20ft Shipping Container– Basic Unit Of Shipping Containing Measurement.

20ft shipping container - basic unit of shipping container measurementThe 20ft Shipping Container is no longer the main size used for international shipping but its still utilized as one of the standard ISO sizes. When talking about Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) its often how the standard sizes are discussed in the shipping industry. The size may vary in length but will still be recognised as 1 TEU the only constant being the 8ft width as height can go from 4’ 3” to a high cube of 9’6” and even the volume space would not make a difference to the terminology of it still being 1 TEU. Once it gets over 40ft in length however it suddenly becomes 2 TEU in size part of the imperial measurement system. Odd thing is with a container being of 40ft or more it becomes rated as a Fourty Equivalent Units (FEU). May seem a bit odd but it came down to War and a standard “estimated” size had to be implemented because there were too many variables on things being moved by the military that one size fits all simply didn’t work but getting a system as close to was needed and its why the FEU and TEU exist today.

Gross mass maximum rating on a 20ft shipping container is 24,000kg and a 40ft container is 30,480kg regardless of height.]

Payload Maximum weights are 21,600kg for 20ft and 26,500 for the 40ft.

The 20ft shipping container was the standard unit size used by Matson and other shipping companies as it was  convenient size for goods shipped between the West coast of the United States and Hawaii. More importantly they sat inside the converted World War II C-3 cargo ships Matson used for many years. It was however in 1957 that Matson then decided to start using containers at 25ft as this maximised his transportation potential for his purposes. His freighters could then transport the units six high inside the cargo holds and on the top deck of the freighters. For trucking purposes a 20ft shipping container was too short as loading two of them onto a bed often would break road weight limitations meaning the trucks could only haul one 20ft at a time. The optimal size for a single bed truck is 24 – 27ft in length.

In todays world we see shipping containers of up to 48 and 53 feet in length which are popular for international shipping as loading time for 20ft takes just as long as a larger shipping container but obviously takes twice as long to load a ship, time is money and why many 20ft shipping containers are being abandoned for the larger units as its not economically viable to use in comparison to the larger containers or in fact the improved road structures we see today that allow easier freight transportation.

20ft shipping containers are still available and are even still being manufactured, yet its the bigger shipping containers that are mainly used due to the reasons above.

Solar Decathlon Entries Offering Up Some Amazing Energy Efficient Modern Homes.

image China’s Tongji University offer up this shipping container home for new couples on a budget.Appalachian State University entry, the Solar Homestead Team Canada - TRTL design is based on the mound shape of Southern Alberta’s Native peoples' homes. The perFORM[D] House by Florida State University Hawaii's Model home Re_home, by the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign The Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem was the inspiration for the University of Maryland’s WaterShed house. Middlebury College designed this 2 bedroom gabled home. It has a green wall in the kitchen and its primary focuses were family orientation in communal areas. Victoria University of Wellington From New Zealand entered with First Light Ohio State’s enCORE is a family friendly energy-efficient solution. Stevens Institute of Technology partnered with Habitat to create Empowerhouse. This 1 bedroom home offers up great energy efficiency that consumes 90% less than most homes for heating and cooling. INhome offered up the Purdue design home which has a self watering green wall, air purification system and also conserves warm and cool air Team Belgium’s E-Cube - Modular home

Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology offer up the CHIP home a house of the future which has a layer of "outsolation and its energy use can be controlled with an iPAD application  The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology - created the ENJOY House which has an inverted roof hip that is calibrated for optimal solar energy and rainwater collection

 Team Florida’s Flex House offers passive cooling and shuttering to reduce heat. The Solar Roofpod is from Team New York - based on reclaiming wasted roof top spaces.

4D comes from Team Massachusetts utilizing passive cooling aswell as still keeping the home simple in design.   Living Light’s UT Solar Decathlon House - Designed by the University of Tennessee

Unit 6 Unplugged by Team Tidewater Virginia to create a solar home with a beautiful porch and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The 2011 Solar Decathlon has seen 20 teams enter the competition from around the world at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. it opens on September the 23rd and well worth taking a look if your in the area. I find the most interesting entry from China doesn’t offer up anything too fancy but I do find a lot of the entries a bit rectangular in design. Nothing wrong with it but the China’s Tongji University design seems to offer something a bit more interesting in shape. Its a personal choice though. Plenty of ideas on show as well as unique and interesting buildings.

Shipping container converted to trailer park home / caravan

shipping container home

It wasn’t an insult to say its built more of a trailer type home because in reality that is what they look like. At the same time in the UK the caravans on a site can be expensive due to their location. They are functional and practical as well as utilizing the space people need rather than space people want. It reminds me of my home back in the UK when I would wander across the dining room to get to the kitchen or go upstairs and I ask myself the question how often did we use the dining room and how often was it utilized fully? Answer rarely it was a room that was expensive to heat with high ceilings and large floor area yet we never used it. This is a practical example of why the container type homes work as people use the space they have and use it the best they can.

The container above is located in Hawaii which is a location that suffers with excess shipping containers giving cheap pods to work from. This is unit has an office and apartment featuring office space, kitchen, bath and bedroom.  The addition of T-111 siding and a flat roof improves the durability of the unit and enhances its appearance.


Shipping container specifications

shipping container specifications

Even though standardisation of shipping containers has been in existence since 1967 its still not as specific as it may seem. Most people recognise 20ft and 40ft containers but in reality they vary between 10ft and 53ft in length (10ft are very common here in the Philippines for small loads). The heights also vary from 4.25ft to 9.5 so if buying a container getting the exact metrics internally and externally are important otherwise you could end up buying something unsuitable for your needs. The only thing that does seem to be standard is width at 8ft, what the containers are made from and internal dimensions vary between manufacturers and companies needs.

An example of this is Matson’s who after calculating the best sizes of container for their operations along the West coast of Hawaii set upon using 20ft and 24ft containers that fitted their converted freighters from WW2 and integrated a racking system into the freighters specifically for the containers. This allowed the containers to be stacked six high and to be easily offloaded at the dock side using specialist crane equipment.