The Life of a Shipping Container

February 18, 2022 4:24 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Over the last two years, shipping containers have been in the news more than ever before due to the pandemic-era shipping crisis. This has many people wondering about the life of shipping containers—how did it all begin?

The fact is that shipping containers are at the center of global commerce and are essential to the transport of a range of goods we depend on every day.

Let’s take a closer look at the history of shipping containers.

Invention of the shipping container

Based on how dependent we are on shipping containers today, it’s interesting to note that they’ve only been around for about 70 years. The modern shipping container was developed by American entrepreneur Malcolm McLean. His container’s design was a significant improvement over other forms of cargo transport.

Containerization, referring to the system of transport that utilizes intermodal containers, improved security and reliability while also cutting costs for businesses. The rest, as they say, is history, with the container field growing exponentially and altering the global economy. Now a dizzying array of goods are transported to every corner of the world via shipping containers.

How shipping containers are constructed

Most shipping containers are made of Corten steel which is corrugated to improve structural integrity. Each shipping container has components including doors, forklift pockets, corner castings and more. The floors of shipping containers are typically plywood or bamboo treated with insecticides to prevent pest infestation. These insecticides are designed to pinpoint bugs and are not harmful to humans.

Other uses for shipping containers

Shipping containers are not just used to move goods from one place to another. One popular use for these containers emerged in the 1980s. Construction companies were having problems with the theft of tools and materials from jobsites. Secure shipping containers were brought in to provide storage on these sites. Since the early 2000s, this has become increasingly popular. Now container storage is a big business that generates billions annually.

Where shipping containers are made

As you might expect, the vast majority of shipping containers are manufactured in China. From there, they travel across the world. With the import-export ratio America currently has, it’s actually cheaper for China to make more containers than it is to ship containers back from the U.S. to China for reuse.

Because of this, the U.S. has many containers that are no longer in use. That’s why you’ve seen the growth of shipping containers used as homes, workspaces and storage in recent years. These containers are recycled and given new life either.

We hope this guide is helpful in understanding the life of shipping containers and how they began. When you need a trusted partner in the storage industry, check out the experts at A Mobile Box. We offer secure, convenient portable storage containers for both temporary and permanent use. We serve a wide range of customers in commercial, retail, construction and other fields. Get in touch with us today to find out more and request a free quote for your project.

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