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5 Innovative Ways of Using a Shipping Container

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When you think about a shipping container, a modern house or a coffee cart are not the first uses to come to mind! Shipping containers are no longer solely used for their intended purpose of storing and shipping goods, but rather some out-of-the-box thinkers have taken these corrugated steel boxes and created new and innovative ways to use them.

Innovative ways of using shipping container

Modern society calls for enlightened and exciting approaches towards old ideas and objects and a shipping container’s structure and durability offers endless possibilities. 

1.     Shipping Container Homes

Shipping containers are being turned into amazing luxury homes that could challenge any studio apartment. The evidence is just a google search away; as are the results.  Beautiful and unique homes are being made from durable and relatively inexpensive container structures. These shipping container homes range from add on guest rooms to three bedroom houses, and even student housing. Keetwonwen is one such shipping container city in Amsterdam that has been constructed which now acts as the second most popular student housing in this busy city.

2.     Coffee Shop

A shipping container can also be converted into a functional, portable coffee cart that can be driven to any location or food market. It can also act a standing coffee shop such as the trendy Chaiwella & co container café. The Malaysian café owners used two containers and refurbished then to create the famous, vintage styled café.

3.     Shipping Container Mall

Malls constructed almost entirely from shipping containers are becoming increasingly more popular. The ReStart mall created after the earthquakes that devastated Christchurch is a vibrant and growing shipping container mall consisting of premium fashion retailers and food caravans. Similarly the concept of a shipping container mall can be found all over the world, like the Boxpark mall in London and Amsterdam, as well as the SuperPier Shopping Container Complex currently under development in New York City.

4.     Sauna Box

Castor Design has created a self-sufficient, outdoor sauna, made within shipping containers. It is a luxury wood burning sauna that can be installed in any backyard for private self-pampering and can be easily relocated. They are built into 8ft mini containers and the use of durable materials empowers them to withstand adverse weather conditions. Each unit is unique and custom built to suit each buyer.

5.     Swimming Pool

The size, length and depth of a shipping container is perfect to create a sleek and modern backyard swimming pool. Containers can be easily waterproofed and fitted to give you the ideal above-ground swimming pool that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Each pool can be styled and designed in a way that is unique to the customer’s needs, whether that be the addition of wooden steps surrounding the container or submarine windows along the length.

The durability and adaptability of a shipping container means that the possible uses are endless, and as long as there are innovative thinkers, there will always be innovative ways to use these corrugated steel boxes.

Please contact us to discuss modifying a shipping container to suit your own needs.    

Beach and Boat 2016 Fishing Competition

Monday, February 08, 2016

SEA Containers NZ is once again supporting the team at Beach and Boat Fishing Competition by keeping their competitors happy with life's important matters such as cold beer, ice and quality bait.  We are the preferred supplier of quality 20' reefer shipping containers for the event.

On the weekend of 19th and 20th February this year, the event will be held at the Marsden Cover Marina in the Whangarei Harbour.

There have been some welcome changes with the competition this year to enhance the experience of the keen fisherperson.  This includes the development of the Beach and Boat app that can be downloaded to your smartphone enabling real time information and the ability to enter the details of your catch.

You can click on this link ( to get your tickets for the competition.  SEA Containers will see you there!

Beach and Boat 2016 Fishing Sponsor - SEA Containers

New Zealand's First Shipping Container Mall

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A devastating earthquake of February 2011 caused extensive damage to the City of Christchurch. The already weakened infrastructure of the city collapsed across some parts. The administrators were looking for new and innovative ways to re-start the city’s retail industry, and for uplifting the morale of affected business owners. A part of the Re:START project, was meant to restore normalcy to the city ravaged by damage caused by the earthquake. 

It took months to put together the design, planning and development of the shipping container mall. The project “Re: START” was officially launched eight months after the earthquake struck in February 2011. This was the first step taken to remobilise the retail sector. It was designed not only to help the trading business owners but also to redraw people into the city. People flocked to the opening in thousands. Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, enthusiastically told those who assembled for the official opening of the precinct, that it was a ‘genesis’ moment. “This marks the beginning of our city making the most extraordinary come back,” he said.

It may surprise you to know that “Re: START”, is constructed out of shipping containers. Its colourful and trendy design is spectacular, segregating it from the scene of damage and reconstruction activity.  The containers are painted with bright colours, and designed with sufficient open space, a large pedestrian area and two horse-shoe shaped pavilions. Areas of the pedestrian mall are decorated with artwork and modern furniture. This brings distinctive character to the space. The well planned design with a new majestic look has made it a ‘happening’ place of the city throbbing with round the clock activity today.  

