Hard Top Open Top Container: Size, Dimension, and other Specifications Explained

In the world of shipping containers, you would come across different types of container boxes. Right after their invention in 1956, different types of shipping containers were made to suit the shipment of a wide range of cargoes. From dry van, pallet wide, reefers, bulkers to name a few…the container world has got so big. In this blog, we are going to have a detailed discussion on one of the container types- hard top containers.

Hard top container is a particular type of general dry container. Contrary to its name, it does not have a solid roof (hard top). Like open top containers, it is equipped with a removable roof which can easily be removed to allow access for loading & unloading. The only difference being, instead of a tarpaulin cover, it has a removable steel roof and a moveable rear top rail. The box is made up of corrugated steel and the floor is made up of wood. The door header of hard top container may be swivelled out. These features allow to pack and unpack the cargo very easily.

Most of the HTC have lashing rings on the roof for accommodating forklift trucks. Lashing rings, to which the cargo may be secured, are installed in the upper and lower side rails, the corner posts, and the middle of the side walls. The lashing rings installed on the side rails and corner posts of hardtop container may bear loads of up to 2000 kg while that on the middle may bear loads of up to 500 kg (if roof is closed). Lashing on the side walls can be done only when the roof has been closed. It can entertain all kinds of dry cargoes. Freight can be loaded and unloaded from the top or through the main doors using a crane and crab.

What are the characteristics of hard top containers?

  • It is similar in function to open top containers
  • It is specially designed to support the shipment of heavy and heighted cargoes that protrude beyond the height of a general cargo container.
  • Crane systems can be used to load and unload crates without having to disassemble the container itself.
  • If the cargo exceeds the height of the box, the top steel roof can be removed and kept at one side of the container.
  • The swivelling door allows for easy loading and unloading of goods.
  • Lashing rings also allow for secure loading and unloading.
  • Some models also come with a swinging header (rear top rail) to facilitate easier loading operations
  • Open sides are also used for ventilating hardy perishables like apples or potatoes.
  • Simplifies the shipment of cargoes that are best loaded by crane.
  • The open roof varies depending upon the model.
  • It comes in different dimensions like 20ft, 40ft, 40ft high cube.

What types of cargoes can be shipped in hardtop containers?

As mentioned earlier, a hard top container can fit all standard sized freight and freight with exceeding measurement. It is used to carry a wide range of general dry freight. It is equally suitable for carrying bulk freight like cement, steel, coal, concrete, automotive, construction goods, etc. With the roof removed and the door header swung out, it is much handy for heavy goods that can be seamlessly loaded from the roof top or doors with the help of a crane, crab, or forklift.

To summarize, it can ship goods posing following characteristics-

  • Extra height
  • Heavy loads
  • Oversized loading
  • Easy liftable from crane, crab, or forklift
  • Easily accessible through doors
  • Partly perishable items like onion, potatoes

What are the different dimensions of hard top containers available?

Most containers are manufactured meeting the ISO standards set by the International Organization of Standardization. Hard top containers are too made meeting the ISO Standards. It meets the technical requirement of standard boxes and hence comes in 20ft, 40ft, and 40ft high cube.

20ft hard top

Internal dimensions- 19’3×7’8×7’7
External dimensions- 19’10x8x8’6
Door opening- 7’8×7’5
Max gross weight- 67200 pounds

40ft hard top

Internal dimensions- 36’5×7’8×7’7
External dimensions- 40x8x8’6
Door opening- 7’8×7’6
Max gross weight- 67200 pounds

40ft high cube hard top

Internal dimensions- 36’5×7’8×8’7
External dimensions- 40x8x9’6
Door opening- 7’8×8’6
Max gross weight- 67200 pounds

What volume of cargo can you fit in a hard top container?

The loading capacity in terms of weight and measurement may vary slightly from one brand to another.

Dimensions 20ft 40ft 40ft High Cube

Tare weight 6950 pounds | 10360 pounds | 10803 pounds
Max. payload weight 61250 pounds | 56840 pounds | 56397 pounds
Max. gross weight 67200 pounds 67200 pounds 67200 pounds

Or we can say that it can fit around 30 European pallets and 25 American pallets in 40ft high cube boxes.

Things to check before buying a hard top container-


When choosing one, you can quickly access the dimensions and condition of the provided box. You can also ask for photos from your supplier. Though in most cases, photos are not fair in describing the actual condition and features. If you are deciding to buy one, either try to give a personal visit for physical inspection or choose some trustable or reputed container suppliers.


After you have done inspecting the interior of the box, give a walk around to assess its overall outlook, corner, walls, roof, seals around the edges. In the case of used containers, you may find small signs of dents, patches, rust, discoloration which is pretty normal. But for a new one, you should make sure the container is free from any flaw. Check for any aesthetic or structural blemishes that could cause an issue.


After assessing the interior and exterior, give a thorough look on doors, hinges, locks, seal, gaskets, etc. Look for any kind of residue left after the previous shipment. Any kind of holes or damage in the ceiling can be disastrous as rainwater can penetrate through it causing damage to your freight. Also assess the floors for signs of pests, insects, holes, cargo spills, etc. Check for its water tight quality by getting inside the box and closing the door to ensure no sunlight passes from it.

How to buy hard top containers?

To buy a hard top container, you should begin with the very first step- finding a trusted container supplier. If you’re looking to buy shipping containers in Poland, Germany, Spain, or anywhere in the world, we at LOTUS Containers have got just the perfect solution for you. Without needing you to go anywhere; we can arrange a virtual tour to our large fleet size of containers where you get to inspect and buy almost all types of shipping containers.

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