Full-Service Buying Office for the Promotional Products Industry

How many products fit in a container?

Ever receive a quotation from a factory and wonder how many pieces would fit in a container perfectly?   You want to maximize the shipping space available.  Lets take the example that you are buying custom plush toys from a factory.  The price of US$3/piece FOB China works for you, but you need to check the freight costs to make sure they are not prohibitive.

Fit In A Container - Miniature Shipping Container

Fit In A Container – Miniature Shipping Container

Ask the factory for packing details and you usually get information like this : 18pieces/ctn, carton size: 63x45x58cm.  Here is an example of the calculation you need to make.

  • Carton size 0.63 * 0.45 * 0.58 =  0.16443 CBMs (Cubic Meters)
  • Carton Size (0.16443) / 18 pcs per carton = 0.009135 CBMs per pc.
  • 20 foot container (33 CBMs) / CBMs per pc (0.009135) = 3612 pcs.
  • Total cost (US$3 * 3612) & assume US$4000 for Duties & freight = US$14,836

What type container do I need?

Fit in a Container - Dog Plush

Fit in a Container – Dog Plush

There are 4 different options for shipping by sea.  You may ship LCL (Less than a Container Load), basically just packing your goods loosely in a container and then the freight forwarder will charge you per CBM.   Otherwise you may choose a more economical way to export buying enough products to fit one of the 3 standard containers in use.

  • LCL – Less than a container Load.  Charged by CBM in shared container.
  • 20-foot standard container @ 33 cbm, but real life allows us load 28-30 cbm of real cargo
  • 40-foot standard container @ 67 cbm, but again reality allows 64-65 cbm maximum
  • 40-foot HiCube container @ 75 cbm, reality allows 72-73 cbm maximum


Take a look at other useful articles here to fit in a container perfectly: