40 Foot Container Key Terms

Understand lingo describing types of shipping containers

Gone are the days when shipping containers all looked alike: Ugly, rusted rectangles. Today, there are a broad range of 40-foot containers suitable not just for shipping, but also for storage--and even building. Some feature variations straight from the manufacturer, while others have professional modifications. You can find these for a number of industries, including construction companies, storage facilities and any business requiring either inexpensive, sturdy buildings or safe and durable long-term storage. As you shop, you're likely to run across lingo used to describe these modifications or variations. With that in mind, this guide will help you learn the terms used to differentiate between different types of 40-foot shipping containers available on the today's market.


When speaking of shipping containers, a chassis is a metal frame on wheels used to mobilize the container. Sometimes chassis are permanent, but more typically you will purchase these for the purpose of moving the 40-foot container to a new location.

High cubes

High cubes are taller than standard 40-foot shipping containers. A standard shipping container is approximately 8 feet and 6 inches tall, but a high cube is about 9 feet and 6 inches tall. Almost all high cubes are 40 feet, but not all 40-foot containers are high cubes.

Open top

Open top containers are shipping containers with an easy to remove lid. They work well for cargo or storage that needs a crane in order to move it.

Double door

A double-door 40-foot container has doors on both of its ends. Double-door shipping containers are ideal for long-term storage, as they allow easier access to the container's contents.

Tween deck

Tween deck shipping containers have shelves, or decks, inside them, running the full length of the container. This makes shipping or storing smaller items more manageable.


ISO stands for International Standards Organization. Companies use ISO containers ship, truck and train transportation.

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