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About Containers

40ft Standard Container vs 40ft High Cube Container

By July 19th, 2011 About Containers 76 Comments

Question:  What is the difference between a 40ft High Cube and a 40ft Standard Height Container?

The primary difference between a 40ft Standard height container and a 40ft High Cube Container is the difference in height of exactly one foot. The 40ft Standard container is 8ft 6 in high on the exterior which corresponds to a 7ft 10in height on the interior. A 40ft Standard container has 2,350 cu ft of storage space on the interior, whereas the 40ft High Cube container has 2,694 cu ft of storage space. This additional height gives the 40ft High Cube container an extra 344 cu ft of storage capacity.

All the other specifications remain the same in terms of the width and length.

Another difference in the 40ft High Cube container versus the 40ft Standard container is the weight. The 40ft High Cube container weighs 8,775 lbs. The 40ft Standard container weighs 8,000 lbs. Both the 40ft High Cube container and 40ft Standard container have a Maximum Gross Weight (weight of container and the cargo inside) of 67,200 lbs. When it comes to shipping the weight limit is the same. On the other hand, if you are using a shipping container for on-site storage and it is not being moved, the weight limit is irrelevant.



  1. Bo cook
    July 17th, 2013

    Could some one please advise if I can fit 15 units each measuring 2050mm x 2050mm x 870mm in a standard 40ft container or would I require HQ ?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. admin
    July 17th, 2013


    The following are the internal dimensions of a 40’STD and 40’HC container. Hopefully this information is helpful.
    40’STD – 12,031mm x 2,352mm x 2,383mm, Door opening 2,343mm W x 2,280mm H
    40’HC – 12,031mm x 2,352mm x 2,698mm, Door opening 2,343mm W x 2,585mm H

    These dimensions may vary slightly depending on the container. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional questions. Ray Gregorio –

  3. Ziad
    January 12th, 2014

    Can anyone tell me what is the difference between 40’HC and 40’GP container?
    I would really appreciate a quick reply

  4. admin
    January 13th, 2014

    GP stands for “General Purpose”. Most marine shipping containers are considered GP containers. Standard height containers are 8’6″H on the exterior. When you see a 40’GP container, that means the container is 8’6″H. The HC stands for “High Cube”. A high cube container is 9’6″H on the exterior (1′ taller than a standard height container). When you see a 40’HC container, that means the container is 9’6″H. I hope this helps!

  5. TD
    January 26th, 2014

    Can you give an an approximate % difference in cost to ship a HC container vs a standard height 40′? I would be shipping from Miami to Panama.

  6. admin
    January 27th, 2014

    Thanks for the comment! We sell shipping containers but do not actually provide international/overseas shipping service. I recommend contacting a freight forwarding company. Crane Worldwide is located just outside of Atlanta and can most likely assist you. Their number is (678) 586-2500. Ask for Bobby Noonan. If you are in the market for a container, please let me know. I hope this information is helpful.

  7. John
    February 11th, 2014


    Both 40′ standard and 40′ HC are shipped at the same cost.

  8. admin
    February 11th, 2014

    Thanks for the comment! 40′ containers can be transported over the road using either tilt bed trailers, flat bed trailers or step deck trailers. The same tilt bed trailer can handle both the STD or HC 40′ containers (as the trailers are low enough to the ground to avoid any DOT height restrictions). There is typically no cost difference to transport either size on a tilt bed trailer. However, that is not necessarily the case with flat bed or step deck trailers. Standard 40′ containers can be transported on a flat bed trailer. However, 40’HC containers are typically transported on step deck trailers (as they are over height on standard flat bed trailers). There are usually some additional costs involved when transporting a 40’HC container on a step deck. I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me directly at with any questions. Thanks, Ray

  9. Vivek
    March 21st, 2014

    Dear All,

    I request you to kindly advice that how many cartons can be stuffed in 40 hq container for following measurement 40.6×16.5×34.3cm,weight per carton is 5 kg.Thanks in advance

  10. admin
    March 21st, 2014

    Based on your information, you would be able to load approximately 3,100 cartons into a 40’HC container. Our calculations are based on general dimensions and cargo capacity for a 40’HC container. Hope this information is helpful!

  11. Paresh
    April 5th, 2014

    Please Advice if there are any 40HC or 40STD Containers available with Max Cargo weight of 30.500 Tonnes

  12. admin
    April 10th, 2014

    Thanks for your comment. The maximum cargo capacity of a 40’HC or 40’STD container is approximately 56,000 lbs (28 tons). I hope this information is helpful.

