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International SOLAS VGM requirements

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

From July 1st, 2016 all packed containers loaded onto a vessel within NZ must have been weighed prior.  This has arisen due to an amendment of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.  The shipper is responsible for the verification of the containers weight, also know as the Verified Gross Mass (VGM).

The VGM can be determined by either:

  • Method One: Weighing the packed container, using calibrated and certified weighing equipment
  • Method Two: Weighing all of the individual contents of the container, including any packing material and dunnage, and adding it to the tare weight of the container

Here at SEA Containers, we have been working alongside with a few specialists who are mobile and can come to your premises to weight the container.  Please speak to our Operations Manager, Scott, for more information on this service.


If you want to read more about the SOLAS VGM requirements, you can read the frequently asked questions pages at Port Connect here

The History of the Shipping Container

Monday, June 13, 2016

 “Think outside of the box,” is one of the most commonly used phrases in the business world. Malcolm Mclean did just that. Many of us are in the dark as to who he is. Who is Malcolm Mclean and why should we know more about him?

Let’s delve into the history of shipping containers, and its enormous impact on global trade.

How did they cart goods around the globe? Evidently they shipped tons of cargo, jewels, merchandise and products from Africa, Greece, Egypt and Canaan for thousands of years.  Recorded history indicates that sea transport is the largest carrier of goods throughout the years. It was a challenging process. Goods would routinely be loaded into sacks, barrels, and wooden crates and became time-consuming and burdensome. This process described is known as break bulk cargo and was the only form of transporting cargo via ship.

They had a simple system in place to make the process more productive. However, with the breakthrough of technologies and transition of manufacturing processes resulted in an upsurge of the railways,  it drew attention to the deficiencies of the cargo shipping system. Shifting cargo from ships to trains prolonged the process and caused considerable delays and obstructing movement within many ports.

The term logistics, “the commercial activity of transporting goods to customers,” is the word we are familiar with today.  During the 1950s  the brainchild of containerisation, Malcolm Mclean had an innovative idea that impacted the world.

Malcolm Mclean, who was a trucking entrepreneur, became frustrated with the pitfalls of loading, unloading, and transporting goods. He recognised that there must be a more efficient way to carry cargo,  and concluded that boats would be more cost-efficient as opposed to road transport, at the same time reducing maintenance of trucks and the cost of fuel.

A discerning Malcolm understood the need to design a more efficient system of loading and unloading cargo which consisted of various sized crates and boxes, he decided to revolutionise his transport by expanding to pursue the concept of developing a more desirable containerisation system.

In 1955 he established the Pan Atlantic Tanker Company and renamed it Sea-Land Shipping.  After a lot of testing, he recognised that it would be easier to use one container that could be hauled by truck directly onto the boat without unloading its freight. Hence, reducing the chance of damage and simplifying the logistical nightmare.

Malcolm Mclean’s ingenuity brought about the shipping container as we know it today. It was durable and had standardised dimensions. Which made it easier to load, and was stackable. They were also lockable, making them theft resistant.

Even though Malcolm Mclean’s inventiveness was not entirely new, he is at the forefront of revolutionising transport and standardising the process of shipping containerised cargo and reducing the cost overall.

Malcolm Mclean ultimately, designed a ship that carried 58 of his containers. That first ‘conatiner’ ship sailed from the Port of Newark to the Port of Houston on the 26th of April 1956.

At SEA Containers NZ we don’t only sell and hire these metal boxes, but are able to deliver them nationwide. For any further advice, please feel free to contact our friendly team or why not fill out a quick online quote form.


Tips on Using a Shipping Container as Storage

Friday, June 03, 2016

‘The strongest box in the world,' the corten steel boxes you see dotted in ports all over the globe are repurposed into incredible container structures. There is a growing trend to use these superstructures and convert it into storage units. It is cost efficient, durable, transportable, can withstand severe weather conditions and is fire resistant. New Zealand is no exception, a surplus of used shipping containers are on offer and entices Kiwi businesses, schools and the public to opt for shipping containers as storage units.

Before you decide to purchase and convert a shipping container into a storage unit, there are a few tips worth considering, to ensure that your items are safe, undamaged, with minimal maintenance and in a good condition.

Overall Cost

The overall cost of using a recycled shipping container might be less than a concrete structure, a galvanised steel shed, or a wood frame storage unit. The materials needed to construct a timber frame unit, concrete structure, or shed may cost less, however, the cost of labour in New Zealand is high. Therefore, using a shipping container as a storage unit is a viable option.

