How Many Pallets Can You Fit in a Shipping Container?

When it comes to shipping goods, it can be across borders or within the country.  This ensures ease of handling, storage, and protection from potential damage is paramount.

Pallets play a pivotal role in this process. They provide a convenient means of stacking and storing products. This happens within shipping containers, warehouses, or trucks.

Additionally, they ease efficient loading. This enables seamless handling through the use of forklifts, pallet jacks, or conveyors.

Thus, a common question that arises is, “How many pallets can you fit in a shipping container?”

This is a critical consideration for businesses looking to optimize their shipping operations and minimize costs and selecting the appropriate pallet and container for your merchandise hinges on understanding their correct size and dimensions. It is crucial to avoid unnecessary floor space wastage. This ensures that your goods can be shipped at a competitive rate.

In this article, we will learn about the two types of pallets. Also, how these pallets fit in various-sized containers. Additionally, what benefits do they offer in the logistics industry?

Widely Used Pallets in Logistics

The number of pallets you can pack into your container hinges on the container’s size. It also depends on the type of pallets at your disposal. In the shipping industry, there are 2 pallet types: Euro Pallets and Standard Pallets. Euro pallets have wide usage with an estimated 450-500 million in circulation globally. Both Euro and Standard Pallets share a length of 1200mm. However, there exists a notable distinction in width. A Euro Pallet measures 800mm in width, while a Standard Pallet spans 1000mm across.

Shipping container dimensions

The provided table displays the internal dimensions of utilized containers. These containers are for both shipping and warehousing purposes. Among these, the 20-ft and 40-ft containers hold significant prominence within export markets.

Container SizeLengthWidthHeight
10-ft container9ft 2ins.7ft 7ins.7ft 9ins.
20-ft container19ft 3ins.7ft 7ins.7ft 9ins.
30-ft container29ft 5ins.7ft 8ins.7ft 10ins.
40-ft container39ft 4ins.7ft 7ins.7ft 9ins.
45-ft container44ft 5ins.7ft 8ins.7ft 10ins.

It’s worth noting that the ISO establishes strict standards governing these dimensions. This outlines either minimum or maximum value. But, it’s important to acknowledge the slight variations in container dimensions. Even if they are among those with the same nominal size and type.

How Many Pallets Fit in Various-Sized Containers? 

10-ft Container

  • It can hold 4 Standard Pallets or 5 Euro Pallets in terms of space.
  • Due to their compact size, 10ft containers are sometimes considered for air freight.
  • They can be more manageable in terms of handling.
  • They can be transported via certain cargo planes, providing a flexible shipping option.
  • 10-ft containers are frequently utilized in domestic transportation.
  • For businesses with limited cargo volumes, utilizing a 10ft container can be a cost-effective option.
  • Smaller containers like the 10ft option can offer enhanced security and easier access to goods during transit.

20-ft Container

  • It can hold up to 10 Standard Pallets or 11 Euro Pallets in terms of space.
  • They are widely used for transporting goods, i.e., consumer products to industrial equipment.
  • The dimensions of a 20ft container allow for efficient stacking and storage of palletized goods.
  • These containers can seamlessly transition between different modes of transportation, including ships, trains, and trucks.
  • Using a 20ft container has positive environmental impacts. It allows for efficient packing and reduces the need for multiple shipments.
  • They accommodate a wide range of cargo types, from perishable goods to machinery and equipment.

30-ft Container

  • It holds up to 14 Standard Pallets or 18 Euro Pallets.
  • It is well-suited for medium-sized cargo loads that require more space.
  • It is used for a wide range of goods, from manufactured products to bulk commodities.
  • There are specialized versions of 30-foot containers, such as high-cube and refrigerated containers, which cater to specific cargo needs.
  • Choosing a 30-foot container for shipping can contribute to environmental sustainability.
  • There are specialized versions of 30-foot containers, such as high-cube and refrigerated containers, which cater to specific cargo needs.
  • It is advantageous for businesses with moderate cargo volumes, as it minimizes expenses associated with unused space.