  13. Uday
    July 23rd, 2014

    Please suggest the approximately shipping charges for standard and High Cube 40′ container from Mumbai to Rotterdam

  14. admin
    July 29th, 2014

    I’m sorry but we do not actually provide services for international shipping. My recommendation is to contact a freight forwarding or logistics company. They should be able to provide you with the information you’ve requested.

  15. July 30th, 2014

    can we stuff the cargo of below dimension in 40 HC container?

    1 cage 192 L x 112 W x 267 H in CM – Gross weight 1.140,00 kg


  16. admin
    July 30th, 2014

    The length and width of your cage is not a problem. However, it’s too tall to fit inside the container. The inside height is approximately 244 cm. I hope this information is helpful.

  17. Aqeel
    September 17th, 2014

    Hi Admin, Please let me know about the thickness of walls of standard 40ft container in mm. Urgent reply will be highly appreciate it.

  18. admin
    September 17th, 2014

    Thanks for your question. Below are the general specs for the side wall assembly of a standard 40′ container. I hope this information is helpful.

    3.7 Side Wall Assembly
    The side walls will be continuously welded to each other and to the end rails and corner
    posts. Welding penetration side panels to rails should be min.75%.
    3.7.1 Top Side Rails
    Each top side rail is used a square steel pipe. Rail : 60 x 60 x 3.0 mm
    3.7.2 Side Walls
    Each side wall will be composed of a number of sheets of the same thickness, fully
    vertically corrugated into trapezium section, butt welded together to form one panel by
    automatic welding.
    Trapezium − Depth : 36 mm
    Outerface : 72 mm
    Interface : 70 mm
    Slope : 68 mm
    Pitch : 278 mm
    Side panel : 1.6 mm thick Qty. : 11 pcs / each side.

  19. September 26th, 2014

    Hi Admin,

    I am a freight broker, usually I move 1 and 2 TEU containers as a unit. I am not familiar with volume conversions. However, I have a client that has 2 x 40′ HC containers of goods, and wants to know how many and which types of trailers to order. Would that volume of product fit in 2 x 48′ dry vans, or should I dispatch 53’s just to be safe?

    Thank you in advance for your reply!

    – Chris

  20. admin
    September 29th, 2014

    Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the inquiry. If I’m not mistaken the dry vans are 102″W x 9’6″H. The high cube containers are 96″W x 9’6″H. Not only are the dry vans longer but they are 6″ wider than the containers. I would think that 2 x 48′ dry vans would be sufficient to handle the cargo from 2 x 40’HC containers. However, dispatching 2 x 53’s just to be safe may not be a bad idea. Hope this helps! Ray

  21. admin
    September 29th, 2014

    Hello Elham,

    Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately we do not provide international shipping service. I would reach out to your logistics company or freight forwarder. They should be able to provide you with the information you need.

  22. October 29th, 2014

    Can any body explain me the difference between 40 ft DV container and 40 ft HC container? The soonest answer will be appreciated.

  23. admin
    October 29th, 2014

    When referring to a container, DV means “Dry Van”. You may also see them referred to as 40ft GP containers. GP means “General Purpose”. DV and GP are used interchangeably. A 40ft DV container is a standard height container (8ft 6in high on the exterior). A 40ft HC is referencing a “High Cube” container. A HC is 1ft taller than a standard height container (9ft 6in high on the exterior). Hope this information is helpful.

  24. Diedre
    December 17th, 2014

    How many 46.875 X 48.000 X 46.9 pallets and 48.690 X 47.500 X 43.1 pallets fit in a 41′ HC container?

  25. admin
    January 6th, 2015

    Hello Diedre,
    Thanks for the question. A 40’HC container has an interior dimension of 39′ 5-11/16″L x 7′ 8 1/2″W x 7′ 10-3/16″H. The door opening is 7′ 8-5/16″W x 7′ 5-11/16″H. Hopefully this information helps you determine how many pallets of your product can be loaded in the container.

  26. Eric
    December 30th, 2014

    What are real distances between the 4 locking pins? Trying to do a concrete foundation.

  27. admin
    January 6th, 2015

    Hello Eric,
    Thanks for the question. If you are referring to a standard 20′ or 40′ container, they are exactly 8’W on the exterior. The corner castings are 6″ x 6″. Hope this information is helpful.

  28. Winnie
    December 31st, 2014

    Hi, I having a product with 337 mm height and it can only be loaded into standard 40 ft container with upright position. Is it possible for me to stack up 7 layers of 337mm height product which will be in total height of 2359mm?

  29. admin
    January 6th, 2015

    Hello Winnie,
    Thanks for the question. The interior dimensions of a standard 40ft container are approximately 12,031mm (length) x 2,352mm (width) x 2,393mm (height). The door opening is 2,343mm (width) x 2,280mm (height). These dimensions may vary slightly depending on the container. I hope this information is helpful.

