The standardized sea container has caused a revolution in the 20th century that has strongly influenced our daily life. Because the metal box has the same dimensions worldwide, it can be transported on land, at sea and in the air. This is efficiency at its best. You may be a novice internet entrepreneur or importer and you are wondering what exactly you can put in a sea container. We are going to explain it to you in great detail.
The standard size of containers is indicated in TEU. TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit . 1 TEU is 20 feet long, 8 wide and 8.6 high (6.1 m long, 2.44 m wide and 2.59 high). The most common sea container in the world for ship and truck transport is 2 TEU, which is 40 feet (12.19 m) long.
The internal dimensions are more important to you as an importer. After all, they determine how much actually goes into the container. The inside length is 12.03 m, the width is 2.35 m and the height is 2.39 m. The volume of a 40 foot container is therefore 67.5 m³ (cubic meters). The maximum permitted mass of the container is 30,480 kg, and it weighs 3800 kg empty, so 26,680 kg may be loaded in it.
Pay attention! The door opening of a sea container is less high and wide than the interior dimensions. The height of the door is in fact 2.28 m and the width is 2.34 m. Respectively 11 cm and 1 cm shorter than the ceiling and the walls.
The euro pallet: the most used pallet
Chances are that you want to import general cargo. General cargo is almost exclusively transported by sea container. Often the goods are loaded on Euro pallets, the worldwide standard size for pallets. A Euro pallet is 1.2 m long by 0.8 m wide and can be loaded a maximum of 2.20 m high. The euro pallet itself is 14.4 cm high. 23 to 24 Euro pallets fit on the floor of a 40-foot sea container.
All those sizes and surfaces may not mean much to you if you are more visual. On the basis of a few easily comparable objects, we will indicate how many things fit in a sea container.
Object for comparison 1: the dining room chair
First, an average dining room chair. In this example we assume a height of 95 cm, a width of 45 cm and a depth of 60 cm. One such chair takes up 0.26 m³. Of course, chairs can be stacked together, but in this hypothetical scenario we stack the chairs loosely on top of each other. A 40 foot container is 67.5 m³. Theoretically, 259.6 seats will fit. In the real world that is not possible of course. Just think, the container is 2.39 m high, so you can only put 2 chairs on top of each other.
In real life you can put 20 chairs in a row, 5 next to each other and 2 on top of each other. So 200 chairs with the sizes from this example fit in a 40 foot sea container.
Object for comparison 2: the moving box
The next object is easier to stack. Now we assume a Karwei moving box that is 33 cm high, 32 cm wide and 48 cm deep. One box has a volume of 0.05 m³. In theory, 1350 boxes can fit in a container.
Is that also possible in practice? 25 chairs can be placed in a row, 7 next to each other and 7 on top of each other. That is why 1225 Karwei moving boxes fit in a 40-foot sea container.
Object for comparison 3: a BMW 3 series
Finally, we will discuss the size of a BMW 3-series. Yes, cars can and are also transported by sea container. Traditionally, cars are transported on roll-on / roll-off ships. Vehicles in such ships are loose on the deck and in the hull. The chance of damage and theft is greater than with car transport by container. The advantage is that the car is protected in the steel shell. Empty space between the cars can also be filled to make optimal use of the space.
The 3 Series in our example is 4.65m long, 2m wide and 1.45m high. The BMW takes up 13.5 m³, but the shape of a car is of course very irregular. 2 whole 3-series fit one after the other in the container. The cars are too high to stack 2 on top of each other. But there is 3 meters of space left between the two BMWs. Usually a third car can be placed diagonally on a rack (‘rack’ in English). Three entire BMW 3-series fit in a 40-foot sea container.
For example, cars are stacked in a container.
Knowledge is worth gold
A company that knows sea containers inside and out is Ademar BV from Rotterdam. They will help you determine how to get your shipment sent to the Netherlands as efficiently as possible. It is essential to organize the containers as economically as possible. With 39 years of experience, Ademar knows what to do with that. Call or email for more information.