Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

All shipping containers are a created at a 'standard' size (in order to stack them during shipping).

20 foot units externally measure: 20 feet (6.1 meters) long, 8 feet (2.44 meters) wide, and 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 meters) high.

The internal dimensions of the containers may vary slightly depending on the construction.

The sides of a container are in nearly all cases, corrugated. The depth of the corrugation is usually 1 inch (25mm), which means that 2 inches (50mm) is lost from the external width dimension, giving an internal width of 7 feet 10 inches (2.38 meters).

The back (blank end) of the container is also corrugated and the doors are around 2 inches (50mm) thick meaning that approximately 3 inches (75mm) is lost from the length, giving an internal length of 19 feet 9 inches (6.02 meters).

The main reduction from external to internal dimensions is with height. The floor of a standard container has an underside clearance of approximately 6 inches (150mm) and the floor has a thickness of 27mm (1.1 inches). As the roof is corrugated another 1 inch (25mm) is lost resulting in an internal dimension of around 8 inches less than external – 7ft 10 inches (2.39 meters), though this can vary slightly depending on the flooring material used.

Through the door height is further reduced because of the steel top rail above the door which is a part of the structural integrity of the container, this is 4 inches (100mm) thus reducing the entrance height of a standard 20ft container to 7ft 6ins (2.28 meters), though this can vary slightly either way.

20ft External DimensionsImperialMetric
Length20 feet6.1 meters
Width8 feet2.44 meters
Height8 feet 6 inches2.59 meters
20ft Internal DimensionsImperialMetric
Length19 feet 9 inches6.02 meters
Width7 feet 10 inches2.38 meters
Height7 feet 10 inches2.39 meters

All shipping containers are a created at a 'standard' size (in order to stack them during shipping).

40 ft units externally measure: 40 foot (12.2 meters) long, 8 foot (2.44 meters) wide, and 8 foot 6 inches (2.59 meters) high.

The internal dimensions of the containers may vary slightly depending on the construction.

The sides of a container are in nearly all cases, corrugated. The depth of the corrugation is usually 1 inch (25mm), which means that 2 inches (50mm) is lost from the external width dimension, giving an internal width of 7 feet 10 inches (2.38 meters).

The back (blank end) of the container is also corrugated and the doors are around 2 inches (50mm) thick meaning that approximately 3 inches (75mm) is lost from the length, giving an internal length of 39 feet 5 inches (12.03 meters).

The main reduction from external to internal dimensions is with height. The floor of a standard container has an underside clearance of approximately 6 inches (150mm) and the floor has a thickness of 27mm (1.1 inches). As the roof is corrugated another 1 inch (25mm) is lost resulting in an internal dimension of around 8 inches less than external – 7ft 10 inches (2.39 meters), though this can vary slightly depending on the flooring material used.

Through the door height is further reduced because of the steel top rail above the door which is a part of the structural integrity of the container, this is 4 inches (100mm) thus reducing the entrance height of a standard 20ft container to 7ft 6ins (2.28 meters), though this can vary slightly either way.

40ft External DimensionsImperialMetric
Length40 feet12.2 meters
Width8 feet2.44 meters
Height8 feet 6 inches2.59 meters
40ft Internal DimensionsImperialMetric
Length39 feet 5 inches12.03 meters
Width7 feet 10 inches2.38 meters
Height7 feet 10 inches2.39 meters

The internal storage capacity of a used 20ft is approx 33.2 cubic meters or 1,170 cubic feet.

The internal storage capacity of a 40 ft is approx 67.6 cubic meters or 2.387 cubic feet.

There are three relevant weights relating to containers, the Tare Weight, the Gross Weight and the Payload (Net) Weight.

These are painted onto the outside of the container doors when it is in shipping service or before it has been repainted for another application.

The Container Tare Weight is the weight of the container without cargo or contents.

