There are many reasons why shipping containers are growing in popularity as an alternative storage solution. Whether you are looking to ship products long distances or re-use shipping containers for storage on dry land – or are even thinking about turning one into a pop-up shop or office, one of the most important things about a shipping container is its durability.

Shipping containers are built to be functional and robust, which is one of the reasons for their increasing use as more than a means of shipping cargo around the world. The fact that they can be used on their own or as part of a larger structure that has been converted for purposes other than storage is a testament to this.

The Design

Shipping containers are built to be highly resilient. This is unsurprising, given they are designed to carry objects around the world, withstand harsh weather and being buffeted by strong waves. Typically, a shipping container will last over 10 years in these circumstances and will continue to prove useful for another 10 years or so if re-used.

Of course, the life expectancy of a used shipping container will depend mainly on how old it is and its condition. However, with the right maintenance and care, an average shipping container should be able to last in excess of 30 years.

This is not to say the elements don’t take their toll. One of the biggest potential problems for shipping containers is rust. While they are made of strong steel, which is very durable and can withstand considerable pressure, weight and all sorts of extreme conditions, rust can nevertheless become a problem over time. For instance, this can sometimes occur when there is damage to the paint or a dent in the metal, which leaves it exposed to water – or more specifically, saltwater.

However, if you care for the container well and inspect it thoroughly, there is no reason why your shipping container can’t last for many, many years.

Making Your Shipping Container Last Longer

Naturally, the best way to ensure your container lasts a long time is to purchase one that is in the best condition possible from the outset. While one-trip containers will be preferable to used containers in this regard, it is still a good idea to give any container a thorough once-over before you make your decision to purchase or hire it.

After that, you should try and protect the container from moisture – especially salt water if you are close to the sea. You might also consider applying a coat of zinc paint, which is paint with a high concentration of zinc in it, which will help to reduce the risk of rust building up.

While storage containers do have a finite lifespan, actively protecting the unit from damage and investing time in preventative maintenance will pay dividends, ensuring that it lasts as long as possible.