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Shipping Container Wind Rating and Load Capacity

08.06.2014 - Posted by Updated On 08.06.2014    

Wind isn't something a lot of people regularly think about, especially when it comes to using a shipping container for a storage unit or modular housing component, and in most circumstances it's not a factor that needs to be considered. However, if you live in a flat area prone to extreme wind conditions the discussion is bound to come up. Note that we're not discussing tornados or other weather events that can cause upward drafts, this is simply wind.

When shipping containers are loaded onto a vessel for shipping, they're stacked several wide, and several high, then lashed down to the boat to prevent them from rocking overboard in heavy swells, or being blown off in high winds. Along with the lashing they are able to gain support strength by being closely stacked together. When you have a single container in the open plains you don't have the "strength in numbers" benefit; however, wind still isn't something that you should be overly concerned about.

Wind load is calculated by finding the wind pressure, coefficient of drag, force, and area. There are a couple of different formulas, but the easiest on to use is this:

F = A x P x Cd
F = Force
A = Area
P = Wind Pressure
Cd = Coefficient of Drag (for a flat surface such as a container it would be 0.6)


If you organization or insurance company requires an exact rating I suggest that you contact a local engineer to do the math for you. If you don't need an exact number, or just want to ball park the number before you decide if you should be concerned, here are some general wind load ratings for shipping containers.

 10' shipping container






 20' shipping container






 40' shipping container






 40' high cube container






 45' shipping container







110 mph

120 mph

130 mph

140 mph

150 mph

These numbers are not to be used for exact calculations, as container specifications vary somewhat between manufacturers and shipping lines. As I stated before, if you need exact calculations you'll want to find a qualified engineer familiar with your area to certify that your container structure is safe.

If you have any questions about shipping containers in general, finding a qualified engineer, or building a container structure or storage facility, feel free to contact or any of the listed sellers directly with your questions.

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