Importance of having a foundation

A foundation for your shipping container is crucial for moisture control and structural durability. One of the benefits of placing a container on a foundation is that it helps with air circulation under the container, which in turn reduces the acceleration of moisture. If the container kept is in a humid area or a high-intensity rainfall zone, you might want to opt for railroad ties. Bricks, concrete slabs, stones are other options commonly used as foundation options.

Odours/Smells in the Interior

There is no way of knowing what was inside of a recycled shipping container. If your shipping container has an odour or smells, you can eradicate it. One recommendation is that you take a big jug of cheap coffee and scatter the coffee on the floor of the container. Once you have done that, close the doors for two days. The coffee will remove the odour and leaves the interior smelling faintly of coffee.

Improve Security

Shipping containers are equipped with lock boxes and other high locking paraphernalia. Recycled shipping containers do not have the lock box, however, we are able to add this at your request. They are also easily obtainable from hardware shops as well online stores.

Best Priced Shipping Container available

Bear in mind that the cheapest shipping container available might not be the best option. If you do decide to opt for a cheap container, be sure to do a thorough check of the condition of the interior of the container. Examine the container for any holes or openings; that can result in leakage problems or mouldy flooring with termite infestations. New shipping containers come with customary options and features. Recycled containers vary in price and condition.

If you are considering purchasing a shipping container to use as a storage solution, feel free to contact any of our friendly staff at SEA Containers.

5 Surprising Uses for Shipping Containers

Monday, May 09, 2016

There is an increasing awareness of the innovative methods of using shipping containers. These containers are versatile and are used to construct any building imaginable. Owning a ‘bach’ is quintessential to the Kiwi beach lifestyle. Therefore, we will explore and focus on the leisure uses for shipping containers from the ‘bach’ to the artistic retreat. Here are five recreational uses for shipping containers.

Bach Beach Home

In more recent years the humble Kiwi bach has been replaced by the modern holiday home. We are all working longer hours, and look forward to escaping the noise and busyness of city life. Have you considered building a beach hut using shipping containers? A breathtaking beach hut with views of the magnificent Mc Gregor Bay designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan has four bedrooms. The beach home has a large spacious open plan living space, indoor-outdoor flow for the long warm New Zealand summer days. The beach container home is cladded with natural timber and complements the environment, native bush and Coromandel mountains.

Camping Hut

A camping container created by Joel from HyBrid Arc, an American, converted a container for King County Parks in Washington. King Country Parks (200 parks) spans over 26, 000 acres of land in Carnation, Washington. They say this is the first eco-friendly camping container constructed, built with recycled and sustainable materials. A 20-foot shipping container was used and can accommodate a family of four.


A design company in the UK that specialises in converting shipping containers transformed the shipping containers into a relaxing and fun bar in London. They designed and created a lovely atmosphere with a log fire for those cold wintry nights. The Docklounge is built and made of two 40-foot containers and one Hi-cube 40-foot container was modified to form a spacious room. The décor and furnishings transform it into a space that looks like a warm, inviting ski-lodge.

Artistic Retreat

If painting the town red isn’t your style then maybe spending time at a countryside retreat is more appropriate. Cove Park, artists, retreat in Scotland surrounded by 40 acres of rural landscape. The Park consists of 9 retreats. Each retreat built out of a shipping container. Individual containers have an en-suite and have views of the well-known Loch Long. Each container was retro-fitted off site, hence only took four days to install on-site.


SOAK a company in San Francisco, wants to convert recycled shipping containers and create portal spas that are easily transported to other locations when required. Reusing shipping containers as portable spas are not only for aesthetic purposes, and its durability but to restrict the dependency of massive infrastructure. Efficiently retrofitted, effortlessly transported and cost efficient, ideal for short terms projects lasting for a few years. SOAK is earnest about the environment and come with solar panels and a greywater recycling system.

Do you want to put shipping containers to good use? Contact our team of experts or fill out our quick quote online form.

Shipping Container Hotels – A New Phenomenon

Monday, May 02, 2016

It comes as no surprise that architects, designers, and business owners are becoming more innovative. It is no secret that surplus shipping containers stacked up in ports and wharfs around the world present all kinds of opportunities. Repurposed containers used to create homes, museums, pop-up malls, workshops and so forth, are increasingly popular. Can you imagine a hotel made from recycled shipping containers? Container hotels are becoming part of the landscape in more and more countries. Here are a few examples.

