International Organization for Standardization

“ISO” Containers

An intermodal container or freight container (commonly known as: shipping container or box) is a reusable transport and storage unit for moving products between locations or countries; the terms container or box may be used on their own within the context of shipping.  Containers manufactured to ISO specifications may be referred to as ISO containers and the term high-cube container is used for units that are taller than normal.


There are two common standard lengths used to ship wine, spirits and other select beverages, 20 ft and 40 ft standard containers.  Container capacity is often expressed in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU, or sometimes teu). An equivalent unit is a measure of containerized cargo capacity equal to one standard 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width) container.  As this is an approximate measure, the height of the box is not considered; for example, the 9 ft 6 in (2.9 m) high cube and the 4-foot-3-inch (1.3 m) half height 20-foot (6.1 m) containers are also called one TEU.  Similarly, 45 ft (13.72 m) containers are also commonly designated as two TEU’s, although they are 45 and not 40 feet (12.19 m) long. Two TEU’s are equivalent to one forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU).

Weight (Max Payload)

The maximum gross mass for a 20 ft (6.1 m) dry cargo container is 24,000 kg, and for a 40-ft (including the 2.87 m (9 ft 6 in) high cube container), it is 30,480 kg. Allowing for the tare mass of the container, the maximum payload mass is therefore reduced to approximately 22,000 kg for 20 ft (6.1 m), and 27,000 kg for 40 ft (12 m) containers.

*Over the road weight restrictions vary state to state so please confirm prior to loading.

Loading Cases

20 ft container:  800 cases or 10 pallets (avg)

20 ft container:  34,000 lbs

40 ft container:  1200 cases or 20 pallets (avg)

40 ft container:  44,000 lbs

Each shipment is unique and depends on product weight, size and whether it is palletized or floor loaded.  Averages based on common 750 ml bottles in 12 pack cases.