International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China

Ultimate Guide to Dimensions & Uses of A Flat Rack Container

Table of Contents

Flat racks are a versatile container that can get your large goods from one place to the next. In this blog we talk about the advantages, dimensions, uses and how to get your hands on one. Flat racks are an asset in the shipping industry and allow you to ship awkward, bulky items with ease. If you don’t know which flat rack to get or whether it’s the most suitable option for you, we can help with that.

Read on to know everything about flat rack containers and why you should consider one.

What is a Flat Rack Container?

A construction company looking to store things quickly, conveniently, and efficiently should consider a flat pack container, especially if storage is needed in a small space or with limited access.

Lightweight flat pack containers are easy to transport and are easy to construct and put together. Whenever more space is required, or the container is not needed, it can be easily packed away and assembled again when needed.

Is a Flat Rack Container Easy to Use?

Upon loading cargo on flat racks, lash straps are used for securing cargo to the rack. You secure the load in the same way you would for freight going onto a flatbed trailer. The securement process is similar to tying down cargo to a flatbed trailer.

Following its securement, the load will be put on the transport method via the lift-on and off method.  To save on space and allow for a more secure transport you can stack the flatpacks on one another.

Weight and Dimensions of Flat Racks

The dimensions of flat rack containers are the same as those of standard containers. Due to the lack of walls in these containers, the dimensions are determined by dividing the internal dimensions by the imaginary volume within.
There are two standard sizes of flat racks: 20 feet and 40 feet. Still, they can handle heavier loads compared with ordinary containers. A 20 ft container can hold up to 2,000kg, and a 40 ft container can hold 4,000kg.

Now let’s take a closer look at flat rack dimensions:

First, we are going to look at the dimensions for the 20ft flat rack container.

Inside length – 5.94 m / 19.5 ft
Inside height – 2.35m / 7.7ft
Payload capacity – 30,140kg / 1,154.3
Inside width – 2.35 m / 7.7 ft
Tare Weight – 3,360kg / 5,203.8lbs

Whenever the payload capacity of a 20 ft flat rack is not sufficient for your cargo, choose a 40 ft rack instead. Make sure your cargo fits by checking the dimensions below:

Now let’s look at the 40 ft flat rack dimensions:
Inside length – 12.13m / 39.8ft
Inside height – 2.14m / 7ft
Payload capacity – 40,000kg / 88,200lbs
Inside width – 2.40/7.9
Tare weight – 5,000kg / 11,025 lbs
40 ft HC flat rack dimensions

Aside from the 20 ft and 40 ft versions, the container market also has 40 ft high cube flat racks. These are taller by one foot. A 40 ft HC flat rack has the following dimensions:

Inside length 12.13m 39.8ft
Payload Capacity 47,300kg / 104,280lbs
Tare weight 5,2000kg / 11,460lbs
Width 2.40m / 7.9ft
Height 2.29m / 7.5ft

Flat Rack Shipping Containers Are Used to Ship What Kinds of Cargo?

The good thing about flat packs is the fact they can carry different varieties of cargo which is a feature that ordinary containers lack. Flat rack containers can transport sugarcane, grain and many other agricultural products and industrial items to.

Let’s look at a breakdown of what can be shipped:

Steel and glass
Construction equipment
Tanks and boilers
Heavy machinery / transformers
Breakbulk goods

It doesn’t matter if you are moving cranes, turbines or breakbulk goods, you need a company that will load your goods properly and take care of them.

Therefore, flat racks should be stored at the top or at the bottom of a stack of containers. A container or cargo that comes into contact with this piece of equipment will not suffer accidental damage. 

Before Buying a Flat Rack Container, Consider the Following Factors

As soon as you know how flat rack containers work, the dimensions and types, you need to think about which one is most suitable for your needs. Flat racks should be purchased with these factors in mind:

What you are using the flat rack container for 
The payload
How easy the loading and unloading journey is
Concentrated load

Some cargo shapes may not be evenly distributed along the container’s length. You’ll need to ensure that you don’t exceed the concentration load limit when transporting such cargo. 
Container floors should not be exceeded by the concentrated load. There is usually a load limit of 2,000kg for 20 ft flat racks and for 40 ft flat racks a limit of 4,000kg.
The load should be evenly distributed, and its combined weight should not exceed the payload capacity of the container. Typically, 20 ft flat racks can hold 30,000kg and 40 ft flat racks can hold 40,000kg.
Identify your loading and unloading methods to decide whether a collapsible or non-collapsible one will suit you better. 