Xiang Xiang Xiang Pray House Hotel

The five-star hotel is built and designed entirely out of shipping containers. While the exterior is not aesthetically pleasing, the interior is lavishly decorated. The compact but snug guest rooms are spread out over the hillside of Changski, China. The rooms have classic Chinese décor, high-quality furniture, skylights and other accessories. The pop-up hotel took only three months to design and build.

Chile’s First Eco-Hotel

Newshub reports that a New Zealand winemaker is about to open the first shipping container hotel in Chile. He not only grabbed hold of the opportunity to use the surplus containers but is transforming them into an environmentally-friendly hotel. The Wine Box will offer contemporary accommodation and feature local Chilean wine. Hotel owner, Mr. Phelps, as quoted by Newshub, says that the container hotel is suitable for an area susceptible to earthquakes. “If you think, containers are seven(feet) high in a ship, so the guy at the bottom (container) has to take 180 tonnes on top of it. So they’re designed to take a tremendous amount of load and heavy and serious conditions in the high seas – a big storm. So in an earthquake, they are going to handle it perfectly.”

Portable Snoozebox Hotel

The Snoozebox is such a brilliant concept, as it provides temporary accommodation and is transportable. Specifically developed for sporting events and music festivals when there is a demand to accommodate guests. Snoozebox has popped up all over Europe, providing guests with pleasant rooms at a moments notice. The container hotel is stackable, therefore, easily transportable and configured to your specifications. Each room fitted with storage, wifi, flat screen televisions, air conditioning, and adjustable to suit your needs. The whole complex can be fully functional and set up within 48 hours.

Travelodge Hotel

The Travelodge Hotel in Uxbridge, England is constructed entirely of shipping containers of varying sizes. The 86 containers were retro-fitted and secured onsite. The company responsible for the design and execution of the project estimates that the hotel chained saved approximately one million dollars and ten weeks of construction time. The construction company maintains that opting for a modular construction; it speeds up the building process by about 40 – 60 percent as opposed to traditional building practice. It also does not require intensive and specialised labour. There are no complicated procedures, therefore, makes it more cost efficient.

Whether you’re looking to purchase or hire a shipping container, feel free to contact our friendly team of experts at SEA Containers NZ or fill out our quick quote online form.

Six Ways Containers are Being Used at Construction Sites

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The construction industry must take into account the health and well-being of on-site workers, from site administration to the successful conclusion of a project, including amenities on site. Construction companies might want to consider using shipping containers to house the facilities required on a construction site. Shipping containers are durable, versatile and transportable.

They are practically indestructible and are perfect for construction sites.  You can design and customise the room to your company’s particular needs.

Mobile Offices

There is a broad range of duties and skills required for a construction project irrespective of the size. Everyone involved in a project has to work together to evaluate, plan and submit tenders timeously. It is, therefore, essential that every construction site has offices. A site office has to be robust and secure enough to withstand the hazards of a construction site. It needs to be portable and be able to be erected and moved then and there.

Shipping containers constructed of sturdy steel can withstand severe weather conditions. They can be modified and include, air-conditioning, power, lighting, ventilation, to name but a few.

Lunch Rooms

An on-site lunch room should be a clean and inviting space, where workers can unwind and refresh during their breaks. It is essential that the chamber has appliances, such as a microwave and refrigerator. A sink for cleaning utensils as well as other extra features including adequate lighting, electricity, a hot water urn, table and chairs.

Change Rooms

On-site workers need a place where they can change into work clothing and space to store their personal items. A change room should be private and secure. Provision made for seating, lockers and coat holders are essential. They can also come with air-conditioning, lighting or any other requirements needed.


It is imperative that construction sites provide ablution facilities for their workers. The perfect solution is a portable chemical toilet. However,  it can be compact and uncomfortable to use. Portable toilets made from repurposed shipping containers come in varying sizes.

Electricity, lighting, hand basins, urinals. Partitions, hot water, soap dispensers, etc., should be included.


Shipping containers are perfect for storage. On the construction site, building materials and costly equipment need to be stored.  Shipping containers are super as they are durable, secure  and can come with locks for additional security. Customise it to suit your requirements. There are various container sizes from which to choose and can also be adapted to store chemicals and other hazardous substances.

First Aid Rooms

A construction site can be a high-risk environment. It is the building industry’s prerogative to ensure the safety of those walking near, or those walking under the site. It is necessary for a construction site to have an on-site facility available in the event of occupational injuries. The recommendation that workers themselves undergo first aid training is beneficial, as they tend to be vigilant. A first aid room equipped with all medical supplies and equipment fits inside a portable shipping container perfectly !