The Container Gross Weight is the weight of the container plus the maximum payload it can hold i.e. the maximum total weight of the container.

The Payload (or Net Weight) is the weight of the cargo or contents that a container can hold.

Typical 20 foot Container WeightsImperialMetric
Max Gross Weight67,200 lbs30,480 kg*
Tare Weight4,780 lbs2,170 kg
Payload (Net) Weight62,420 lbs28,310 kg

*some 20ft units are constructed to a lower specification - these lower grade containers have a max gross weight of 24,000kg

There are three relevant weights relating to containers, the Tare Weight, the Gross Weight and the Payload (Net) Weight.

These are painted onto the outside of the container doors when it is in shipping service or before it has been repainted for another application.

The Container Tare Weight is the weight of the container without cargo or contents.

The Container Gross Weight is the weight of the container plus the maximum payload it can hold i.e. the maximum total weight of the container.

The Payload (or Net Weight) is the weight of the cargo or contents that a container can hold.

Typical 40 foot Container WeightsImperialMetric
Max Gross Weight67,200 lbs30,400 kg*
Tare Weight8,270 lbs3,750 kg
Payload (Net) Weight58,930 lbs26,730 kg

*some 40ft units are constructed to a lower specification

New Containers are typically manufactured in China, they then being life as shipping containers, typically used for several years before being re-sold on from various ports/container depots.

The date each container was originally manufactured is clearly stated on the CSC plate, located on the double doors.

20ft units are constructed using high quality weathering cor-ten steel which is designed to stand up to the harsh rigours of sea conditions. Due to the harsh environment they are all manufactured to a high standard and are both wind and water tight to protect their cargo.

Cor-ten is a corrosion resistant weathering steel, used within many industries for its strength.

High-quality rubber seals are used to prevent water ingress through the double-doors.

The internal flooring is typically formed from 27mm hardwood.

This will depend on how you use your container and the environment it's situated in.

A well cared for unit should last for many years (15+) after its re-sale date - see our care instructions for more information on caring for your container.

In order to offer the best possible price, we'll source your container from the depot offering the best price.

Your container will then typically be delivered from the depot on a HIAB Lorry. The lorry mounted craine will then be used to place your container on the pre-prepared location.

Phire ensure you have prepared the ground prior to your container being delivered.

Phire be sure to provide us with your delivery postcode as part of your initial enquiry so we can accurately estimate delivery costs.

Yes - Your container should to be placed on a flat level surface.

For uneven surfaces we recommend using paving slabs to create a level the surface.

We recommend using paving slabs to allow the four corner castings of your container to sit on a solid level base.

An uneven surface can result in the container not sitting straight, this can mean the container doors may not fully open and can cause the container body to twist.

The area for your shipping container will need to be prepared before our delivery driver arrives on site.

With our delivery drivers using a HIAB lorry, phire check for any overhead cables as this can mean that the HIAB cannot extend its lifting arm out to lift the container to the ground.

If you are unsure if the HIAB lorry will have sufficient space to unload your container - phire make us aware of any restrictions before placing your order.

Yes - please let us know if you are able to collect from one of our depots. Please note that unit prices do often vary from depot to depot so this could affect the price we are able to offer.

Caring for a container is mostly common sense, but there are a few things you can do to keep your box in a good condition.

Ensure the contents of your container are dry and moisture free before you put them inside - this will help reduce moisture build up inside your container.

Regularly check the double end door hinges and locking bars, apply oil to lubricate the hinges and locking bars to keep them moving freely.

Try to keep a little space free at the top of the unit and down the sides to allow the air to circulate. This helps heat to disperse and prevent moisture.

For more container care info check out our container care page.

Yes - shipping containers are often converted for uses other than shipping and basic secure storage. Take a look at our conversions page for some examples of our recent conversion projects.

