High Cube Shipping Containers

High Cube Shipping Containers

High cube shipping containers are 9ft 6 high variants of standard containers (which are 8ft 6 high as standard). Popular for anyone wanting to maximise the internal space within a shipping container, and a lot of customers like high cubes as their forklift trucks can fit inside more readily.


High cube shipping containers are all 9ft 6 high as opposed to the standard 8ft 6 high build for shipping containers. Almost any type of shipping container can come in a high cube option. Typically these start to offer best value if you need or can make good use of the additional height.

When shipping cargo this allows for a little over 10% more capacity within a shipping container, and typically your shipping line wont’ charge extra for the shipment.

When used for storage use, the extra space can come in handy if you want to stack pallets inside your container or if you want to use a fork lift. (some forklifts are made to work inside a standard height shipping container, but a greater number can operate inside a high cube container) – giving you the best possible flexibility for your site.

These are also popular for a number of specialised engineering and conversion uses. If you are looking for a house for a biomass boiler or generator,  the extra space may give you more flexibility in the design and there may be savings associated with having a bigger space to work with.

For retail and catering customers are often very limited on the square footage they can work with, so the additional height offers more space to work with in a tight environment.


These containers are made from COR-TEN A grade steel (AKA Corten steel) which has superb anti-rust and longevity properties. When rust forms on Corten steel the rust layer itself is non-porous and won’t let water soak through it. This is the main reason why shipping containers will easily last 10-15 years in service being moved around the most inhospitable environments on earth.

With an internal door opening height of circa 8ft 5inches / 2.58 metres a much wider range of fork trucks can operate inside a high cube shipping container (exact door opening dims can vary between types of high cube container but we can also measure up to double check a specific model or unit for you)

The container will come with a circa inch thick marine treated plywood floor, 1 tonne lashing rings down the top and bottom rails of the container as well as on the free vertical corner posts. The internal floor line will be raised approx 8 inches from the external floor.


All our shipping containers are checked over by a professional before sale. With the repair standard we specify we are confident to be able to offer our industry leading 2 year wind and watertight guarantee on all new, refurbished and used shipping containers. This means if your shipping container has a natural defect which results in a leak or other issue relating to its fitness for purpose as a storage container in its first 2 years we will come out and repair it free of charge.

Read more about our product guarantee


Shipping containers usually only suffer from wear when they are handled and moved to and from a truck, boat, train or container stack. As most of our customers buy a container that will remain static in one place, aside from the rubber door seal, there is very little to wear or go wrong with it.

We regularly see refurbished and used shipping containers that were supplied as used 10+ years ago performing very well with little to no maintenance. So you should expect this sort of lifespan. The only exception is the rubber door seals that can wear out more quickly if the doors are used frequently.

New or one trip shipping containers should last an extremely long time, but as manufacturing techniques change so frequently (every 5-10 years or so) it is very hard to test the exact lifespan of a container. We know that a typical one trip container is circa 12 years younger than a used shipping container, and as we would expect 10 years solid use from a used container, its pretty safe to assume that a 20-22+ year lifespan for a new shipping container is very achievable.

Container Condition

Shipping containers are available in various conditions which effect their price and lifespan.

New (One Trip)

New (or One Trip) shipping containers are the very best quality option available. Freshly built in a factory (normally in China) they are moved to the UK with freight inside them which helps dramatically reduce the overall cost of the shipping container. These almost new shipping containers may have the odd  imperfection consistent with this first trip but they will be in otherwise immaculate condition.

These one trip shipping containers are approximately 12 years younger than the average refurbished or used container we sell (or 12-20 years younger than a used container sold by any other trader) so the container will have a significantly longer lifespan. If these containers are to sit static on your site then they will also remain in very good condition. In 12 years time a one trip container you purchased from us that has sat static on your site will more than likely in better condition than an average used container we are selling at the time.

These containers come in green or blue without any logos and look a lot smarter than a refurbished or used shipping container.


Refurbished shipping containers are the middle ground between new and used shipping containers. We take the best quality used shipping containers and ensure they are of sound construction, leak free, have a good solid floor, a fully operational door and intact doors seals (where applicable). These are a lot neater than basic used containers and a fair bit cheaper than new (one trip) shipping containers.

We also repaint these containers in your choice of basic colour in a marine quality paint and add a high security lock box (padlock cover) to the shipping container. As these are made from used shipping containers there will still be dinks and dents along the frame of the container, but the repaint will give a much smarter appearance when compared to a basic used container.

Sometimes we make a refurbished shipping container by cutting down a larger shipping container to size (for example a 40ft shipping container may be cut down to make 4x 10ft containers). In these cases we typically offer our easy open or flat panel door option. These fabricated doors are much lighter (but still made from steel at least as thick as the steel in the corrugated sides of the shipping container) and much easier to use over a long period of time but they do not come with a rubber seal around the doors.


