard High Cube
External length 12.2 m / 40 ft 12.2 m / 40 ft
External width 2.44 m / 8 ft 2.44 m / 8 ft
External height 2.60 m / 8.6 ft 2.90 m / 9.6 ft
Door Width 2.34 m / 7.8 ft 2.34 m / 7.8 ft
Door Height 2.26 m / 7.5 ft 2.57 m / 8.5 ft
Max Gross Weight 30,480 kg / 67,196 lbs 32,500 kg / 71,650 lbs

Mostly, high cube containers are 40ft tall, but they can also be 45ft (depending on the requirements). Here are the internal measurements and capacity of these containers:

Measure 40ft HC 45ft HC
Internal length 12.03 m / 39.5 ft 13.55 m / 44.5 ft
Internal width 2.35 m / 7.8 ft 2.35 m / 7.8 ft
Internal height 2.67 m / 8.9 ft 2.67 m / 8.9 ft
Tare weight 3,940 kg / 8,687 lbs 4,820 kg / 10,628 lbs
Payload capacity 28,600 kg / 63,052 lbs 27,860 kg / 61,431 lbs
Cubic capacity 76.3 m3 / 2,694.5 cu ft 86 m3 / 3,036 cu ft

Note: These containers are often considered over-heightened for inland transportation (tunnels, bridges, etc.)

High cubes are used to ship all kinds of dry cargo, just like standard containers. But, they are extremely functional for transporting light and large cargo, especially the ones with heights (maximum 2.70 m).

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

760 medium flower pots. 610 standard package boxes. 152 bicycles, give or take a couple. Or, contents of two 4 bedroom houses 😅

But, to simplify things in standard sizes: according to European pallet size (1.2m x 0.8m), you can fit in 25 pallet stacks in a 40ft high cube container. For American pallets (1.01m x 1.21m), it can fit 21 pallet stacks as long as they are not hanging over the sides.

Trading High Cubes

High Cubes have taken the world by the storm. According to a report, more than 50% of the containers used in the shipping maritime industry are high-cube 40ft containers.

These folks are high in demand. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell containers, we’ve got just the solution for you. With global buying and selling options, the Container Trading Platform at xChange offers you transparency, choice, and reliance.

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Container Types | High Cube Container – Explained
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Container Types | High Cube Container – Explained
High cube containers are one of the most commonly used containers for shipping cargo after standard 20ft and 40ft containers. Providing extra space, these containers are the go-to choices for forwarders.
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