Does Double the Length Mean Double the Weight When Shipping?

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Shipping containers come in all shapes and sizes. When planning out just what you can fit into a shipping container, weight of the payload is typically the main concern. Shipping and transport costs are generated off of weight. Very rarely to we consider the volume of the cargo.

As we are about to see, volume is an important player when planning what size container to use for your shipment.

40’ Doubles the Carrying Capacity of 20’

This is a common misconception that is made when choosing a shipping container. It seems logical that doubling the length of the container will double its total carrying capacity. After all, if you were to get two 20’ containers it would be the same thing. This is not exactly true.

The structural integrity of the shipping container has to be taken into account as well as the size. Think of the bottom of a shipping container; it is the part that will bear the brunt of the weight that is being placed in it.

Doubling the length of the container does not change any of the properties of the materials that the container is made of. If your wish was to increase the weight load a container could carry, you would need to add additional bracing and supports in order to handle the additional load.

40’ Doubles the Volume

The real advantage when using a 40’ container comes when you are trying to pack large volume consuming items. In scientific terms, this means items that have a lower density. Density is a measure of weight per volume.

Think of it this way. Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of stainless steel? Neither, they both weigh a pound. But which takes up more space? The answer, assuming you wish your feathers to arrive mostly intact, is the feathers.

The Right Container for the Job

The bottom line is, you want to choose the right container for your application by taking into account both the weight and the volume.

20’ containers are ideal for shipping very heavy items for their volume. Raw materials like coal, heavy machinery, dry goods, cement and other items like this are examples of dense items that would best be suited to a 20’ container.

Less dense items that take up more space, like furniture, piping or cotton, are examples of items you would want to ship using the longer container.

Heavy Tested Containers

There are containers that are heavy tested, and are capable of carrying heavy loads due to being reinforced properly; the same principle applies. Sure, a 40’ heavy tested container is going to carry more than a standard 20’ container but the weight loads of 40’ and 20’ heavy tested containers are going to be very similar.

When choosing the right container for your shipping job, choose experts like the Cratex Group. We can answer any of your shipping questions or needs!