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Interesting and Unknown Facts about Shipping Containers

Monday, January 11, 2016
Mankind has shipped goods across the oceans for many thousands of years. However, shipping remains an invisible industry to many of us. It is remarkable that our livelihood depends on it. About 90% of trade conducted globally is carried out by the international shipping industry.  It enables goods to be imported and exported at competitive and reasonable price rates.  Listed below are interesting but not widely known facts about shipping containers.


1. Shipping is the ‘greenest’ method of transportation, as mentioned in the Maersk stories; “a container on our Maersk Triple-E line” since it releases only 3g of Co2 per container versus an airplane which emits around 560g of Co2 per ton.

2. Shipping was re-invented by Malcolm Mclean in the early 1950’s. The construction of the shipping containers by use of metal was to replace the break-bulk method formerly used for transportation of the goods. He later founded the ‘Sea-Land Service’, which further augmented his business.

3. At present, there are over 17 million shipping containers globally, and five or six million are currently transported worldwide, on shipping vessels, trucks and trains. It is estimated that they make around 200 million trips a year in total.

4. New shipping containers are exported from China, it being the largest exporter of new shipping containers.

5. The lifespan of a container is over 20 years plus, on average, if it is well maintained.

6. The concept of Re-purposing or Re-deploying shipping containers as workspaces and homes is believed to conserve a lot of energy, which may otherwise have been expended on melting them for reuse as scrap.

7. Many cities, such as, London, Mumbai, to name a couple, use shipping containers as an easy and cost effective way of providing pre-fab housing. Re-purposed containers have also been effectively used in Berlin, for housing students, and, more recently for housing the asylum seekers. 

8. The process of containerisation has enabled, to bring down the cost of transportation (from Asia to Europe) of electronic goods such as a DVD player to just about 0.8%, and that of a typical TV set to about 1.4% of their final prices to the customer.

9. The biggest container ship in the world today is five times bigger than an Airbus A380. It can transport more than 16,000 containers on each journey.

10. Each container is allocated with its own unique unit number, which is referred to as a box number which can be used by the ships- captains, the crews, the cost guards, the dock supervisors, the customs officers and the warehouse- managers. The box number tells them about the owner of the container, and also about details of the client using the container for shipping their goods. It also helps them to keep a track of the whereabouts of the container during the course of its journey in the world.

If you have any queries, or if you happen to require any assistance when it comes to buying or hiring our shipping containers, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts will always be glad to assist you round the clock. 

Upcycling of Shipping Containers

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

It has been estimated that there are over 17 million shipping containers in circulation worldwide, and only about one third of these are in active circulation.  Since these shipping containers typically see an active use of only about 20 years, and since they are a resource-intensive product, there is a growing trend to re-purpose (up-cycle) old used shipping containers.  In fact, old shipping containers have a shocking amount of potential applications, many of which are overlooked and typically depend on the creativity of the person using the containers.

Used shipping containers can be re-purposed in order to create a variety of interesting and modern-looking spaces, enclosures, and structures.  In general, these can be categorised into housing structures, yard/landscaping features, recreational applications, commercial applications, structural elements, and artistic designs.

There is already one cleverly designed housing development in London that is made almost purely out of old shipping containers.  These containers were arranged in such ways as to provide comfy lofts and even have built-in windows and staircases.  Other living-related applications include the building of new wings on houses.  Need an extra room in your house, but you’re limited to a tight budget?  Consider designing your new room from an old shipping container.

Even some food truck businesses are being replaced by “food shipping containers”, which are modified to have hinged walls that can be closed overnight but opened for business.  Shipping containers also have the benefit of being fire resistant.  If a grease fire starts in a food truck, at least the whole store won’t burn down.  The container is also usually much cheaper for the business owner than buying a large truck or trailer.

Among the more striking and creative uses of old shipping containers are landscaping applications like sun rooms, gardens, tool sheds, and pools.  A shipping container can have the sides removed and placed onto moving hinges in order to have pop-up walls that can be returned to regular position during bad weather but lowered on nice sunny days.  By simply digging a large hole and filling it with a container with a removed-top, you can have a very basic swimming pool—of course you’ll want to paint the inside white, or another light color.  This sure beats the normal cost of swimming pool installation.  You can even build a multi-use structure that has a tool shed inside, and a garden on top!  If space is limited in your yard, this can be an excellent solution.

The use of shipping containers for novel applications has two major benefits.  The first is the low cost of shipping containers, compared to traditional building materials.  Shipping containers provide the buyer with a pre-made structure that already has great strength and durability and does not require any construction (aside from modifications).  Secondly, there is a great benefit to the environment by using recycled containers, which require a large amount of mined iron and enormous industrial processing.  By using shipping containers for your next do-it-yourself home project, you are potentially saving money and helping the environment.


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