For more information contact our friendly team of experts at SEA Containers NZ or fill out our quick quote online form.




Shipping Containers – Great to Use as Portable Workshops

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Are you a handyman or woman? Do you the lack the space to work on projects? Maybe you do art and crafts and need a unique space to work? Your garage crammed with stored goods?  Possibly a tradesperson who needs a mobile workshop? Whatever your requirements, a modified shipping container could be the ideal solution!

Shipping containers are durable, versatile and portable. They are therefore perfect as a static or mobile workshop. At SEA Containers, we specialise in modifying shipping containers into mobile studios to suit individual needs. These workshops are designed and constructed so that they can be transported efficiently to your home or worksite. You can customise the container workshop, by designing it to neatly store tools and equipment. An insulated and air-conditioned studio is a cost efficient solution. It is easily transportable and can be installed with desired modifications such as plumbing, electricity, shelving, racks and so forth.

The quintessential Kiwi tradesperson will benefit from a portable workshop. Engineers, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, as well as artists, sculptors, painters can have a convenient and reliable place to operate a business or craft without having to load and unload heavy tools and equipment. If you should decide that the container workshop is surplus to your requirements or you need to move it to another location, it is the perfect solution.

Sturdy corrugated construction

Sturdy, weighing about two tons, these containers have been hauled across the globe for many years and are designed to withstand severe weather conditions. A shipping container workshop is a perfect fit. Whether you are a small business owner, a big corporation or a home-business portable container workshops are customisable.

Our A Grade (as-new condition containers)

Comes directly from manufacturer having made one trip from China carrying cargo to New Zealand

Well ventilated


8’, 10’ or any length you require, such as 14' or even 30' in length

Wind and water resistant

Secure, fitted with locks

Constructed with marine plywood floor

Containers graded in three ways; A – C

Have your container workshop custom built

We at SEA Containers NZ, liaise with specialists committed to customising and modifying shipping containers to your particular needs. Our combined expertise and experienced engineers and fabricators can tailor your workshop to your specific requirements. We are up to the challenge if your modifications are unique.

Additions include

Windows and shutters

Roller doors for convenient and regular access

Personal access door

Steel workbenches and shelving to your specifications

Power installation including power and lighting points

Whirly birds/ container ventilation systems

Ramps for forklifts and trolleys

Installation of lock boxes on containers doors for extra security

There are so many possibilities when designing and modifying your container workshop. The specificity of your design is dependent on your budget, your inventiveness and your particular needs.  Our specialist's fabricators and engineers can liaise with you, and together you can find the best possible solution to meet your specific requirements.

For more information on designing and customising a portable workshop do not hesitate to contact our friendly team of experts.


The Strongest Box in The World

Friday, March 18, 2016

Have you ever wondered what the ‘strongest box in the world” is? You have probably come across these ‘super boxes’ in a shipping yard or have seen it elsewhere, without giving it too much thought. You might be surprised to discover that there is a growing trend to re-use these ‘boxes’ because they are so strong, versatile and fairly simple to use. 

shipping container nz

According the General Manager of The ISBU Association International, John Sanders; “The world is waking up to the new ISBU trend. These shipping containers are the strongest, most flexible construction module in the world.” They are constructed to withstand the most severe weather conditions.  It is the most secure stationary structure for a home, pop-up store, storage unit, student dormitory, emergency shelter, to name but a few. Members of the ISBU association and readers alike have reported that the strength and durability of the shipping containers were of more interest than the cost. Let’s explore why it is referred to as “The Strongest Box in the World,” and how the surplus shipping containers stacked up in Global ports can be re-used.

Shipping Container Dimensions:

The standard ISO shipping container is 20-foot or 40-foot long; 8 feet wide; and 8.6 feet high. The taller HQ (High-Cube) container is available at 9.6 feet high.

The containers are constructed with Corten steel, which is stronger than traditional steel and is less likely to rust or corrode.  

The floors are made of very strong and durable plywood (thickness 28 mm) which is supported by a steel grid.  This comprises the base structure of the container.

These steel containers are adaptive to effective Eco insulation.

The containers are designed to ensure that they are weather resistant and resistant to mould, rodents, and bugs.

Versatility of Shipping Containers:

Due to the large numbers of unused shipping containers accumulating in the ports around the world, there is an increasing interest in re-using them.  They can be cleaned, and refurbished with any of the modern amenities and features required.  The 9.6- foot HQ containers are especially popular for designing houses. 

