What Is the CBM of a 40-Foot Container?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 3, 2020 3:45:08 PM ET

The loadable volume in cubic meters (CBM) of a standard 40-foot long shipping container is approximately 55 to 58 CBM. The total volume is approximately 70 CBM.

Shipping containers are used to ship goods by sea, land and air in a cost-effective and efficient fashion. They come in several standard sizes, with the 40-foot length being among the most popular. Standard shipping containers are roughly 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall, although the exact measurements vary slightly and also depend on container type. Calculating the volume of the shipping container is simply a matter of multiplying the length of the container by its height and width. A 40-foot container is thus 40 feet x 8 feet x 8 feet, or 2,560 cubic feet. One cubic foot equals approximately 0.028 cubic meters, so the metric volume of a 40-foot container is 2,560 x 0.028, or about 72 cubic meters (CBM). The loadable volume is slightly less than the total volume in order to allow for loading and unloading of the container.