Use this calculator to easily calculate how many items with particular dimensions you can fit in a container. Container stacking calculator.

Quick navigation:

- Using the container calculator
- List of standard container types
- Container loading: internal stacking calculation
- Container utilization vs. ease of internal stacking

## Using the container calculator

This is a fairly simple container loading calculator: it allows you to calculate **how many items of the same dimensions and weight (optional) you can fit in a single shipping container**. Currently it only supports simple stacking, meaning that each item will be placed next to the other, no complex rotations or ordering. While complex ordering can, in some cases, lead to stacking slightly more items, it is also more difficult for the people filling the containers to follow precisely.

For your convenience we have entered 8 of the most widely used container sizes in international shipping, so that you can perform the calculations quicker. For each of them we also have an estimate of the maximum load, so if you were to enter the weight of the item we will also calculate the overall cargo weight and warn you if it goes over the maximum container weight capacity. See below for a list of the standard sizes & maximum cargo weight.

## List of standard container types

The table represents the dimensions of the 8 standard container types that are predefined in our calculator. The internal dimensions are slightly different than the minimum internal size in ISO 668:2013, since in practice most manufacturers will deliver containers with larger internal dimensions (higher capacity, larger internal volume) than the minimum specs. The maximum payload is calculated based off the ISO standard, subtracting common tare weights.

Since each manufacturer produces slightly different containers, if you know the exact dimensions and maximum load capacity, then it is best to specify them using our container calculator's "Custom" option.

Container Type | Internal Dimensions (Width x Length x Height) | Max. cargo weight |
---|---|---|

45 foot standard | 2,340 x 13,550 x 2,360 mm = 2.34 x 13.55 x 2.36 m (7.677 x 44.455 x 7.74 ft) | 28,000 kg (61,729 lbs) |

45 foot high cube | 2,340 x 13,550 x 2,655 mm = 2.34 x 13.55 x 2.655 m = (7.677 x 44.455 x 8.71 ft) | 27,800 kg (61,288 lbs) |

40 foot standard | 2,350 x 12,030 x 2,390 mm = 2.35 x 12.03 x 2.39 m = (7.71 x 39.47 x 7.84 ft) | 28,800 kg (63,493 lbs) |

40 foot high cube | 2,350 x 12,030 x 2,655 mm = 2.35 x 12.03 x 2.655 m = (7.71 x 44.455 x 8.71 ft) | 28,600 kg (63,052 lbs) |

30 foot standard | 2,340 x 8,940 x 2,360 mm = 2.34 x 8.94 x 2.36 m = (7.677 x 29.33 x 7.74 ft) | 28,400 kg (62,611 lbs) |

30 foot high cube | 2,340 x 8,940 x 2,655 mm = 2.34 x 8.94 x 2.655 m = (7.677 x 29.33 x 8.71 ft) | 28,200 kg (62,170 lbs) |

20 foot standard | 2350 x 5900 x 2390 mm = 2.35 x 5.9 x 2.39 m = (7.71 x 19.357 x 7.84 ft) | 28,200 kg (62,170 lbs) |

20 foot high cube | 2350 x 5900 x 2655 mm = 2.35 x 5.9 x 2.655 m = (7.71 x 19.357 x 8.71 ft) | 28,000 kg (61,729 lbs) |

## Container loading: internal stacking calculation

In order to estimate how many items you can fit, you need to determine the optimal way to stack them so that you minimize unused volume in the container. This is a hard problem to solve, a so-called NP-hard problem (NP-problem stands for "Non-deterministic Polynomial acceptable problems"), meaning that they cannot be solved in polynomial time.

However, if we limit ourselves to simple orderings of the items, in which **all items are oriented the same way with respect to the container interior**, then there are only six ways you can arrange a set of items with 3 dimensions (*the cargo*) in a 3-dimensional box (*the container*). You can use our Combinations calculator to check that if unsure - 3 objects, choose 2 from each. If we denote the width, height and length of each item with w, h and l, and the corresponding container dimensions with W, H, and L, then these look like so:

- Orient w alongside W, h alongside L, l alongside H
- Orient w alongside W, l alongside L, h alongside H
- Orient h alongside W, w alongside L, l alongside H
- Orient h alongside W, l alongside L, w alongside H
- Orient l alongside W, w alongside L, h alongside H
- Orient l alongside W, h alongside L, w alongside H

Once you know the alignment, you can calculate for each of the six stacking orders how many items you can fit in the volume, by iteratively adding items in each container dimensions until you run out of space in that direction. Then you can compare the total used volume (or number of items, if the items are the same) in each of the six cases and select the variant that makes best use of the available space. Or, instead of going through all this hard work you can let our **container calculator** do the job for you.

