Exploring the Many Uses of Shipping Containers


While they are known for their mainstream application in the maritime and commercial transport industry, the use of shipping containers has expanded into other areas. Today, the housing and construction industry has found new uses for these metal containers. Also known as intermodal containers, the units have become more than just a sturdy massive vessel for various products and goods.

Basic Qualities of Shipping Containers

These metal containers are available in several sizes and configurations. Initially, these units were manufactured for transporting and storing goods. So, the units are meant to be reused for a long period of time. A typical unit has a hinged door on one or both ends to allow easy storage and removal of cargo. These units are transported in varying weather and environmental conditions. Manufacturing a container requires using a combination of durable materials such as steel or aluminum.

The 40 foot shipping container is one of the basic options available throughout the industry. There are also smaller options, such as the 20 and 30-foot containers which can be stacked on top of one another. Companies transporting their goods choose a unit depending on several factors, The type of goods and products that will be shipped across the ocean or land is just one of these factors.

Other Shipping Container Variations

Aside from these three basic size options, there are other features that differentiate the different types of shipping containers. There are units that are suited for dry or cold storage. The refrigerated containers are used to transport perishable food items, including fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, thermal containers can be used for products that require a consistent temperature level throughout the trip.

The tunnel option is the most typical design among the container units. This is the container with two access points at each end. Other units have different access locations. There are units that can be opened from the top or from the side. Other types have collapsible sides and transform into a flat unit. These options are suited for storing large sized cargo such as cars and vehicles.

Expanded Uses of Shipping Containers

Custom modifications can be done to these containers to accommodate the requirements of the owner. More owners are transforming these units into homes and commercial spaces. Their popularity influenced a new design trend in sustainable architecture where new or used containers are upcycled into new forms.

Shipping containers have been coopted in architectural design because of several reasons. First, the unit’s modular characteristics allow flexibility so it can be configured and combined to create connecting spaces. Modified containers have been transformed into offices, studios, concession stands, and malls. The containers have also been used in constructing affordable housing units.

Industry experts say that these containers are designed to withstand the tough demands of ocean and land travel. So, these units have to be durable, weatherproof, and rust proof. For some people, these same qualities make these containers an ideal base for creating a residential or commercial space.


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