  30. March 5th, 2015

    Admin can you help me for my below question.

    size of my carton is 475x307x227 mm, weight is 12 kgs per carton.

    could you please let me know, how many cartons can i put in a 20 feet as well in a 40 feeter reefer container. i also want to know these count using pallets for cartons as well as without pallets.

  31. admin
    March 5th, 2015

    Thanks for your inquiry. The following are the internal dimensions and cargo capacity for a 20′ and 40′ reefer container –
    20′ – 5449mm L x 2290mm W x 2271mm H – cargo capacity is 28,880kg & 40′ – 11,590mm L x 2294mm W x 2554mm H – cargo capacity is 29,250kg
    Hopefully this information will allow you to determine how much of your product will fit into a unit. Please be advised that these are general dimensions and may vary slightly depending on the unit.

  32. May 2nd, 2015

    what is the difference between 40′ OT HC and 45′ HC containers in cost?

  33. admin
    May 21st, 2015

    Hello Amer,
    Thanks for the question. This isn’t always a simple question to answer. Pricing will vary depending on the condition of the container, location of the container, if the container needs to be certified for shipping or not, etc. The purchase price for a used 40’OT HC container will typically range from $5,350 – $5,850. Pricing can vary quite a bit, however, depending on whether it has a tarp or not. The purchase price for a used 45’HC container will typically range from $1,950 – $2,350. These are average prices for used containers that are in wind & watertight condition and are not re-certified for shipping. Pricing is based on current availability and market conditions. I hope this information is helpful.

  34. jonalyn romualdo
    May 21st, 2015

    good day!! i just wanted to ask How much is the shipping cost of the 40ft high cube container from hong kong to philippines? thank you

  35. admin
    May 21st, 2015

    Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, it’s one that we are not able to answer. We do not provide shipping service for any locations outside of the USA. I’m sorry we are not able to assist you. You may consider contacting a freight forwarding or logistics company for that information.

  36. walid
    August 4th, 2015

    Can anyone tell me what is the 40OT IGG?

    I would really appreciate a quick reply

  37. admin
    August 7th, 2015

    Hello Walid,
    40OT stands for 40 ft open top container. I’m sorry but we do not know what IGG means. That’s not something we’ve ever seen when referencing containers. Sorry we are not more help.

  38. Sandi
    January 13th, 2016

    Good morning
    is the same chassis used to move a 40′ or 53′ intermodal container?

  39. admin
    January 14th, 2016

    Hello Sandi,
    Thanks for the question. A chassis that can handle a 40′ container, is typically not able to handle a 53′ container. However, there are chassis that are adjustable or have multiple axles. That type of chassis may be able to handle both sizes. However, they are not that readily available. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions.

  40. Creso
    March 23rd, 2016

    Hi Ray,

    I am starting in the business of importing goods to the US and I was wondering what would be the advantage ( commercially) to buy a 40′ HC or 40’STD container as opposed to using the one provided by the transporting company?

    I would imagine that the answer is that if I have it ( the container) I will not need to be charged for it in my transportation service. My question is then given the typical price of a 40’HC container, when will I break even and will have saved enough to cover the cost of the container I purchased? And are there cost associated with having a 40’HC container? Where Can I park/store it ?

  41. Ray
    March 31st, 2016

    Hi Creso,
    Thank you for your comments/inquiry. Unfortunately, we may not be the best company to answer your questions. We don’t have much experience with the costs involved in importing/exporting containers. We primarily sell to end users that utilize the containers for storage purposes (not shipping). While we do sell containers from time to time that are used for shipping, it’s primarily one-way shipping. The containers are not used in service over a period of time. Since we do not provide shipping/logistics services, I’m not sure how those costs would break out versus owning the containers. You may have better luck by contacting your freight forwarder or logistics company. They should be able to provide some insight as to the costs/information you require. I’m sorry that we are not more help. Thanks, Ray

  42. Rukshan
    March 29th, 2016

    Can anyone tell me the difference between a 40 HC and a 40 HW

  43. Ray
    March 31st, 2016

    Hello Rukshan,
    Thanks for the question. A 40HC container is a “high cube” container. This means it is 1 ft taller than a standard height or GP (general purpose) container. A 40HW is a “high cube pallet wide” container. It’s the same height as a HC container, but it’s a little wider and is able to handle wider palletized product. I hope this information is helpful. Thanks, Ray

  44. Dave
    September 15th, 2016

    Will a 40 foot High Cube container handle it’s own span, say like if it were placed across a basement foundation without any bearing support under the container in toward the center of it? If it does need bearing support across it’s span, would I just need it in the center, or maybe 1/3, and 2/3 the way through it’s span? Of course, I am referring to building a house from these HC 40 footers. I believe that the base as well as the top of these are girded with some very strategic tube steel throughout their span.

