Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shipping Containers


If you ever been on a highway, you’ve seen storage containers on the backs of trucks being driven down the highway. If you’ve ever been to a busy port you’ve seen hundreds of them stacked up on big ships. Shipping containers, it turns out, are pretty cool and amazingly versatile. Read on for all the facts about storage containers and how we use them

How Many Are There?

It’s possible no one person knows for certain, but there are definitely a lot of these steel shipping containers around. Current estimates are that the world has about 17 million of them.

Are They Mostly All At Sea?

Definitely not. At any one time, there are five to six million of them actively being shipped around, and lots of recycled and repurposed shipping containers are being used in special projects, as office containers, or for other unique uses.

How Much Do They Ship?

If you ever been on a highway, you’ve seen storage containers on the backs of trucks being driven down the highway. If you’ve ever been to a busy port you’ve seen hundreds of them stacked up on big ships. Shipping containers, it turns out, are pretty cool and amazingly versatile. Read on for all the facts about storage containers and how we use them

How Many Are There?

It’s possible no one person knows for certain, but there are definitely a lot of these steel shipping containers around. Current estimates are that the world has about 17 million of them.

Are They Mostly All At Sea?

Definitely not. At any one time, there are five to six million of them actively being shipped around, and lots of recycled and repurposed shipping containers are being used in special projects, as office containers, or for other unique uses.

How Much Do They Ship?

The world’s shipping containers are making about 200 million trips every year, says Billie Box, and about 95% of all the cargo that gets moved worldwide goes by ship.

How Big Are Shipping Containers?

Big. The average 40 foot shipping container can hold 8,000 shoe boxes or more. A standard sized one holds 3,500. That’s nothing compared to the ships they sit on, though. The largest ones are as long as an Olympic running track stretched out and are 55 meters wide!

How Long Do They Last?

With maintenance, a normal shipping container can easily last a good 20 years on land, according to the experts at Container Auction. Of course, at sea there’s always the risk of loss. About 675 of them are lost to the sea on any given year.

What Happens To Them?

If they’re not lost at sea, which most aren’t, they can often find a second life. There are many unique things that storage containers make, such as mobile office space, pop up shops and cafes, excellent auxiliary storage, and even modular homes!

Are Shipping Containers Worth Using?

There are plenty of good reasons to think about what you can build with storage containers. They’re cheap, mobile, stackable, easy to modify, last a long time, and are able to withstand very bad weather. Also, using one shipping container repurposes 3,500kg of useful steel and saves the cost of bricks, wood, and other traditional building materials that would have to be used instead.

There’s a lot that can be done with storage containers, and they can have a long and useful life long after they retire from the sea. They’re easy to move, tough to destroy, and endlessly adaptable. Now you know all about them!


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