## Container utilization vs. ease of internal stacking

In order to understand the issue it is useful to do a brief review of the fascinating **history of the shipping container** ^{[2]}, which we owe to the invention of Malcolm McLean. Upon noticing that a significant part of the cargo transportation time and costs are associated with port costs (some analysis from the late 1950s say 60-70%, others find lower numbers at ~40% of total costs), McLean invented the shipping container to reduce shipping time and costs. It should be noted that the costs were not only direct ones, but also loses due to cargo damaged during handling, loading and unloading. The first containers of the McLean company started travelling on April 26, 1956. Loading costs have since plummeted from $5.86 to about $0.16 per ton (97% reduction)! Loading times have improved from 1.3 tonnes per hour in 1965 to 30 tonnes per hour in 1970, to over 74 tonnes per hour by 1980. In the mid-1980s some Asian ports where loading **24 containers per hour ^{[3]}**! (each of which may be loaded to a different extent, but 28 tonnes per container is possible)

Before that you had cases, cartons, bags, boxes, bundles, drums, cans, barrels, crates, reels, etc. You needed to waste an inordinate amount of time manually handling all of these small, differently sized and weighted items. Now that you have a container, you no longer need to do that, but if you want maximum utilization, this might mean **increasing the amount of manual work** and its complexity (and thus execution time). While for port and ship operators it is all about how many tonnes they can shift per hour, for the people handling the contents of the containers the simplicity of the internal stacking can make a significant difference, so consult them if considering a more complex scheme that will utilize a slightly higher percentage of the volume.

In the end you want to take the advantage of containerization which is that as long as the items are in the container, they travel very cheap and relatively fast, without going overboard while trying to stuff as many items as theoretically possible.

#### References

[1] ISO 668:2013

[2] Tomlinson J. (2009) "History and Impact of the Intermodal Shipping Container", *Pratt Institute*

[3] Trace K. (1988) "Handmaiden of Trade: A Study on ASEAN-Australia Shipping", *Singapore University Press* p.127

## FAQs

### How do you calculate container load capacity? ›

Take note: the container's capacity is evaluated by its cubic measurement as well as the maximum weight of the cargo it can carry. ***Cubic feet of a container is calculated by multiplying the internal size of the container – inside length x height x width**.

**How is container loading plan calculated? ›**

Figure the cubic feet of the cargo bags for the container load by multiplying your measurements for the length, width and height. Add the total of these figures to determine the total cubic feet for the cargo bags in the load.

**How do you calculate number of boxes that can fit in a container? ›**

(Length of the container) / (length of the box) = number of rows of boxes. (Width of the container) / (width of the box) = number of boxes per row. (Height of the container) / (height of the box) = number of rows per column. Then you just multiply the three numbers together to get the total number of boxes.

**What is the loading capacity of 40 feet container? ›**

What's the maximum load for a 40-foot container? A 40-foot container's empty weight is 3,750kg and can be loaded to a maximum overall weight of **29 tons** (26,300kg).

**How do you calculate capacity? ›**

**The Process Capacity of workers is called human capacity, while that of machines is called machine capacity.**

- They are calculated by means of the following formula:
- Human capacity = actual working hours x attendance rate x direct labor rate x equivalent manpower.

**How much we can load in 20ft container? ›**

What's the maximum load for a 20-foot container? A 20-foot container's unloaded weight is 2,300 kg and can, in theory, be loaded to a maximum weight of **28 tons** (25,400kg).

**How do you make a container loading plan? ›**

**5 tips for a better container loading plan**

- Use load planning software. In the old days, an experienced load planner worked with graph paper, a ruler and a pencil to figure out how best to fit cargo into a container. ...
- Measure carefully. ...
- Choose containers strategically. ...
- Get creative with packaging. ...
- Make your cargo more compact.