    I would really like to know exactly how these containers are made so as to know how to cut, and drill, and mount.

  45. Ray
    October 6th, 2016

    Thanks for your questions/comments. You’ve asked some excellent questions. Shipping containers can certainly be used for residential applications. However, the structural integrity of each container should definitely be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, we do not have an engineer or architect in-house. Anytime we perform modifications for a customer, we require them to provide us with engineered drawings (if the structure of the container is going to be altered). If you are planning on stacking, cutting/removing sections of corrugation, etc., I would definitely suggest working with a structural engineer. You may also find some valuable information on the ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes) website. Here is a link to the website – I hope this information is helpful. I’m sorry that I’m not able to be more help to you. Ray

  46. Noele Hughes
    November 7th, 2016

    I’m trying to figure out the Load Plan for a 40HC. Being that the Height of the Door of a 40HC is slightly less than the Height of the Interior, I’m assuming I have to take this slightly less Door measurement into consideration when planning the maximum height of my Load. The pallets need to be able to clear the opening of the container. Correct? What is the maximum height allowable on a 40HC to makes this clearance?

  47. Ray
    November 22nd, 2016

    Noele, Thanks for your questions. You are correct about the door height being less than the interior height of the container. The door height of a 40HC is approximately 8 ft 5-11/16 in. The interior height of a 40HC is approximately 8 ft 10-3/16 in. The height of the door is approximately 5 in lower than the interior height of the container. I hope this information is helpful. Ray

  48. Lawrence
    November 10th, 2016

    Regarding the modification of the container, we would like to know if we can ship a modified container office unit with windows and doors installed to overseas. Would the container office be regarded still as a container or a merchandise? Would it be able to be shipped on a container vessel? Can it be “stackable” with other containers without any deformation or any influence on its structure? Please kindly advise. Thank you!


  49. Ray
    November 22nd, 2016

    Hello Lawrence, Thanks for the questions. A modified container (such as you’ve described) cannot be shipped in the conventional manner on a container vessel. In order for a container to be stacked, nothing can protrude outside of the corners (or exterior dimensions of the container). In order for a container to be re-certified for shipping, you cannot modify the container from it’s original structure. Depending on where you are shipping the container, you may be able to barge it over. The shipping requirements for barging a container are not as strict as container vessels. You can also mount the container onto a chassis. When doing so, the container is now considered a trailer and does not fall under the same requirements as a container. Since the container mounted onto a chassis (is now on wheels), it can be stored in the cargo hold of the vessel (as a roll on roll off). I would definitely check with your freight forwarder/logistics company regarding these restrictions. They should be able to give you some additional guidance. I hope this information is helpful. Ray

  50. Temy
    March 1st, 2017

    Can a tilt bed trailer drop off to the ground a loaded 45hc container with a total weight of 15 ton.
    Loading the container is not the problem because it will be a the port. The problem is unloading it at the destination.

  51. Ray
    March 10th, 2017

    Temy, Thanks for your question. Usually a tilt bed trailer is only able to handle an empty container. However, there are some trailers that are rated to handle loaded containers. It just depends on the capacity of the trailer. I recommend contacting the trucking company that is handling the delivery for you. They should be able to answer your question regarding the capabilities of their trailer. I hope this helps.

  52. Zahid
    April 1st, 2017

    What is the weight of empty 40 feet container.

  53. Ray
    April 6th, 2017

    They weigh approximately 8,000 lbs.

  54. Mike Politis
    May 26th, 2017

    Is the 40 ft HC container equipped with hooks or rings to tie down the cargo in smaller sections for better stability? If yes, how many and at what distance between ties? Thank you! Mike

  55. Ray
    June 2nd, 2017

    Hello Mike, Thanks for checking us out. The interior is equipped with lashing rings or tie down rings. They run along the top and bottom rail of each side of the container. There are typically 10 rings along each rail (20 per side, 40 in total). They are spaced out equidistant along each side wall. I hope this help. Thanks, Ray

  56. Tuong Nguyen
    June 1st, 2017

    Hi there,

    I am looking to import fragile lighting goods from China to Vietnam. I would like to ask should we use a 40’gp or a 40’hq container for the transportation process?

    Thank you very much in advance. Have a good rest of the day.

