How To Calculate Capacity On Shipping Containers

Companies that engage in China manufacturing will find that properly calculating capacity on a shipping container can mean the difference between saving and spending tens of thousands of dollars. Packing a shipping container to its fullest capacity also ensures that goods arrive at their destination on time and reduces hassles from customs officials who typically examine containers that have been improperly or unprofessionally loaded.

Understanding Shipping Container Measurements

While containers are available in various sizes, the standard units are either twenty foot equivalent units (TEU) or forty foot equivalent units (2-TEU). To adequately pack such containers, one would need to measure the width, height and length of the container and then multiply these numbers. For instance, a twenty foot long container may be five feet wide and ten feet tall. If you multiply these numbers by each other (i.e. 5 x 10 x 20), you get 1,000 cubic feet. This is the volume of the container; i.e. how much it can hold. You would then need to measure the size of your boxes (or other cargo items) using the same formula to determine their volume.

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Points to Keep in Mind

It is highly recommended to pack a shipping container to capacity. However, it is important to bear in mind that this is not always possible. Depending on the nature of the cargo, there are times when dunnage (also known as padding) will need to be placed between cargo items to ensure that these are not damaged while in transit. In the event that items must be wrapped in dunnage, it is important to do the wrapping ahead of time and then measure the volume of the item after it has been wrapped. Doing so ensures that there are no mistakes made when calculating exactly how many items the container in question can hold. This same point holds true for items that are shipped on wooden or plastic pallets.

Another point to bear in mind is the fact that all shipping containers have a weight limit. Generally speaking, a TEU should not weight more than 24,000 kg. once packed; a 2-TEU is not permitted to weigh more than 30,480 kg. when packed. This weight allowance includes not only the weight of the cargo itself but also the weight of the empty container, which can weigh anywhere from 1,800 kg. to 4,200 kg.

Any company that regularly engages in China manufacturing and international shipping will want to ensure that there is someone on the ground to see that all containers are properly, professionally packed. This includes not only choosing the right size of containers and packing them to capacity, but also ensuring that the items are safely packed to reduce the risk of them being damaged while in transit. The above mentioned formula makes it easy to determine how much space a container may offer and how many items may fit in it; however, many other factors must be taken into account to ensure that there are no shipping problems or delays.

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