Choosing the Right Shipping Container: A Deep Dive into Dimensions and Sizes

August 14, 2023

Are you in the market for a shipping container but feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of options available? Look no further!

In this deep dive, we will explore the crucial aspects of choosing the right shipping container, specifically focusing on dimensions and sizes.

Whether you’re a business owner looking to transport goods overseas or an individual seeking a creative solution for additional storage space, understanding the various container sizes and dimensions is essential.

We’ll delve into the standard sizes and explore how they can accommodate your specific needs. From the versatile 20-foot container to the spacious 40-foot high cube, we’ll break down the advantages and potential limitations of each option.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision, ensuring that your shipping container perfectly suits your requirements.

So, let’s dive in and discover the perfect container for your shipping needs!

Why choosing the right shipping container is crucial

When it comes to shipping goods or utilising a shipping container for storage purposes, choosing the right container is crucial. The dimensions and sizes of the container play a significant role in determining its suitability for your specific needs. Opting for the wrong size can result in wasted space, inefficient transportation, or insufficient storage capacity. By understanding the various container options available and considering your requirements, you can make an informed decision that maximises efficiency and minimises costs.

Standard shipping container dimensions and sizes

20FT Beige New Stack Branded Container

Standard shipping containers come in different sizes, each with its own advantages and limitations. The most common sizes are 20-foot and 40-foot containers.

A 20-foot container measures 20 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.6 feet in height. These containers are versatile and widely used, making them suitable for a range of applications.

On the other hand, a 40-foot container measures 40 feet in length, 8 feet in width, and 8.6 feet in height. These containers offer more space and are often preferred for larger shipments or when additional storage capacity is required.

At OZBOX Containers, we have a number of shipping containers in addition to the popular 20ft and 40ft containers. You can find out the dimensions of all our shipping containers, including the internal and external dimensions, as well as discover more about the weight of our shipping containers and the overall payload.

High cube shipping containers and their advantages

20ft high cube shipping container Grey 7015 Doors LS

If you require extra vertical space, high cube shipping containers are a great option. High cube containers share the same dimensions as standard containers in terms of length and width but have an increased height of 9.6 feet (2,896mm). This additional height provides an extra foot of vertical space, allowing for the transportation or storage of taller items. High cube containers are ideal for bulky or oversized cargo, such as machinery, vehicles, or construction materials.

Open-top shipping containers and their uses

20ft open top shipping container roof

Open-top shipping containers are designed for easy loading and unloading of cargo that may be too tall to fit through the standard container doors. These containers feature a removable top, often covered with a tarpaulin, allowing for the transportation of goods that exceed the standard height limitations. Open-top containers are commonly used for shipping machinery, large equipment, or goods that require top-loading, such as timber or scrap metal.

Flat rack shipping containers and their versatility

40ft flat rack container with stands up

When it comes to shipping heavy or oversized cargo, flat rack containers offer unparalleled versatility. These containers have collapsible sides and no roof, allowing for easy loading and unloading from the sides or the top. Flat rack containers are commonly used for transporting heavy machinery, vehicles, or oversized goods that cannot be loaded into a standard container. The collapsible sides also make these containers easy to store when not in use, as they can be stacked or folded flat.

Refrigerated shipping containers and their benefits

20ft reefer container

For goods that require temperature-controlled transportation, refrigerated shipping containers, also known as reefers, are essential. These containers come in standard sizes, such as 20 feet and 40 feet, and are equipped with cooling units that maintain a specific temperature range. Reefers are commonly used for transporting perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, or any items that require a controlled environment. With precise temperature control and insulation, reefers ensure that goods reach their destination in optimal condition.

Specialised shipping containers for specific cargo types

10ft dangerous goods shipping container side

In addition to the standard shipping containers mentioned above, there are specialized containers designed for specific cargo types. These containers include open-side containers, which have doors on the side for easy access; tank containers, which are used for transporting liquids or gases; and ventilated containers, which provide airflow for goods that require ventilation, such as fresh produce; and dangerous goods containers which are used for the storage and transportation of dangerous and hazardous items. Understanding the specific requirements of your cargo will help you determine if a specialised container is necessary.

Factors to consider when choosing a shipping container

When choosing a shipping container, there are several factors you need to consider. Firstly, assess the size and weight of your cargo to determine the appropriate container dimensions. Consider the accessibility of your goods and whether you require features such as side doors or refrigeration. Additionally, think about the duration of transportation or storage and the environmental conditions your container will be exposed to. Finally, consider your budget and whether buying or renting a container is the best option for your needs.

Where to buy or rent shipping containers

Here in Australia, OZBOX is fast becoming one of the most popular brands for people looking to buy or rent a shipping container. Our passionate team have a huge amount of experience in the shipping container industry with our sister business NZBOX launched in New Zealand in 2014 before OZBOX opened in Australia in 2021.

Managing Director James Scott has been involved in the shipping container business for over 20 years, growing both NZBOX and OZBOX from the ground up. James started OZBOX with the vision of providing customers with the container they need, where and when they need it with an absolute focus on customer service.

So, if you are looking to buy a shipping container or hire a shipping container in Australia, talk to the team at OZBOX and find out how we can help.


Choosing the right shipping container is a critical decision that can impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your transportation or storage needs.

By understanding the various container sizes and dimensions, you can select the option that best suits your requirements.

Whether you opt for a standard 20-foot or 40-foot container, a high cube container for additional vertical space, or a specialised container for specific cargo types, careful consideration of your needs and cargo will ensure a successful shipping experience.

So, make an informed decision, and let your shipping container be the perfect solution for your needs.

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