How to find out how many cartons fit in a container

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Calculation: Containers CBM divided by the individual carton dimensions (in CBM)

Calculation: CBM is calculated :  Length x Width x Height

If the carton measurements are in "Centimeters", you need to convert them to METERS (Keep in mind that the "M" in CBM, stands for "meters").  Obviously, if the measurements are in inches or yards, you first should convert to centimeters or meters.

Convert the carton measurements that are listed in centimeters to CUBIC METERS?

There are two options to convert.  You can calculate the volume in cubic centimeters and then convert to cubic meters, or you can convert centimeters to meters and then calculate the volume.

Option # 1: As an example, if the carton measures 100 cm x 150 cm x 200 cm it will equal 3,000,000 cubic centimeters.  Since there are one million cubic centimeters per cubic meter, you have 3,000,000 divided by 1,000,000 which equals 3 cubic meters.

  • Calculation: If in "centimeters" take L x W x H and then divide by 1,000,000 to get Cubic Meters.

Option # 2: The second option is that you could have converted to meters first.  In that case, 100 cm = 1.00 m; 150 cm = 1.50 m; and 200 cm = 2.00 m Therefore, the CBM volume is 1.00 meters x 1.50 meters x 2.00 meters = 3 cubic meters.

When determining how many cartons will fit into a container, you will need to know the CBM for both the cartons AND the container.  And yes, if you have cartons of multiple sizes, the calculations is more tricky (I am not going to explain how that is done).

Re: The CBM of the Container

The measurements of the outside of a freight container does NOT equal the size of the insider of the container.  So, I guess calculating the CBM from the outside measurements would not be the exact answer.  I suggest asking the freight company that you are working with to determine the CBM that they quote.  Keep in mind to ask for the specific container size.  Common containers are 20 foot, 40 foot and 40 foot HQ (High Cube).

   Container Dimensions 

Note: Actual loading will depend on accurate calculations based on how the items are loaded in the container and whether the dimensions of the cartons leave unusable space. Load factors will vary based on carton size and how they are stowed inside the containers.  Also, not all containers are the same exact size.

Helpful Information:

1 cubic inch = 0.000016387064 Cubic Meters

Floor Loading verse Pallet Loading

How to Palletize Cartons

Calculating Volumetric Weight

Freight Container Dimensions

Freight Container Definition

Serial Shipping Container Code

You may also have interest in checking the shipping definitions section.  In that area, you can find valuable educational material regarding the importing and exporting of apparel and textiles.  In addition, it would be a good idea to learn about Calculating Volumetric Weight and container sizes.

If you need help with your shipments, you may wish to consult a freight forwarder.  You can find them from our directory, or consult a freight forwarders association for possible suggestions.

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