Below are a list of the most frequently asked questions about new and used shipping containers which our customers enquire. If your question is not answered below, please contact your nearest supplier, who will be pleased to help. Click on the question link to go to the answer.
What are shipping containers? What are they made of? How heavy are they? Are they water tight? Are they secure? How old is a used container? How long will a used container last? How long will a new container last? What colour will it be? Do I need to paint them? Do they need maintenance? Are they affected by condensation? Can you put them on unprepared land? How are they supported? Do I need planning permission? How do I get them delivered? What happens when I no longer want it?
Although there are many different types of container they are all manufactured to the ‘International Standards Organisation' (ISO) specification in respect to their dimensions. Therefore, a 40' made in Europe is the same as a 40' made in China. There are many different types of container to transport the variety of cargos all over the world. Coffee, electrical, clothing, frozen food, timber, steel, cigarettes, fruit almost everything you use daily.
Although some are made of aluminium and steel, they are now mostly made entirely of a special steel called “Corten'' which is a rust prohibitive type of steel. A basic steel frame, fitted with 8 weight bearing corner casting fitted into the 8 corners, is filled in with corrugated steel panels which are between 1.5mm to 3.00 mm thick.
At one end is a pair of almost full width and height doors. These are fitted with normally 4 locking bars which interlock with the frame top and bottom. Almost all containers have a 27mm thick wooden ply floor, which is supported on load bearing cross bearers approx. 12” apart, making the container capable of withstanding loads of 20 to 35 tons. Depending on size.
The containers themselves weigh around 2.5 tons for a 20' and 4 tons for a 40'
They are designed to be fully waterproof including the doors which are fitted with full wrap around seals.
When padlocked through the available holes in the door gear they are fairly secure but can be made more secure by the fitting of a lock box which conceals the lock from interference.
The age of a used container can vary considerably but usually they are sold by shipping lines after 10 years of age.
The anticipated length of usage as a storage container depends on its condition at point of sale, the careful use and regular maintenance, such as painting and servicing can provide many years of good waterproof service.
A new container built by a reputable manufacturer will under normal conditions last 10 years without maintenance and continue for another 10- 20 years if looked after.
Containers come in a wide variety of colours depending upon the livery of the original owner. The type of paint is usually chlorinated rubber or vinyl, both manufactured to resist sea water, sun and abrasion.
Repainting a used container from the onset can only assist in lengthening its life and can often be achieved by your supplier fairly inexpensively to the colour you want.
You should periodically service the moving parts of the door locking gear and check the secureness of the door seals to the door frames. A visual inspection of the exterior of the roof is also recommended, touching up small areas of corrosion in the early stages will prevent unexpected leaks.
A container exposed to sunlight and cold can cause condensation, especially if the interior or if the contents of the interior are damp.
The structure of the container allows it to be only supported by its 4 corners with a full load should you require it, but the land base could be grass or soil but it must be firm throughout the duration of the container placement. Also the ground should be level helping the container to remain square. The doors may become difficult to open or indeed worse if the end frame of the container moves out of square.
The container is capable of supporting a full load on its four bottom corners and block pavers or rail sleepers are good materials to support the container, which is best lifted from the ground to help reduce any damage to the container or its content by dampness.
Planning permission varies from district to district. Please do not assume because the container is a moveable object that you do not require planning permission. If you intend placing for any length of time, it pays to check out with your local authority.
Delivery is achieved by crane assisted vehicle and can be arranged by your supplier or yourself. Do make sure you have sufficient space to carry out the manoeuvre, vehicle sizes and capabilities do vary.
Always fully discuss with your provider before commencement of delivery … It may save a lot of time and money.
Before purchasing a container, consider how long you actually require one. If it's only for short period it may be more economic to hire, should you buy one and wish to dispose of it at a later date, your supplier would be pleased to make you an offer. This will also include the price it will cost them to collect. Always discuss with your potential supplier any queries you may have. They are more than pleased to help and it may save time and money.