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53' Shipping Containers

05.11.2014 - Posted by Updated On 05.11.2014    

53' shipping containers are one of the rarer containers in the United States, and nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the world. They're predominantly used for domestic shipping on trucks and trains around North America.

History of the 53' Container

In November of 2007, APL was working with several clients, including Toys R' Us and New Balance, to develop the 53' x 102” unit. The main goal of the project was to increase efficiencies between China and Los Angeles. However, due to structural weaknesses and economic short comings the oversized containers were dropped in 2013 due to the lack of exports matching up with where the containers were returned. APL and other lines using the size returned to trans-loading their cargo from 20's and 40's into the 53' domestic size.

Uses of a 53' Container

53' containers were supposed to make a great improvement over then current logistical issues. Large retailers across the US bought into the idea hope to address three core issues:

  • Cost: by using 53-foot boxes, shippers can gain better cube economics and eliminate trans-loading expenses;
  • Supply chain congestion: two 53-foot containers hold the contents of three 40-footers, so there should be fewer containers to handle and fewer moves;
  • The environment: By cutting down on trans-loading and reducing the number of truck moves, traffic and exhaust emissions can be curtailed.

Today, there are still many 53' containers in use domestically in the United States. Cargo is still trans-loaded, or transferred from smaller containers into the larger units and distributed throughout the country via trains and trucks.

53' shipping container

53' shipping container
Out of service containers do come on the retail/secondary market, however it tends to be infrequent. Given the extra internal capacity they make great storage units, modular housing components, or other permanent fixture structure.

Container Dimensions

53' units are a very large container, larger than you might initially expect and taller and wider than traditional equipment. Along with the extra 13' in length, they are 102” (8'6” wide), and 9”6' tall, making them a high cube. The tare weight, container only, is 10,750 lbs.

  Length Width Height Weight Square Footage
53' Shipping Container 53' 8'5" (102") 9'6" 11,110 lb 3,830 Cu Ft
40' High Cube Container 40' 8' 9'6" 9,260 lb 2693 Cu Ft
40' Standard Container 40' 8' 8'6" 8,820 lb 2386 Cu Ft

ContainerAuction.com has containers of all lengths and conditions available for sale, including 53' shipping containers. The sellers listed on the site specialized in provide the best quality equipment at the best possible price. If you're in the market for new or used equipment please contact any of the sellers on the site through their active listings, or for general questions you're invited to contact the staff at ContainerAuction.com directly.



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