**What is container stuffing? ›**

Container stuffing is **the process by which goods are loaded into a container to be shipped**. Container stuffing isn't just a matter of randomly placing items in a container until it reached capacity. It is a process that requires careful planning that takes into consideration the unloading or de-stuffing process.

**How do you load a container? ›**

How To Load A Container - YouTube

**How many double stacked pallets fit in a 20ft container? ›**

A 20'ft container can hold eleven "Europallets" in one tier or **nine to ten standard pallets in one tier** while a 40' container can hold 23-24 "Europallets" in one tier or 20-21 standard pallets in one tier.

### How many CBM can fit in a 20ft container? ›

**How do you calculate container utilization? ›**

The container's capacity is rated by its cubic measurement as well as the maximum weight of the cargo it can carry. The internal capacity of the container is measured in cubic feet. This is calculated by **multiplying the internal size of the container--the inside length, height and width**.

**What is the maximum load to containers of 20 and 40? ›**

The maximum cargo weight that can be safely and legally loaded, when a triaxle chassis is used, for most US areas is: In a 20” container – **44,000 lbs (19,958kg)** **In a 40” container – 44,500 lbs (20,185kg)**.

**How much weight can you stack on a shipping container? ›**

When stacking shipping containers, it's important to know how much weight they can withstand and how many containers can be stacked on top of each other. In general, **a 20' container may weigh up to 5000 pounds and hold up to 60,000 pounds.** **A 40' container may weigh up to 10,000 pounds and hold up to 120,000 pounds**.

**How many TEU are in a 40 container? ›**

A forty-foot container is regarded as two twenty-foot containers or **2 TEUs** (sometimes referred to as FEU, Forty Foot Equivalent Unit). To calculate how many TEU a container is, just divide the actual length in feet by twenty. For example, one forty-foot container is two TEUs.

**What is the capacity of a container? ›**

The capacity of a container is another word for **the volume of material it will hold**. It's usually measured in liters or gallons. It isn't the same as the volume the container would displace if you immersed it in water. The difference between these two quantities is the thickness of the container walls.

**What are the different types of capacity? ›**

Capacity is defined under 3 categories; **design capacity, effective capacity and actual capacity**.

**What is capacity rate? ›**

The capacity utilization rates are **measures of the intensity with which industries use their production capacity**. Capacity utilization is the percentage of actual to potential output. Data release - September 9, 2022.

**What is the weight of 20ft empty container? ›**

20ft. When empty, the weight of a 20-foot shipping container is **5,071 lbs**. Its maximum gross weight can go up to 55,126 lbs.

**What is the weight of 40ft container? ›**

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.

### What is container loading plan? ›

What is load planning? Load planning, also called load optimization, is **the process of consolidating multiple shipments and/or arranging freight to use the capacity of trucks, railcars, pallets, and any other types of containers in the most efficient way**.

**What is the most important factor to consider while loading containers? ›**

The most important factors to consider when loading containers are **weight distribution and ease of loading and unloading**.

**How is stowage plan calculated? ›**

The formula for calculating a stowage factor is **one long ton, or 2,240 pounds, multiplied by the volume in cubic feet.** **The result is divided by the cargo weight in pounds to find the stowage factor**, which is the number of cubic feet required for stowing one long ton of a specific cargo.

**What is stuffing date in shipping? ›**

Stack Dates and Container Stuffing

Stack dates are **the dates announced by a port based on a ship's ETA (Expected Time of Arrival)**. These dates are announced so that the shipper can send their loaded or empty containers to the port for loading onboard the ship on these dates.

**What are the different types of cargo stuffing? ›**

**CFS Stuffing, Factory Stuffing and Direct Stuffing** are used at an export CFS stations / Inland Container Depot in related to stuffing of goods in to container. These terms are different types of loading at ICD/CFS.

**What is container stuffing location? ›**

Container stuffing location – **Name and address(es) of the physical location(s) where the goods were stuffed into the container**. For break bulk shipments, the name and address(es) of the physical locations(s) where the goods were made “ship ready” must be provided.

**How do you load a 40 shipping container? ›**

**Pack like items together, such as put a row of boxes, containing heavy books or cookware on the bottom, before loading in more fragile items like glassware near the top**. In addition, avoid packing any liquids with other sensitive items, and keep liquids on the bottom, secured carefully.

