The International Organization for Standardization governs the sizes and dimensions of shipping containers. This standardization of container sizes ensures that the goods are transported safely across the globe by truck, rail, or ship. The most popular shipping container size is the 20ft shipping container. But for businesses with limited shipping and storage needs, smaller sized containers are also available.
What Are the Smallest Shipping Containers?
Also called mini containers, smaller sized shipping container sizes are typically 6ft, 8ft, and 10ft. Smaller sized containers provide a flexible storage solution for domestic or business uses. They offer cost-effective options for small businesses that have lesser storage and shipping requirements. Smaller sizes of containers means easier mobility, making such containers a more effective choice than a 20ft or 40ft container. A 20ft or 40ft container handles heavy storage, so moving the container from one location to another takes a lot of planning and time to orchestrate the loading, unloading, and transportation process. On the other hand, smaller containers are more compact and can be moved quickly and easily from one place to another.
With compact small size containers, businesses can optimize storage space as well as reduce storage costs. These containers are constructed with corrosion resistant Corten steel and equipped with double locking door posts, hardwood or steel flooring, lashing rings, and forklift pockets.
Small sized containers come in many variations. The 6ft and 8ft containers are the most popular and cost-effective options in this segment. They are used for general equipment storage or archiving. These mini containers are also often used in residential premises as storage containers for garden tools, machinery, or equipment, or as small portable workshops. 10ft containers are used for shipping and storage applications like storing site equipment on construction sites. Sea freight companies usually do not accept smaller sized containers for shipping by sea. However, 10ft containers are considered a good choice for shipping inland as they are much easier to maneuver and transport.
How Much Does a Mini Container Cost?
The price for a new 10ft container varies from USD 2,995 to USD 5,995 depending on the place of purchase and age of the container.
On average, a new 8ft container costs approximately USD 2,700 or USD 3,000. Depending on its state, a used 8ft container might cost approximately USD 1,800 or USD 2,100.
An average 6ft storage container costs between USD 2,100 to USD 3,400. A more budget-friendly option of a used 6ft container can cost anywhere from USD 1,350 to USD 1,450.
Advantages of Smaller Containers
- Portability and durability
Due to their compactness and sturdiness, smaller containers are an ideal choice for businesses that need a highly portable option and have space restrictions for storing goods. Smaller sized containers are constructed from the same materials as their larger counterparts. They are weather resistant, rust resistant, and can have security modifications to protect the contents of the container.
- Optimized storage space
When buying smaller containers, enterprises can save on delivery costs by loading small containers inside one another and delivering them as a single unit. This single unit can then be unpacked and used as a storage solution. They can also be easily stacked on top of one another using a standard forklift to save more space. Small sized containers are typically used as a storage option at construction sites or other premises where there are restrictions on the usage of available space.
- Easy customization
Small shipping containers can be easily modified to include shelving for storage, heating or cooling systems, roller doors for easier access, or a lock box for additional security depending on the unique requirements of businesses. They can also be modified to add windows and personnel doors to serve as temporary office spaces on construction sites, temporary shops for retailers, mini workshops spaces, and many other uses.
- Improved cold chain logistics
Mini containers are being considered as an alternative to conventional reefers, particularly by small businesses. The smaller size of these containers makes it possible for them to fit into non-traditional food transportation such as small vans, pickup trucks, and flat trailers. Using mini containers, shippers can put different products in different containers and load them all in the same transportation unit. A central unit can be used to control the temperature of each mini container. This concept allows aggregation of products from different sources without losing their traceability and without using more than one transportation unit. This usage of mini containers in cold chain logistics leads to better utilization of transport vehicle capacity and reduces energy consumption by cooling only the required number of containers.
Dimensions and Size of Mini Containers
6ft Mini Container
6ft containers are usually the smallest sized containers. Following are the dimensions for a dry van 6ft container.
8ft Mini Container
The 8ft container is a small sized container, which is commonly used for dry storage. Following are the dimensions for a dry van 8ft container.
10ft Mini Container
The 10ft container is a compact solution for inland transportation and storage. Following are the dimensions for a dry van 10ft container.
Smaller sized containers are also available as high cube containers. The difference between dry van and high cube containers is that high cube containers are taller with a standard height of 9 ft 6 inches. Smaller sized shipping containers are ideal containers for businesses focussed on storage solutions. They are easily portable and help cut down on transportation expenses.