What is tare, net, max. gross, CU. CAP and the prefix?

Are you on the road often? Then the chances of having seen the terms tare, net, max. gross and CU. CAP on the container of the truck in front of you are quite high. Did you ever wonder what these codes on the back of a shipping container mean? It’s all about the cargo can be transported in it. Besides that, shipping containers are identified by means of the prefix and the ISO code.

tare, net, max, gross, cu. cap and prefix shipping container

What is the definition of Tare?

Tare is the weight of an empty container. The tare weight of a 20ft shipping container is already 2.180kg while the biggest container, the 40ft High Cube, has a tare weight of 3.820kg.

What does Net on a container mean?

Net is applicable to the weight of the cargo. It indicates the maximum freight weight for that container. For a 20ft shipping container the “net” is approximately 28.480kg.

As we know that a crate of Dutch beer weighs 14,5kg each, a 20ft shipping container offers capacity for 21.000 crates of beer! The weight of pallets and other (packaging) materials is not yet accounted for.

What does the max. gross. mean?

The max. gross of a container indicates the maximum weight of the container including its cargo. This weight of cargo also includes cardboards, plastics and pallets. Max. gross is also referred to as M.G.W, max. gr. or max. gross weight. The maximum weight of 20ft, 40ft and 40ft High Cube shipping containers is 30.480kg. As containers increase in size, the maximum weight remains the same.

What is the CU. CAP?

CU. CAP. is short for cubic capacity, the volume of the container in cubic meters. On the shipping container this is indicated as a number followed by CU.M. A 20ft shipping container has a CU. CAP OF 33,2 CU.M. and a 40ft container has a CU. CAP of 66,7 CU.M.

A crate of beer is sized 0,4×0,3×0,25m. This means that 1.106 crates fit into a 40ft container. Herin the space needed for the pallets is not taken into account.

What is the container prefix?

Every shipping container has a prefix, this is a four-letter code which always ends on a U. The prefix indicates what company supplied to container. This means that every supplier has a unique prefix. Alconet Containers has the prefix ALLU. All prefixes are registered in a database and can also be found online. As shipping containers are used for intercontinental transport, it is very well possible to encounter an ALLU container in China!

Container ISO code

The codes of shipping containers below the prefix, as shown on the image, is the ISO Size Type of the container. The code 22G1 defines the container as a general purpose container. If you are interested in ISO codes of shipping containers, you can find them here.

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