Two and a half tons is how much the average 20 foot container weighs.

The question of how many tons a container weighs is actually difficult to answer, though an answer has been supplied. It bares dissecting the answer for better understanding.

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The question of how many tons a container weighs is actually difficult to answer, though an answer has been supplied. It bares dissecting the answer for better understanding.

A twenty foot container is given a TEU which is the twenty foot equivalent unit. It is not an exact measure of cargo capacity. It is based on volume in which a container is 20 feet in length, as is most standard shipping containers. The TEU is considered an intermodal container where 20 feet is 6.1 meters long and 2.44 meters wide (8 feet wide). There is no standard height so it can be 4.25 to 9.5 feet in height. The height is usually 8.5 feet.

Now that you understand what TEU means we can go on with the answer to the question. The equivalence for a 20 foot container is based on a 1,360 cubic feet volume. This provides 1 TEU as the weight for the container.

According to the information found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-foot_equivalent_unit, one TEU can weight 24,000 kilograms with dry goods inside. The tare mass then has to be subtracted for the empty container, leaving 21,600 kilograms as the dry weight of the goods. This is 48,000 pounds. This means that a full container with the tare weight included is 53,000 pounds.

From this information it can be determined that an empty 20 foot container is 2.5 tons. A ton is equal to 2000 pounds. This is found by knowing that the weight of the empty container is 5,000 pounds. If a ton is 2000 pounds then it stands to reason the container is 2.5 tons based on the 5,000 pounds weight of the container.