News & Articles

JUL 23 2017

Shipping Container Sizes: What You Need To Know

Posted in General

When a shipping company asks a client what shipping container size s/he needs, the tendency is for the client to draw a blank. After all, for them, it should really be as easy as just itemizing all of your personal belongings and shipping them into those compact containers, right?

There are actually different containers one can use when moving items from one place to another. The key is to find just the right size so that the items aren’t dislodged in transit. Nor should the items be crushed on a container that’s too small. 

Most popular containers
The most popular containers are enclosed 20ft and 40ft containers. These are standard enclosed containers which are used to transport the contents of one household to another one which is probably in a place that’s too far away. The size difference would depend on how many items a shipping client owns.

If you’re a bachelor and you’re shipping a few furniture pieces and a few accumulated things, a 20 ft container might be more than enough. A small family with two kids, on the other hand, might have items which could fit snuggly in a 40 ft container. Usually, these shipping companies also require standard sized boxes. They can give you guidelines about the number of boxes you’re allowed to bring per container size, and the weight limit per cargo.

Smaller containers
There are also containers which are made for people who are living alone, or for someone who has already transported some of his/her things and just needs a few items to be transferred later on. These containers, which are sized at 8ft or 10ft, are usually also used for office furniture which could fit snuggly if they’re imported from another country.

Take note that these standard, enclosed containers are designed only for dry items. If you’re thinking of transporting fresh produce, they won’t have the refrigeration necessary to preserve your shipped items.

Oversized items
Shipping oversized items which cannot be disassembled for transport is quite common. For example, if you’re transporting a bed with a large headboard, you might not be able to fit this well in a regular enclosed container.

Usually, tunnels, open-sided containers, and open-top containers are utilized for this purpose. You may also use flat racks which has no roof, no side panels, and end frames which could be collapsed.

Inner packaging
Unless you secure the packaging of your personal belongings, though, there’s no assurance that they will stay safe in the container. Usually, shipping companies recommend the use of bubble wraps, styrofoam, and scrap newspaper to fill in the gaps. What they are trying to avoid is the collision and friction of your personal items within the container during transportation.

You should take note that while shipping companies are liable for the loss of certain items, they won’t be accounted for the damage of unprotected items. You also need to make sure that all of the items you’ve included in a cargo are itemized and are of the same taxing category. Otherwise, you might have problems with the customs when you try to claim these items.