The Definitive Shipping Container Capacity Chart

2 minute read
Jan 31, 2019
The Definitive Shipping Container Capacity Chart

If you’re planning to use a shipping container for storage, you’re probably wondering how much stuff you can fit inside. To help you gauge the amount of inventory or equipment you can keep in an onsite storage container, we’ve crunched the numbers and created the definitive container capacity chart.

  Weight capacity in pounds Weight capacity in kilograms Internal volume in cubic-feet Internal volume in cubic-meters Volumetric shelf space in cubic-feet Volumetric shelf space in cubic-meters
20-foot container ~55,000 lb ~24,900 kg 1156 cubic-feet 32.7 cubic-meters 405 cubic-feet 11.5 cubic-meters
20-foot high-cube container ~55,000 lb ~24,900 kg 1303.7 cubic-feet 36.9 cubic-meters 432 cubic-feet 12.2 cubic-meters
40-foot container ~61,000 lb ~27,600 kg 2367.2 cubic-feet 67 cubic-meters 810 cubic-feet 22.9 cubic-meters
40-foot high-cube container ~61,000 lb ~27,600 kg 2619 cubic-feet 74 cubic-meters 1620 cubic-feet 45.9 cubic-meters
10-foot container ~22,000 lb ~9,980 kg 555.5 cubic-feet 15.7 cubic-meters 135 cubic-feet 3.8 cubic-meters
10-foot high-cube container ~22,000 lb ~9,980 kg 626.4 cubic-feet 17.7 cubic-meters 144 cubic-feet 4.1 cubic-meters

Assumes 1.5-foot shelf depth with shelving along both long walls. While you can technically make a perfect shelving system that creates more space, these conservative calculations are based in designs that we have found to be cost-effective and practical for accommodating features like doors and climate control units.

The numbers above are calculated using the interior dimensions of shipping containers. When using these numbers to determine what you can store in your container, we recommend using a packing efficiency modifier because it’s nearly impossible to use every square inch of space. For example, if you need to gauge the volume of dry goods you can fit in a container with shelves, multiply the volumetric shelf space by a packing efficiency modifier of .8 or .7 to create a realistic estimate.

To give you a sense of scale here are some calculations we’ve made.

10 foot container loaded with oil drums

How many oil drums can you fit inside a container?

  • 10-foot standard and high cube containers = 40 drums
  • 20-foot standard and high cube containers = 80 drums
  • 40-foot standard and high cube containers = 160 drums

If you use every possible inch of space, how many banker’s boxes can you fit inside a container?

  • 10 foot standard container = 441 bankers boxes
  • 10-foot high cube container = 490 bankers boxes
  • 20-foot standard container = 912 bankers boxes
  • 20-foot high cube container = 1026 bankers boxes
  • 40-foot standard container = 1953 bankers boxes
  • 40-foot high cube container = 2170 bankers boxes

20-foot container filled to capacity with banker's boxes.

One twenty-foot container is 160 square feet - about the size of the smallest legal apartment in San Francisco.

Comparison between a shipping container and San Francisco's smallest apartment.

A 40-foot container could fit two Volkswagen Beetles with room to spare.

Two Volkswagen Beetles inside a 40-foot shipping container.

Storage containers can be modified to provide proper storage for a wide range of products. For instance, containers used for restaurant inventory storage usually include climate control features. Custom shelving and cabinetry also keep storage tidy. Whatever you plan to store, it will be secure inside a container, just review the chart above to make sure it will fit.

To learn more, check out our other resources:

Questions? Contact us at or 877-393-4219.

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