How Much Does a Flat Rack Container Cost?

It’s important to think about what a flat rack is going to cost you. Check out the data below.

Area 20 ft flat rack 40 ft flat rack
Europe $2,324 $2,581
USA No data $3,500
UAE $1,700 $2,178
China $2,122 $3,176
India $2,397 $2,113

For those who are not going to use the container regularly consider renting a flat rack container.

Flat Rack Container Prices Are Available on Container Allwayforward

Once you’re familiar with flat rack containers, look for container offers on our online marketplace. The following benefits are available to members of Container Allwayforward:

Worldwide, you can access more than 50,000 containers.
Get better prices on container leases and purchases than you can get from your current suppliers.
Get pre-approved by 1,500+ partners who have been reviewed and certified.
With the Allwayforward Wallet, you can make 100% safe payments, and manage your transactions easily.

Allwayforward takes transparency and flexibility to a whole new level. Doesn’t that sound good? There are more options than you might think when it comes to buying flat racks at the most competitive prices from reliable partners.

Are You a Good Candidate for Flat Rack Container Shipping?

Your domestic or commercial freight is usually shipped on a flatbed or trailer with an open deck, then yes it would be suitable for you, if you ship Freight that’s over dimensional. If so, you are unlikely to be able to fit your cargo into a container. Take into consideration how over dimensional the cargo happens to be and it may as well be better to ship via breakbulk when compared to other options for international shipping, Flat racks are an excellent tool to have at your disposal. How if this process overwhelms you or you are confused about anything give the team a call and they will help you work out what is the best option for your needs. 
Advantages of Flat Rack Containers

The flat rack containers are growing in popularity and are heading into a development boom due to the advantages they can offer. What makes flat rack containers so popular?


When it comes to unloading and loading these up they are super convenient.
Due to these having no sides on them it makes it easier to load and unload from and with that comes an improvement on the handling.

The Weight

Flat rack containers use new steel now which is 2.3 times more weight than the older steel that was being used. It can weight bare more than normal containers can, which can save both on time and expense.

Storage and Ventilation

When you compare these containers to ordinary ones because these don’t completely seal up they allow for proper circulation. If you are transporting plants, animals or flammable products it’s perfect for fresh air circulation. They are also easy to store as the frame can fold down to allow for better space utilization. 

When it Comes to Flat Rack Containers, How Safe Are They?

Your staff can move easily around flat racks, which means fewer injuries and fewer equipment costs.
Loading flat rack containers doesn’t require a ramp. These containers have latching belts and winches so the cargo on board can be protected and arrive safely. Workers can see objects, traffic, and hazards when unloading it since it’s open on both sides. Containers can be covered with tarpaulins to protect cargo from the weather.

FAQs About Flat Rack Containers

Flat Rack Containers: What Are They?

On its longer sides, flat rack containers do not have a roof or walls. Various sizes and shapes can be loaded quickly and easily this way. Due to this, this special container can store and ship out big cargo such as timber, vehicles, and machinery.
What Are the Features of a Flat Rack Container?

The short sides of flat racks are the only ones with walls, and the roof is absent. It is easier to load and unload goods this way. Flat racks come in two types: collapsible and non-collapsible. The walls of collapsible flat racks can be removed or folded.

What Are Flat Racks Made Of?
Most flat racks are made from steel, but they can be made from other materials. Steel is best because it is durable and very strong. This is important to flat racks as they have to handle a lot of weight.

What is the Standard Dimension for Flat Rack Containers?
Standard 20 ft flat containers measure 19.5ft by 7.7ft by 7.7ft internally. 39.8ft x 7.9ft x 7 ft are the measurements for a 40 ft flat rack container.


Flat racks containers are an important part of the shipping chain. 

Shipping something oversized or heavy is easy with a flat rack container. Regardless of the type of flat rack container you require, we have you covered. Decide what’s best for your business by comparing the types of containers.

Flat rack containers are an advantage to have within the shipping industry when compared to the traditional ones. Flat rack containers are versatile, efficient and are space saving as they can stack up and they are perfect for transporting large items. Let us know your plans and we can match you with the right flat rack container for your needs.