Art- spaces are created using shipping containers.  Artists are always at the cutting edge of innovation and design. It is not surprising that they would identify the potential of shipping containers and discover unique ways in which to use them (check out our modification page).  A nomadic museum was created in Santa Monica, by using shipping containers.  It was designed with the express purpose to travel around the globe. The “Hot Box Pop-Up Art Gallery Phoenix” is another example of how 20-foot shipping containers were used to create a pop-up gallery space. Artists are able to exhibit their work on a monthly basis.

Thanks to their durability, versatility, and friendly environmental footprint, an increasing number of shipping containers will continue to travel across the oceans, as well as create a second life as housing, emergency shelters, or just about any structure you can think of.

For more information about shipping containers don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly team of experts.

SEA Containers and Sky City Great Waka Storage

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The team at SEA Containers was called upon by Naylor Love and the senior management of Sky City to project manage the safe transport and storage of a range of artefacts of cultural significance in order for the Atrium to be developed with the new Convention Centre being planned.

Shipping Container – Sky City Great Waka Storage

Partnering up with Shane Hegh HIAB's our task was to transport an 18 metre carved Waka to a safe and secure destination within Auckland.  Many man hours were required to plan the logistical side of this project due to the nature of it.  The Waka could only be moved after midnight, and had to be off the road by 6am due to its over dimensional measurements.

The Great Waka had to be dismantled into 3 pieces in order for it to fit through the Atrium doors.  With great care and a lot of nerves, the 3 pieces were stored in the Atrium for a few days until logistics were finalised. 

 The only way to safely manoeuvre the Waka pieces was to have special frames built on castor wheels in order to negotiate the doors, plus the Waka could be safely picked up by the HIAB without straining the carving which has significant cultural significance and is irreplaceable.

 Prior to the Waka leaving its home at Sky City, the SEA Containers team ensured proper protocol was followed with guidance and advice from Auckland iwi, Ngati Whatua. After a blessing from the iwi Kaumatua, Taiaha, the trucks departed for the storage warehouse.




The Rise of Shipping Container Data Centres

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Can shipping container data centres become the answer to the the lowering of operational costs, and limited space in addition to being more energy efficient for many of the larger corporations?  The interest in containerised data centres was sparked by approval of high-profile exposure from Microsoft and Google.  You’re cordially invited to this viable option when designing a data centre.

shipping container data centres

Traditional data centres present a number of challenges in not being portable and not being easy to customise.  It might seem incredible that a shipping container can house racks and cabling in order to plug in to hundreds and sometimes thousands of servers. There are those who are of the opinion that containerised data centres are the best option, whilst others believe that is only suited to some organisations.

 What are the benefits of  shipping container data centres?

There are many benefits in using a modularised data centre. While considerable cost is involved in designing a traditional data centre in the event of a crisis, modularised designs can be designed for the most effective ecosystem, with the use of the exact amount of power, cooling and capacity required, due to conformity in its systems design. There are many other advantages too.

1.     A container module is portable and can be used many times as it is pre-wired and can be examined and set up more efficiently since all the tests, construction and design are done at the factory.

2.     These containerised data centres can be used when they require more space to expand existing data locations or can be shipped swiftly and set up in a faraway locations for use in

an emergency or where compute power is required but no local data centres are accessible.

3.     Power and material can be preserved as no boxes are required or any other packing material for individual servers. Servers are installed when delivered, and ready to operate.

4.     Installation is uncomplicated. All that needs to be done is to connect the power, the water(cooling) and the data.

5.     According Les Pelio, a real estate developer, customers are reluctant to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a facility to merely switch on two or three racks of servers, storage and networking gear. By opting for a shipping containter data centre module, customers only pay as per their requirements, and obtain immediate access to the new IT resources, he said.

 Are  shipping container data centres the best solution and what requirements do they fulfil?

If we look at Chicago, the decision to use containerisation was essentially based on the idea that it was the most effective way to utilise a large capacity for servers efficiently for the sake of reducing carbon wastes as well as for expanding ROI. The containerisation approach is not necessarily suitable for everybody as companies have different needs. They are ideal for a stand-alone data centre, or huge organisations transporting servers, as is the case with Military divisions entering foreign countries.

Patrick Yantz, senior director of modular data engineering, said; “We have to have a way to deliver more computing more efficiently and more easily.”

Should you be interested in purchasing a shipping container for your company, organisation or school, please contact our friendly team at SEA Containers. We deliver nationwide.

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