Have you ever wondered about the story behind shipping containers? One of the appeals for those using shipping containers to create homes, restaurants or pop-up shops is their container had a past life, that it has its own history. Often, a container’s past use will be far from its use today – a testament to their versatility and ability to be used for various industrial and commercial applications.

With this in mind, when you buy a shipping container, have you ever stopped to consider how – and where – was it made?

How are Shipping Containers Made?

One of the most useful things about shipping containers is that they are simple in size, shape and structure. This standardisation makes them easy to stack and transport, and also means that the manufacturing process is relatively simple too.

In specialist factories, rolls of steel are cut into sheets that act as the basis of the shipping container. These steel sheets are then prepared so that they can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. This includes the sand-blasting and treating of the metal to remove and protect the sheets from dirt and rust.

These sheets of steel are then corrugated – which improves its strength in general, allowing it to withstand higher pressure. The roof and floor are made separately and then welded to the walls to create the shipping container. The door is also then created and fitted to the container.

The shipping container is then primed and painted, and the wooden floors varnished, before the rubber seals are fitted around the door to ensure that the container is kept watertight. The bottom of the container is made watertight and it is then tested for water tightness. After this, the whole shipping container is tested to ensure that it is ready to be sent off to sea with its precious cargo.

Where are Shipping Containers Made?

56% of the world’s dry marine shipping containers are made in China. This is for a number of good reasons that include:

  1. There is plenty of raw material available at a relatively low cost, meaning that the shipping containers can be produced without significant expense.
  2. China’s ports are amongst the worlds’ busiest, exporting around the world, and therefore it makes sense both logistically and financially that the shipping containers are made nearby.

With a little knowledge of where they come from and how they are made, you can gain a better understanding of your shipping container and its suitability for certain uses. This is also a great way to understand how you can effectively maintain it and maximise its lifespan.

Whatever you are using your shipping container for – be it storage, creating a bespoke structure, or shipping, it could come complete with a grand story and interesting backstory. In fact, even if your shipping container is bought as ‘new’, it will have likely have completed a voyage from China to you as a “one-trip” container.