40-ft Container

  • A 40ft standard container is a preferred choice for businesses with substantial cargo volumes.
  • It holds up to 20 Standard Pallets or 24 Euro Pallets, providing ample space for sizable shipments.
  • It is versatile and can handle a wide range of cargo, from electronics to bulk commodities.
  • Despite its large capacity, it’s crucial to remain mindful of weight restrictions.
  • A 40ft container seamlessly transitions between various modes of transportation. This includes being loaded onto ships, trains, and trucks.
  • It is customizable with features such as ventilation, insulation, or secure locking systems.
  • 40ft containers are designed to withstand the demands of international shipping.

45-ft Container

  • It holds 24 Standard Pallets or 27 Euro Pallets.
  • This unit is designed to hold a higher quantity of pallets, making it ideal for businesses with large-scale cargo needs.
  • It maximizes pallet storage and transportation capacity, making it an efficient choice for large-scale shipments.
  • They are constructed from robust materials to ensure the safety and integrity of the cargo.
  • It helps minimize the environmental impact associated with transportation.
  • This container can be customized with features such as insulation, secure locking systems, and ventilation.

Factors to Consider to Pick the Pallets Accordingly

Selecting the appropriate pallets is a critical step in container shipment. The right choice depends on factors specific to your supplier and target markets. These considerations play a significant role in determining how many pallets can effectively fit into a standard container.

  1. Pallet Loading Height

Take into account the height of your product once it’s stacked on the pallets. This is influenced by the size and weight of your items.  It impacts how many tiers can be loaded in your container.

  1. Load Weight

Take into account the height of your product once it’s stacked on the pallets. This is influenced by the size and weight of your items and directly impacts how many tiers can be loaded in your container.

  1. Container Space Utilization

Maximizing space in all three dimensions is imperative. Even if you arrange pallets within a 20- or 40-foot container. This optimization should also guarantee efficient loading. It also helps in unloading processes while minimizing the risk of potential damage.

  1. Unloading Requirements

When arranging pallets within a 20- or 40-foot container, maximizing space in all three dimensions is imperative. This optimization should also guarantee efficient loading and unloading processes while minimizing the risk of potential damages. Also, consider the potential obstacles such as passage through doorways, onward routing, and buildings.

Ensuring Efficient Container Shipping with Pallet Packing

  1. Make sure that cardboard boxes or cargo do not extend beyond the edges of the pallet. This obstructs efficient pallet arrangement and could lead to complications during shipping.
  2. Properly stack your cargo on the pallet to prevent any mishaps. Incorrectly stacked goods can lead to damages, especially when pallets are closely packed or handled.
  3. Utilize cling wrap or scraps of plastic to secure your shipment. This measure not only prevents potential damage but also ensures that the cargo remains stable and intact during transit.

In container loading, the priority is often to maximize floor space use. But, there are instances where total weight becomes a crucial factor. A shipment of lightweight goods allows for a two-tier arrangement within the container. When dealing with heavy-loaded pallets, it’s essential to limit the number per container. It is important to avoid surpassing a specified weight limit. This precaution is necessary to ensure safe and compliant shipping practices.


In shipping logistics, it is important to understand how to place pallets in a container. It is a fundamental question of placing pallets in a shipping container. It is not about the mathematics. But, also about the strategic implementation of these principles.

Adhering to standardized pallet dimensions is the cornerstone of effective packing. These dimensions, 48 inches by 40 inches, form the basis for ensuring compatibility. This compatibility happens with various modes of transport.

Beyond this, the art lies in the strategic stacking of pallets. The goal is twofold: to maximize available space use. Also, while ensuring the cargo’s safety and stability. This involves considering the weight and dimensions of the goods. Also, the specifics of the container itself.

Moreover, the orientation of pallets within the container is a critical consideration. Aligning them in a way that minimizes wasted space is essential.

This may involve utilizing Euro Pallets. They are for their narrower width, and in a lengthwise position. This is the tactic that can optimize space usage.

Additionally, businesses must be mindful of weight limits imposed by shipping regulations. Balancing the number of pallets with the total weight of the cargo is imperative. This ensures compliance and safe transit. By implementing strategic practices, businesses enhance the efficiency of their shipping processes.