If you have a conversion in mind - we'd love to complete the conversion work for you - get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Any metal surface that is exposed to temperature variations will inevitably suffer from condensation but there are ways to mitigate against this. Empiracle evidence shows that the corrugated construction of modern containers (compared with flat roofs of the early containers) helps prevent condensation and no doubt the paint used also helps. The roof of a new container is slightly bowed to give an upward arc so that external water does not lie on the roof. Where water lies on the roof of a container it lowers the temperature of the metal and causes condensation on the opposite side of the steel. Condensation is more likely to occur on used containers that have roof dents where water gathers. Condensation is more likely to occur when a container is sat on cold, damp ground such as exposed soil or a flooded area; the cold from the earth permeates the container above and reduces the temperature thus causing condensation. All air has moisture in it and it is this that condenses when the temperature drops so reducing the amount of moisture in the air inside a container will prevent condensation; this can be done by ensuring items are only placed in a container on a dry day if possible; a container can be vented on a dry day by opening the doors to allow damp air to circulate out of the container and be reduced by dryer air. Also, an item called Absorpole can be placed inside a container to absorb moisture from the air over a period of time.

Shipping containers are categorised as temporary relocatable buildings and for many applications they do not need planning permission. However if they are to be placed in a sensitive area or are to be in location long-term then planning permission may be required. Planning authorities always say that it is best to enquire if permission is required.

Shipping containers require relatively little maintenance. A new shipping container going straight into a secure storage use will require hardly any maintenance at all and this is why we recommend buying a new one if you can justify it. The steel work will barely deteriorate because the steel is of high quality and the paint work is excellent; you can realistically expect a 50 year life of a new container used for storage. The door hinges and locking bars may require oiling every couple of years but that takes only ten minutes. The door seals will deteriorate but they will last at least ten years depending on conditions and probably over twice as long as that. Used containers require the same attention to the doors and also there may be small dents or corroded areas that may need repainting from time to time and possibly even a patch welded on. Painting a shipping container to maintain appearance is quite straight forward but does not need to be done often.

Yes we do. Phire bear in mind when we quote a buy-back price that we have to consider transport costs and the amount of time the container will be in storage with us before re-sale. There are occasions when we are unable to buy-back due to location, i.e. it may be too far for it to be viable to take the container back to one of our yards.

At SEA Containers, we specialise in supplying the best quality shipping containers for your requirements. The cost of shipping containers depends on many factors, including the condition of the unit, and whether it is a standard or specialised container. At SEA Containers, we have many years of experience, and our friendly and helpful customer service team are happy to discuss the cost of a shipping container that is the right solution for you or your businesses’ needs.

We stock a wide variety of shipping containers, which come in different shapes and sizes. Our new shipping containers (referred to as A Grade) have only been used once to transport cargo from China to New Zealand. These containers come straight from the manufacturer and are built with marine plywood floors. Our grade A containers, generally have vents in the side walls and come fitted with lock boxes on the doors for added security and peace of mind. As shipping container sizes and costs can vary drastically, for the best shipping container sale prices available, give our team a call today.

Not everyone needs a new shipping container, which is why we offer a wide range of used containers. Despite the cost of a second-hand shipping container being often significantly less than a new unit, they are still 100% wind and watertight. Although there may be signs of wear and tear, such as surface rust, or bumps and bruises these shipping containers can even be exported once fitted with a valid CSC plate. As you might expect the price of used shipping containers varies on a number of factors, so give our team a call to find out availability and price.

Some companies require specialist or refrigerated shipping containers. As one of the leading suppliers of containers in New Zealand, we always have a range of refrigerated containers in stock. Contact us today for our best refrigerated container prices, as whatever your requirements, we will be able to source a container that matches your needs.

Whatever your reasons for buying a shipping container, you want to purchase a quality piece of equipment from a company who has established a reputation for both supply and standing behind a well-produced product. SEA Containers offer all shipping container sizes and our costs are very competitive, and we look forward to finding the ideal container for hire or sale to meet your specific requirements.

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