All our used shipping containers are sourced direct from shipping industry use. We do not offer used containers that have previously bought as ‘used’ as these shipping containers will commonly be of a poorer quality and have a much shorter remaining lifespan.

Used shipping containers will come in their original shipping liveries and will usually have some dents and surface rust. We sell these strictly as ‘cosmetics not guaranteed’ meaning we don’t and can’t guarantee how good they will look. If you require a smart shipping container we recommend looking at our refurbished or new (one trip) ranges. However, your used container will not have any large bows or dents – it will be in the correct overall shape, free of any holes or leaks and in a good stare of repair. Depending on your location and our nearest local depot, we can often offer viewings in our yard or photos of a specific container for your approval in advance of delivery.

Container Types

Information about the types of 20ft shipping container available.

20ft Standard Containers

Standard 20ft shipping containers (AKA dry freight containers, dry vans or general purpose containers).

These are 8ft 6 high externally and have 1 set of double cargo doors at one end only.

Length 20ft (6058mm – 6096mm)
Width 8ft (2430mm – 2450mm)
Height 8ft 6ins (2590mm)
Length 19ft 4ins (5898mm)
Width 7ft 8ins (2330mm – 2350mm)
Height 7ft 10ins (2380mm – 2390mm)
Door Opening
Width 7ft 8ins (2330mm -2380mm)
Height 7ft 6ins (2280mm)
Floor Area 150sqft (13.93m²)
Cubic Capacity 1172 cu ft (33.18m3)
Weight 1.8-2.4 tons (1800-2400 Kg)
Max Cargo (Export only) 21500 Kg – 28,235 Kg (Different max cargo weights available)
Fork Pockets
Width 1ft 2ins (360mm)
Height 4 1/2ins (115mm)
Centre to Centre 6ft 9ins +/- 2ins (2050mm +/- 50mm)

20ft High Cube Containers

High Cube containers are higher than standard containers. They are ideal to store something too big to fit inside a standard container. They are also a good option if you want to store stacked pallets as the extra height makes it easier for the folk lift to access them.

20ft High Cube containers differ only from standard 20ft containers in that they are 1ft / 30cm taller:

External Height 9ft 6ins (2896mm)
Internal Height 8ft 10ins (2698mm)
Door Opening Height 8ft 5ins (2585mm)
Cubic Capacity 1320 cu.ft (37.4 cu.m)

20ft Side Opening Containers

Both Standard and High Top containers are also available with an additional set of fully opening doors down one of the long sides.

As standard these are right handed side opening. This means as you look at the end doors of the shipping container from the outside, the side doors will always be on your right hand side. Left handed side opening containers do exist but are quire rare.

Width 7ft 3ins – 7ft 6ins (2224mm – 2287mm)
Height 7ft 5ins – 7ft 10ins (2273mm -2390mm)
Side Door Opening
Width 18ft 8ins – 19ft 1ins (5702mm – 5820mm)
Height 7ft 1ins- 2ins (2159mm – 2189mm)
Cubic Capacity 1097 cu.ft (31.1 cu.m)
Weight (Single side door unit) 2.93 tons (2930 Kg, 6460 lbs)
Max Cargo (Export only) 21070 Kgs-26280 Kg (46450 – 57938lbs)

20ft Open Top Containers

Open top containers come with a single set of doors at one end only and a removable top (usually a tarpaulin).

These are often used for the export of over height cargo, or for shipment of cargo that needs to be loaded via crane from above. However, these are not popular for storage as they are more expensive and the open roof is not suitable for most storage applications.

20ft Flat Rack Containers

Flat rack containers are a base with just two ends on the container (these ends are usually collapsible), or a platform which is just a solid base with no side walls or end walls. Both are used for the shipment of out of gauge (oversize) cargo.

These are often used for quick and easy bridge building.

20ft Refrigerated Containers

These are units with temperature and humidity control. Exact specs will vary on age and manufacturer but most will have a set temperature range anywhere between -20 and -30 Celsius, and can go as high as +20-30 Celsius. Humidity can also be set and managed.

20ft refrigerated shipping containers are often used as cheap walk in fridges, freezers or ambient stores, however, as they are not built for this purpose, care needs to be taken to ensure they are suitable for your specific use.

Other 20ft Containers

There are a number of other types of 20ft container types that are very specialised. Examples include Tank Containers, Cakebox Containers,  Offshore DNV Spec Containers for the oil and gas industry and more. Please contact us if you’re looking for something not listed above as we will often have available contacts to help you source in special equipment.