**What is loading a container called? ›**

Containerization is also referred as "**Container Stuffing**" or "Container Loading", which is the process of unitization of cargoes in exports.

**How do you load cargo in a container? ›**

Load the larger and heavier cargo and boxes containing non-fragile items that are at first; **put them on the bottom and make sure that they are evenly distributed over the container's floor area**. With this, you could be assured that your shipping container is not proportionately heavy on one side.

**How many pallets fit in a 40 stack double container? ›**

40ft standard containers fit up to **20 Standard Pallets**, and 24 Euro Pallets.

### How many CBM is a 40ft container? ›

A standard 40 ft container is about 2.4 m × 2.4 m × 12 m. To calculate CBM, we need to multiply the dimensions together to get **69.12 cubic meters**.

**How many 40 foot containers fit in a cargo ship? ›**

These ships are enormous, measuring approximately 400 meters in length and carrying up to 18,270 TEUs, or **about 9,135** forty-foot containers (one forty-foot container equals two TEUs).

**How many CBM is 1 kg? ›**

EQUIVALENCE: **1 CBM** = 1.000 KG.

**How can calculate CBM of container? ›**

**Length x Width x Height = CBM**

This is the formula used to measure your cargo volume in CBM (m³). Say, you have a carton that is 2 metres long, 2 metres wide and 2 metres high. Then, its volume is 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 m³.

**How do you calculate container capacity in Litres? ›**

So, to convert fluid ounces to liters, you would **divide the number of fluid ounces by 33.81.** **2.113 fluid pints (fl pt) in 1 liter**. So, to convert fluid pints to liters, you would divide the number of fluid pints by 2.113. 1.057 quarts (qt) in 1 liter.

**How much is full container load? ›**

Cargo volume

This is usually measured in cubic meters. If the shipment is **between 2 and 13m ^{3}** then LCL shipping is a favorable option. Shipments of volume less than 2m

^{3}may also be shipped with LCL under certain circumstances. If your shipment size is more than 13m

^{3}then FCL method of shipping may be more suitable.

**How do you calculate the weight of a container? ›**

The standard formula used is **length (cm) x width (cm) x height (cm) ÷ 6000 = volumetric weight (KG)/1 CBM** ≈ 166.6666 KG.

**What is the maximum weight you can load in a 40 container? ›**

40' Container Max Load: **59,200 lbs**.

Due to similarities in cargo capacity between a 20ft container and 40ft container, it is important to know which size to choose to meet your requirements.

**What is the difference between 20ft and 40ft container? ›**

a 20′ container can pack up to 1.53 m³ of cargo for every ton of weight. Up to 21.85 tons of cargo can be loaded on a 20′ container that offers only 33.50 m³ of cargo space. a 40′ container can pack up to 2.53 m³ of cargo for every ton of weight.

**What is the size of 20ft container? ›**

The dimensions of a 20 foot storage container are- **height: 8ft 6in, width: 2.9m, width metric: 8ft, length: 2.44m**. It has a payload capacity of 25,000 kg / 55,126.9 lbs. And a cubic capacity of 33.2 m3 / 1,172 cu ft.

### How many containers can I stack? ›

There is **no legal limit** on the number of containers that can be stacked on land, but it goes without saying that reasonable caution should always be exercised whilst planning and actioning your stacking venture.

**Can you stack a 20ft container on a 40ft container? ›**

**They shouldn't be**. There are 20′ bays and 40′ bays. 40′ boxes won't fit into 20′ bays - that one's easy. While you could put one 20′ box in a 40′ bay, the twist lock corners (where twist locks lock the containers together) generally won't line up, and so the stability of the stack is seriously compromised.

**How many shipping containers can be stacked on each other? ›**

You can place them next to each other or on top of each other, with the stacking of **nine units** being the advised upper limit.

**How many kg is a TEU? ›**

Logistics and shipping companies normally load up to **24000 kilograms** (24 metric tons) of cargo in a TEU. An empty container of this size weighs 2280 kilograms (2.24 metric tons). Hence the total weight of a fully laden twenty-foot container will be 26280 kilograms (26.28 metric tons).

