Container Weight Limitations

United States has a regulatory requirements on all cargo overland movement within North America. It is governed by weight restriction laws by both federal and local government agencies. There are serious consequences should you exceed the legal limits, such as but not limited to: Fines, Liability Claims, Equipment Damage and the incurring of unexpected expenses such as trans-loading fees, warehouse handling fees, additional containers etc.

Flegenheimer International would like to remind our clients that it is imperative they keep a clear and open communication with their shippers asking them to please abstain from over loading their containers as well as making sure it is loaded even among the four axles.  If they must exceed the weight limits then a plan must be put in place prior to the container arriving such as making special arrangements with their truckers for the use of special equipment, trans-loading services etc.

Another common problem is misreporting the weight on the bill of lading.  Many times the weight is under stated and when the trucks go on the scale, they are found to be excessively overweight and this is where all the delays, problems and extra expenses come in to motion.

Below is the recommended guideline from OOCL regarding the average maximum container weights.

NOTE: Strict adherence to reefer weights. Limit of tare weight shown on container may never be exceeded.
In the U.S.

                                   Suggested Weight             Maximum Weight
20′ dry container    39,500 lbs. (17.92MT)    Maximum varies by state                N/A
40′ dry container    44,500 lbs. (20.19MT)    Maximum varies by state*              N/A
45′ dry container    42,000 lbs. (19.05MT)    Maximum varies by state                N/A
20′ reefer cntr        36,500 lbs. (16.56MT)    Maximum varies by state                N/A
40′ reefer cntr        41,500 lbs. (18.82MT)    Maximum varies by state                N/A

*Montreal gateway to/from USA maximum = 42,000 lbs (or 19.05MT)

For more information, you may visit these websites:



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2 comments on “Container Weight Limitations
  1. Irvin says:

    I would like to know shipment 40″ FCL from Singapore to Philippines. What is the max loading weight and what is the Philippines local land truck weight allow?

    • Flegenheimer International says:

      Hi Irvin,

      Thank you for your e-mail. Unfortunately, we only handle U.S. Customs clearance and only knowledgeable on importation into the U.S.

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Flegenheimer Team

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