The containers (stores) are designed in such a way that they can be used temporarily, and shifted to another site for re-use, when substituted with more permanent structures.  Re: Start boasts of 30 stores, available to the public, from exclusive fashion stores, banks, cafes, and miscellaneous eateries.  New Zealand’s quintessential retailers, such as, Ballentynes and Scorpio bookstore are currently part of the Re: START.  Ballentynes has been retailing in Christchurch since 1854.  “Ballentynes” re-opened for the first time since the devastating earthquake occurred.  

The Museum of Canterbury has established Quake City, a distinctive exhibition space in “Re: START” with intention of enlightening New Zealanders, as well as international visitors, about the Canterbury earthquakes.  You are sure to discover the unimaginable resilience of the communities, of Christchurch, in aftermath of the earthquake and the remarkable way, in which they dealt with the devastation.  Their fortitude and inspirational stories, the photographs depicting the response of emergency service teams after the earthquake struck, being highlights. Visitors are also able to observe an active liquefaction volcano, and find out more about the science behind earthquakes, as well as see how a seismograph is used to measure earthquakes.

Should you be interested in purchasing or hiring a shipping container, please feel free to contact one of our friendly team of experts who will gladly assist you. Alternatively why not fill out our online “get a quick quote” form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.   


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.

Deloitte Fast 50 - SEA Containers Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in NZ!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

After launching in 2012, the team at SEA Containers has proved that a strong focus on customer service, quality shipping containers mixed with an energetic team with a personal and hands on approach is the winning formula to ensuring its relatively short but fast rise to be the preferred supplier for shipping container sales and hire amongst a number of industries nationwide.

Back in October last year, we were the Central North Island regional winners for Fastest Growing Retail or Consumer Products Business.  From here we were invited to Deloitte's conference held at Villa Maria in Auckland, where all the regional winners gathered for the day to hear some very inspirational speakers, plus to mingle with like-minded and driven entrepreneurs.

The Deloitte Fast 50 index ranks NZ's fastest growing companies.  The team secured 9th place which we are extremely proud of, and has proved that SEA Containers NZ has the ability and credentials to provide quality containers to our clients.  

We wish to genuinely thank all of our clients for supporting us since launch.  Rest assured, we will be doing everything possible to continue the growth in 2016.



The Benefits of a Shipping Container Home

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

According to a recent article, New Zealand property prices are set to increase yet again! Even though it has been said that the housing bubble in Auckland (for example) could burst, this still has not happened.  Sadly due to an influx of foreign investors purchasing properties over the last few years, many prospective first-time home buyers can no longer afford the exorbitant real estate prices on offer.

Many of these prospective buyers are now looking at alternative housing solutions which include purchasing shipping containers and converting them into homes.

Using shipping containers to build homes has become a global phenomenon in fact. Just Google “shipping container homes” – select “images”, and you’ll immediately be wowed by the breathtaking container homes which have been built globally.

In Amsterdam for example, the Keetwonen complex built solely out of containers, now houses 1000 students. Each unit within this amazing complex has separate sleeping and studying rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, balcony, and large windows.

A well designed shipping container home is bound to make heads turn, so let’s look at a few benefits which make this alternative housing option so appealing.

1. It’s Cost Effective

The affordability and cost effectiveness of a container home is definitely the number one factor that people take into consideration when exploring this option. Containers are reasonably cheap in comparison to the cost of building materials required to build a basic home.

2. Durable

The structural strength of containers enable them to withstand harsh conditions due to the fact that they are made out of Corten Steel. ( often referred to as weathering steel.) They are also able to withstand wind speeds of up to 281 km/h when anchored with pylons. Utilising these shipping containers as homes make them the perfect candidate to be used in many of the earthquake regions found in New Zealand.

 3. Modular

Yes you’ve read correctly, these shipping container units are modular and thus can be used in the same manner as Lego blocks! Containers can be added or taken away easily, allowing flexibility like never before.

 4. Short Construction Time

Once you have your design and all your building consents have been passed, the construction time is way shorter than building a home in the traditional manner.

 5. Environmentally Friendly

 If you decide on utilising second-hand containers instead of purchasing brand new ones, you’ll actually be making a valuable contribution to our environment.

Recycling the steel from a second-hand container in order to use it elsewhere requires a lot of energy.

 6. Personal Style Statement

Your container home is bound to raise eyebrows as you will not only be making a personal style statement, but you’ll also be perceived as an innovator when it comes to new home designs.


So if you’re considering buying or hiring new or used shipping containers, feel free to either fill out our online quotation form or call SEA Containers NZ at 0508 732266 and speak to one of our friendly team members.

Hire a Shipping Container as your next Site Office

Monday, November 23, 2015

When a construction site office is needed, use a shipping container.

Shipping containers make ideal site offices. They can easily be transported to your building or construction site. They are versatile, secure and strong. If keeping within budget and time restraints is important to your project, then these steel boxes are worth considering.

