Benefits of Shipping Container Trailers

When you need to move goods, shipping container trailers get the job done. Rather than unloading a full shipping container, then reloading the goods into a trailer, putting containers on shipping container haulers saves time and money. 

If you need to buy a shipping container trailer, you will want one that can manage the container’s weight. It will be printed on the container door in tare weight, payload, and maximum gross weight.

  • Tare weight is the container’s weight when empty. 
  • Payload is the total amount the container carries. 
  • Maximum gross weight is the container and the contents together. 

20ft Shipping Container Trailers

20 ft. shipping-container-trailer
source: youtube

For comparison, a typical semi-trailer is 53 feet long, so a 20ft shipping container is rather small. When you put a small shipping container on a 20ft shipping container trailer, you get 20” L x 7’ 9” W x 7’ 10” H. Overall, that equals 1170 cubic feet.

What Fits in a 20ft Shipping Container

You can put several items of various sizes in a 20ft shipping container. You can put about 55 refrigerators or 50 sets of washers and dryers in the container. Interestingly, you can also put about 48,000 bananas in a 20ft shipping container. 

Related: Make loading your trailer easier with our recommended shipping container ramps and make moving it a breeze with our recommended shipping container wheels.

If you are renting a 20ft shipping container trailer to move your belongings, you can usually fit your kitchen appliances, your bedroom furniture, your living room furniture, some boxes, and a few bicycles. The 20ft shipping container trailer should be able to haul between 15,000 and 65,000 pounds of net weight. 

Cost of Renting or Buying a 20ft Shipping Container Trailer

Renting a shipping container trailer for a day costs about $800 or more, as some companies charge $2 per mile. If you want to buy your own, expect to spend anywhere between $1500 and $15000. 

You can rent or buy your own trailers from companies like B&W Trailer and ContainGo. They come with goosenecks for trailing behind a pickup truck and with pintle hitches. They tilt for easy on and off. 

You will need some heavy machinery to get the container on the trailer. They are heavy, so you will need a crane or forklift, even if the trailer has a tilt bed or a flatbed. 

Typical Uses

The typical 20ft container stores items that need to be safely moved. Some people use containers and trailers to put households into storage when moving. Retail stores use them when they do not have room in their storage rooms. Some construction companies also use them for storing tools and materials on job sites. 

40ft Shipping Container Trailers

40ft. shipping container trailer
source: youtube

While 20ft shipping containers are readily available, the 40ft versions tend to be used more often.

What Fits in a 40ft Shipping Container

A 40ft container holds one car, a few scooters, and the furniture and goods in a three-bedroom home. If you are moving your entire household in a 40ft container, you will need plenty of bubble wrap and about 60 boxes. You can fit two VW Beetles in a 40ft container and have room for more things. 

A 40ft shipping container measures 39’ 6” L x 7’ 9” W x 7’ 10” H and can hold 2,120 cubic feet on 285 sq ft of floor space. If you use standard pallets, the 40ft container can hold 22 without stacking them. 

If you have a 40ft shipping container to move, you will need to buy or rent a 40ft shipping container trailer that can hold the maximum weight of the container, which is 67,200. The container itself weighs between 8,000 and 8,775 pounds. 

Cost of Renting or Buying a 40ft Shipping Container Trailer

Renting a 40ft shipping container trailer costs upwards of $2 per mile, which can quickly add up, especially if you are traveling across the country. A used 40ft shipping container trailer costs between $5000 and $10000. The price is higher if the trailer has tilt or other functions. 

Like the 20ft containers, you will need machinery to lift the container off of the trailer. Some slide off, while others are flatbed trailers. You can buy 40ft shipping container trailers like a shipping container flatbed trailer or a used 40ft gooseneck container trailer at Commercial Truck Trader

Typical Uses


Many businesses use 40ft shipping containers for various reasons. Since some 40ft containers have climate-control features, restaurants use them for extra inventory. Large retail stores, like big box stores, use them during the busy holiday season to store their extra inventory, too. They are also useful for construction sites. 

Some people use 40ft shipping containers to create homes. They are the size of small apartments, so welding a few together creates comfortable living spaces without having to use new building materials. 


Can you put a shipping container on a trailer?

If you have a gooseneck trailer that can handle the maximum gross weight of a 20ft shipping container, you can put a shipping container on a trailer. However, if the maximum gross weight is less than the container, you could wreck your trailer by putting a heavy container on it.

Can you tow a shipping container with a pickup truck?

If you have a pickup truck with a fifth-wheel hitch, it can pull a 20ft shipping container trailer with a gooseneck. Since shipping containers are incredibly heavy, you should only use a 20ft shipping container trailer designed for large containers. 

Can you put a 20ft container on a trailer?

You can put a 20ft container on a trailer if the trailer has a tilt function or you have a forklift. 

What can tow a shipping container?

If you want to use your pickup truck to tow a shipping container, you will need to keep the maximum gross weight under the towing capacity of your truck. For example, an empty 20ft shipping container weighs 5000 lbs, and a typical pickup truck can tow between 5000 and 13000 pounds. That weight includes the cargo, the trailer, and the people in the truck. 

The safest way to tow a shipping container is with a semi-truck. 


Shipping containers and shipping container trailers make it easy to store, ship, and move items safely and securely. Before using shipping container trailers, it helps to know the difference between the two sizes, what they hold, and how to use them.

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  • One Response

    1. I like that you pointed out how you could put a shipping container on a trailer if you have a gooseneck trailer that could handle the maximum gross weight of a 20ft shipping container. I saw some shipping container trailer for trucks the other day and it made me quite interested in them. They look quite unassuming but I could definitely see how useful they are.

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