Are you planning to purchase a shipping container but not sure how much does a shipping container weigh?
The answer to this question matters because it can affect your choice of the type and size of container that would best suit your needs, as well as aspects such as delivery costs and safety when moving the container. Getting a good understanding of the weight of these versatile containers can help ensure that you make an informed purchase decision.
Let’s discuss more in this compressive shipping container weight guide, as l will demystify all things related to shipping container weights so that you have everything needed to make an educated buying decision.
Different Types of Shipping Containers
There are several types of shipping containers, designed to serve various purposes and accommodate different cargo types. The most common types are:
- Dry Containers
- Open Top Containers
- Flat Rack Containers
- Reefer Containers
Container Weight Classification
There are three main weight classifications for shipping containers:
- Tare Weight: The empty weight of the container, including all fittings and fixtures.
- Payload Weight: The maximum allowable weight of the cargo that can be loaded into the container.
- Gross Weight: The combined weight of the container and its contents, including the tare weight and payload weight.
Things that affect the weight of a container
Consider these factors below to help ensure the container’s weight is within acceptable limits and suitable for its intended purpose.
|Factor||Details||Tips to Reduce Weight|
|1. Material||Container weight varies based on material (e.g., metal, plastic, wood), as different densities impact weight.||Choose lighter materials without compromising strength.|
|2. Size||Larger container dimensions require more material, resulting in increased weight.||Optimize container dimensions to minimize weight.|
|3. Wall Thickness||Thicker walls contribute to a heavier container, often for heavy-duty applications.||Decrease wall thickness, maintaining durability.|
|4. Reinforcements||Elements like corner posts or beams enhance structural integrity, increasing container weight.||Use necessary reinforcements only, avoiding excess weight.|
|5. Coatings/Finishes||Applied coatings, finishes, or paint can add to container weight for protection or aesthetics.||Choose lighter or thinner coatings or finishes to minimize weight.|
|6. Internal Parts||Shelves, partitions, or other fixtures increase container weight, depending on intended use.||Optimize internal component design and placement to reduce weight.|
|7. Load||Container contents directly affect weight, with heavier loads increasing overall weight.||Optimize packaging or select lighter materials for container contents.|
|8. Environment||Temperature, humidity, and exposure to elements can impact container weight through material changes.||Inspect and maintain the container to prevent corrosion or material degradation.|
The Importance of Accurate Weight Measurements
Accurate weight measurements are essential for several reasons:
- Safety: Overloaded containers can pose safety risks, such as accidents during handling or transport.
- Legal Compliance: Shipping containers must comply with weight regulations to avoid fines or penalties.
- Cost Management: Accurate weight measurements help to manage shipping costs and avoid overcharges.
There are several methods for weighing shipping containers:
- Weighbridge: A large scale capable of weighing an entire truck, including the container and its cargo.
- Onboard Scales: Some trucks and trailers are equipped with scales that can provide a weight measurement while the container is being transported.
- Portable Scales: These scales can be placed under each corner of the container to calculate its weight.
Common Shipping Container Weights
Here are the approximate weights for the most common shipping containers:
- Tare Weight: 4,800 – 5,000 lbs
- Payload Weight: 48,000 – 52,900 lbs
- Gross Weight: 52,800 – 57,900 lbs
- Tare Weight: 8,000 – 8,600 lbs
- Payload Weight: 58,000 – 59,000 lbs
- Gross Weight: 66,000 – 67,600 lbs
High Cube Container
- Tare Weight: 8,700 – 9,000 lbs (40-foot high cube)
- Payload Weight: 58,000 – 58,900 lbs
- Gross Weight: 66,700 – 67,900 lbs
Other Types of Containers and Their Weights
Here are some examples of other container types and their approximate weights:
Open Top Container
- Tare Weight: 4,900 – 5,100 lbs (20-foot), 8,200 – 8,800 lbs (40-foot)
- Payload Weight: 48,000 – 52,800 lbs (20-foot), 58,000 – 59,000 lbs (40-foot)
Flat Rack Container
- Tare Weight: 5,800 – 6,500 lbs (20-foot), 12,000 – 13,000 lbs (40-foot)
- Payload Weight: 47,000 – 51,200 lbs (20-foot), 85,000 – 88,000 lbs (40-foot)
- Tare Weight: 6,600 – 7,000 lbs (20-foot), 10,200 – 10,800 lbs (40-foot)
- Payload Weight: 46,000 – 49,900 lbs (20-foot), 57,000 – 58,000 lbs (40-foot)
How can I find the weight of a specific shipping container?
You can refer to the container’s manufacturer specifications or use a weighing method, such as a weighbridge, onboard scale, or portable scale, to determine its weight.
Are there any legal requirements for weighing shipping containers?
Yes, the SOLAS convention requires that all containers have a verified gross mass before being loaded onto a vessel. Additionally, individual countries may have their own regulations regarding container weight limits and requirements.