  57. Ray
    June 2nd, 2017

    Hello Tuong, Thanks for the question. A 40’hq container is going to hold more product than a 40’gp container, as they offer more interior height/storage capacity. You can get more of your items in a 40’hq container. Hope this helps. Thanks, Ray

  58. October 28th, 2017

    Hi Ray,

    You wrote a very informative article. I would like to know one thing i.e. insulation. I have physically seen some containers having double layer corrugated sheets as wall with some sort of insulating material between them. However, recently looking at some youtube videos, i found out that there are also containers with single corrugated sheet as wall/roof. Is it true? If so, what is the difference in naming convention? how one can identify whether the container is with insulation or without it.

    PS. Container with insulation was NOT having any cooling system inside. I mean not reefer container.

    Thanks & best regards.

  59. Ray
    November 13th, 2017

    Hi Umar,
    Thanks for the comments and questions. If I’m understanding you correctly, you are asking about the different types of container walls/insulation??? A standard shipping container (steel ISO container) is typically not insulated. They have 14 gauge corrugated steel walls/roof. If the interior has been finished (walls have been lined with some sort of paneling), that’s a pretty good indicator of the unit being insulated. This is something that would usually happen in the aftermarket. However, unless you know where the unit came from, there’s really no way to tell if there is insulation behind the paneling (unless you cut into it). Reefer containers are manufactured with insulation between the outer wall/inner lining. I hope this information is helpful. Ray

  60. Alin
    January 10th, 2018

    Hello, I will buy a certain number of cubic meters of oak lumber. the size is: 27mm thickness x 205-280 width x 2000-2500 length. Because the width and the length are variable the exact number of cubic meters is not sure, I am aware of this; however, around how many cubic meters should fit in a 40 HQ container? thanks

  61. Ray
    January 15th, 2018

    Hi Alin,

    Thanks for finding us and for the inquiry. Here are the interior dimensions of a 40’HC container – 12,031 mm (length) x 2,352 mm (width) x 2,698 mm (height) and the interior capacity is 76.4 Cubic Meters or 2,698 Cubit Feet. Hopefully, this information will help you determine how much product you can fit into the container. I would also advise checking with your freight forwarder or logistics company, as they should be able to help you with this information. Thanks, Ray

  62. Sunny Nguyen
    January 15th, 2018

    Hello there,

    We are planning to load export goods in 1×40’HC
    Cartons size is 80cm x42cmx46.5cm.
    Please advise with total 456cartons can be stuffed in 1×40’HC

    Thanks in advance for your advise!

    Best Regards,

  63. Ray
    January 15th, 2018

    Hello Sunny,
    Thanks for finding us. The following are the interior dimensions of a 40’HC container – 12,031 mm (length) x 2,352 mm (width) x 2,698 mm (height) and the interior capacity is 76.4 Cubic Meters or 2,698 Cubic Feet. Hopefully, this information will help you determine how much product you can fit into the container. I would also advise checking with your freight forwarder or logistics company, as they should be able to help you with this information. Thanks, Ray

  64. KARAN
    April 18th, 2018

    dear sir,

    please advise me defference between 40DC & 40HC container?

  65. Ray
    April 23rd, 2018

    Hello Karan,
    A 40DC is 8’6″H and a 40HC is 9’6″H. That’s pretty much it. The HC unit is 1 foot taller. Hope this information is helpful. Thanks, Ray

  66. bob
    July 18th, 2018


  67. raijuddin
    May 23rd, 2019

    how i can make two documents for same 1 49 ft hc container with same goods to ship

    June 11th, 2019

    GET US BEST LOADING PLAN OF AN ITEM HAVING SIZE OF 96 X 45 X 204 CMS IN AN 40 Ft HQ CONTAINER so as to accommodate maximum pcs in the container ( you can place the pc in whatever direction you want)

  69. Baraka
    August 22nd, 2019

    After knowing the storage capacity of HC containers. I’m curious about the following;
    1. Could HC container be termed as over-dimension?
    2. Could it attract surcharge in Port Handling charges over standard containers?

  70. Baraka
    August 22nd, 2019

    If yes give the reasons, if no give me reasons for the above interrogative comment.

  71. arc
    November 2nd, 2019

    why 40 ft standard is having more weight capacity vs 40 ft HQ. pls answer

  72. Rick
    December 3rd, 2019

    … and the 40ft high container is how many feet in height ? I might have missed that but it goes standard height ft to high cubic feet additional please advise

  73. Nasseema
    February 24th, 2020

    what the difference between a 40GP & a 40 FT?

  74. March 4th, 2020

    In your experience, what is the proportion of standard versus high cube containers at this moment (i.e. 50%-50%)? I think that more and more HC are being fabricating, but there is still a large number of standard containers.

  75. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2020


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