Check out our previous work and container conversions here.

site office hire - shipping containersite office hire - shipping container
site office hire - shipping container

The strength and durability of a shipping container is due to the fact they are constructed for the purpose of carrying heavy loads across oceans worldwide and are able to resist harsh environments. COR – TEN or   Corten steel (commonly referred to as weathering steel) is used in the making of these metal boxes. This particular type of steel is also typically used in bridges and towers, chimneys, rail cars, and even outdoor sculptures.

The incredible versatility of shipping containers is frequently being explored by businesses globally. They are easily modified to include doors, windows, air conditioning, insulation, storage and shelving, kitchenettes and even toilets, basins and showers. This means that shipping containers can also be used for other purposes beyond site offices. These include:

  • Affordable housing
  • Press boxes
  • Emergency hurricane shelters for thoroughbred horses
  • Concession stands
  • Fire training facility
  • Military training facility
  • Emergency shelters
  • School buildings
  • Apartment and office buildings
  • Artists' studios
  • Stores
  • Moveable exhibition spaces
  • Bank vaults
  • Medical clinics
  • Radar stations
  • Sleeping rooms
  • Recording studios
  • Abstract art
  • Transportable factories
  • Experimental labs
  • Combatant temporary containment (ventilated)
  • Bathrooms
  • Showers
  • Workshops
  • Intermodal sealed storage on ships, trucks, and trains
  • House foundations on unstable seismic zones
  • Elevator/stairwell shafts
  • Construction trailers
  • Mine site accommodations
  • Food Trucks

One factor to keep in mind when considering  utilising  a shipping container on-site is that the foundation on which it needs to be placed has to be level. Proper planning as to where it will be placed will ensure stability and safety. Concrete slabs, concrete footings or wooden footings are popular foundations to use.

Look no further than SEA Containers NZ when you need to hire or purchase a shipping container for your next project. We are also able to customise your container with simple additions such as :

  • Roller Doors for easy and regular access
  • Personal Access Doors
  • Windows and Shutters
  • Steel workbenches and shelving built to your spec
  • Whirly birds / container ventilation systems
  • Power capability including lighting and power points
  • Lock boxes installed on container doors for added security
  • Ramps for forklifts / trolleys

We have container depots strategically positioned nationwide and have a transport network system that can help deliver the right container to you.

At SEA Containers NZ,  delivery of a container can generally be made within 24-48 hours (subject to payment and/or paperwork being completed) within the central metropolitan areas, while rural areas potentially could take a little longer.

Get a quick online quote or call us at  0508 732266

From Tauranga to the Trenches - Mobile Exhibition part deuce

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The mobile exhibition continues its tour of The Bay of Plenty, with the next leg featuring A Marquette Angel which tells the story of Jeanne Sinclair who was aboard the Marquette when it was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine.

The exhibition is open to the public from October 20th until November 7th and will be initially sited at the Historic Village on 17th Avenue in Tauranga before moving on to other sites.

These containers are proving perfect examples of how SEA Containers can help maximise the impact of mobile exhibitions and retail outlets, and how they are very portable even with temporarily joining two containers together. 

Check out the article in the Bay of Plenty Times below


Deloitte 2015 Fast 50 - SEA Containers NZ Winners!

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Deloitte Fast 50 index ranks the 50 fastest growing business in NZ according to their revenue growth over the last 3 years.  SEA Containers NZ is extremely proud to have won the award for Fastest Growing Retail or Consumer Products Business for the Central North Island region.

The team arrived at Deloitte House in Hamilton in the evening for the cocktail party, and left with their heads held high after winning the award.  Of course we stuck around to taste the canapés and celebrate by sampling some beverages from Good George Brewing company (also worthy winners).

SEA Containers NZ was launched in 2012 by our first man standing, Adam Frank (Central North Island), before being joined by Odin who looks after the Auckland and Northland region.  After 12 months of further growth we thought we better give the South Island our full attention so we were 'propped' up by Nick Moore.

Today we celebrate having our 5th team member Scott join the team as Operations Manager, to do the work we are all meant to do, but don't do, or intend to do.  Our team is headed by Lance Swain (joined in Feb 2015), also known as "M", who pulls the strings and keeps the well-oiled machine rolling.

The awards saw a wide range of regional category winners who all pride themselves on working hard and having fun, as the common theme.

Deloitte Private partner Bill Hale says these companies prove business success stories are thriving throughout the regions.

“These companies live and breathe innovation, challenge the status quo and have the determination and drive that’s seen them achieve phenomenal year-on-year growth,” says Mr Hale.

“A common theme behind their success is the ability to identify and then capitalise on a point of difference from their competitors. They do a specific thing very well and they really try and nail that niche.”

“A thriving community of fast growing innovative companies is fundamentally important to our economy,” he adds.

You can view the full list of winners here


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