**What is the weight of 1 TEU? ›**

The dimensions of a TEU are 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width) × 9 ft (height). The maximum gross mass for dry cargo TEU is **52,910 lb**: 47,770 lb (net load) + 5,140 lb (empty container weight).

**How many TEU are in a 45 container? ›**

A standard container counts as 1 TEU. High Cube containers (height 9 feet and 6 inches) and Half Height (height 4 feet and 3 inches) count as 1 TEU. A 40-foot long container corresponds to 2 TEUs. Containers of 45, 48 and 53 feet in length correspond to 2.25 (or 2), 2.4 and **2.65 TEUs**, respectively.

**How do you calculate cargo weight in a container? ›**

Depending on the freight mode (air, sea, road) and carrier, dimensional weight can be calculated using either of these formulas: **CBM x DIM Factor = Dimensional Weight**. Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm) x Quantity / DIM Factor = Dimensional Weight.

**How is TEU capacity calculated? ›**

A forty-foot container is regarded as two twenty-foot containers or 2 TEUs (sometimes referred to as FEU, Forty Foot Equivalent Unit). To calculate how many TEU a container is, just **divide the actual length in feet by twenty**. For example, one forty-foot container is two TEUs.

**How many pallets can you fit in a 40FT container? ›**

Approximately 1200-1400 handable cartons (boxes). How many pallets fit into a 20' or 40' container? A 20'ft container can hold eleven "Europallets" in one tier or nine to ten standard pallets in one tier while a 40' container can hold 23-24 "Europallets" in one tier or **20-21 standard pallets in one tier**.

**What is container stuffing? ›**

Container stuffing is **the process by which goods are loaded into a container to be shipped**. Container stuffing isn't just a matter of randomly placing items in a container until it reached capacity. It is a process that requires careful planning that takes into consideration the unloading or de-stuffing process.

### How do you make a container loading plan? ›

**5 tips for a better container loading plan**

- Use load planning software. In the old days, an experienced load planner worked with graph paper, a ruler and a pencil to figure out how best to fit cargo into a container. ...
- Measure carefully. ...
- Choose containers strategically. ...
- Get creative with packaging. ...
- Make your cargo more compact.

**How many kg Makes 1 CBM? ›**

EQUIVALENCE: 1 CBM = **333 KG**.

**How many TEU are in a 45 container? ›**

A standard container counts as 1 TEU. High Cube containers (height 9 feet and 6 inches) and Half Height (height 4 feet and 3 inches) count as 1 TEU. A 40-foot long container corresponds to 2 TEUs. Containers of 45, 48 and 53 feet in length correspond to 2.25 (or 2), 2.4 and **2.65 TEUs**, respectively.

**How many kg is a TEU? ›**

Logistics and shipping companies normally load up to **24000 kilograms** (24 metric tons) of cargo in a TEU. An empty container of this size weighs 2280 kilograms (2.24 metric tons). Hence the total weight of a fully laden twenty-foot container will be 26280 kilograms (26.28 metric tons).

**What is TEU capacity? ›**

What is a TEU in shipping? A twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) is a shipping container whose internal dimensions measure about 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet tall. It can hold between 9 and 11 pallets, depending on whether they are standard pallets or EUR-pallets. **Two TEUs have the capacity of a single FEU**.

**How much space does 1000 pallets take up? ›**

With this sample data, the calculator has estimated about **12,000 square feet** to store 1,000 pallets in a building with 10 dock doors.

**Can you double stack pallets in a 40ft container? ›**

Depending on high you build each of your pallets, you should be able to double stack them to maximise the space, potentially allowing for up to 20 pallets to be stacked in a 20ft pallet wide container and **42 in a 40ft pallet wide container**.

**How do you load a 20 foot container? ›**

How To Load A Container - YouTube

**How many CBM is a 40-foot HQ container? ›**

40 feet standard container loadable volume is approximately 63.48 cubic meter. Roughly a 40 feet container's width and height are 8 feet and length is 40 feet.

**What is the CBM of a 40-foot container? ›**

Forty-foot shipping containers are large, multipurpose units that offer an extensive storage capacity. The total cubic capacity of a 40-foot container is about 67 CBM, which means you will enjoy a loadable volume of 55-58 CBM.