A great deal of the world’s trade is done by ship, and these huge vessels visit the world’s ports while carrying many steel shipping containers on board. Such steel containers, which range from 40 foot shipping containers to massive containers over 1,000 feet long, can carry anything from foodstuffs to raw steel, lumber, cars, and a whole lot more. Millions of them are in use today, but even more of them are actually sitting around in storage, not doing any good for anyone. The good news is that today’s entrepreneurs have found new uses for those unused 40 foot shipping containers, and they can be made into portable offices, container pop up shops, and even housing. This is a creative and resource-friendly way to use abandoned 40 foot shipping containers, and it can put a lot of steel back into the construction industry. What else is there to know about steel containers and their many uses?
About Steel Containers
Most Americans have seen these containers on TV or in person, such as 40 foot shipping containers that are painted solid colors and loaded onto huge ships at docks. Most of them are built in China and are used to deliver exports and imports across the globe. Ships haul 95% of the world’s cargo, and this is possible with the six million that are actively used for shipping goods. But this is only a fraction of the grand total, which is closer to 17 million. This means that around 11 million steel containers are just sitting around in storage, and many people would agree that this is wasteful. Some of the largest may be 1,300 feet long, and they weigh many tons. What to do with them?
One option is to find these unused metal boxes, whether 40 foot shipping containers or the biggest models, and melt them back down into raw steel. After all, steel is one of the most rigorously recycled materials in the world, and a single shipping container may be melted into a few thousand kilograms of steel, ready for use. Containers can be useful for up to 20 years if cared for, but after that point, they will probably be phased out, and taken out of circulation. They are best off melted down. But as for younger sturdier containers that ended up in storage, melting them down might not always be the best option. Why not rebuild them into a small building instead?
Remaking Steel Containers Into Buildings
If an unused steel container is not going to be melted down, then it can act as a building frame. Ever since the early 2010s or so, many entrepreneurs have started reclaiming these old 40 foot shipping containers and remaking them into mobile offices, fast food restaurants, and even housing. After all, these containers are just the right size for such buildings, and their steel bodies and shape are ideal for prefabrication. So, an old steel box can have new flooring put down, lighting, and holes for windows and utilities. Many entrepreneurs use these old shipping containers to make fast food restaurants or coffee shops, and this idea has proven popular on the American west coast.
But that’s just the start. Shipping container houses are a new form of housing that is proving popular, and two or more steel containers can make a comfortable and spacious (and sturdy) house that can rival most traditional houses. These containers can have some of their walls removed so that they can be combined, and such shipping container houses are even known to have two floor or exterior staircases. Once fully fabricated, they are often just as comfortable as regular houses, but with the added benefit of reusing old steel boxes. Some Americans might even build and live in these houses as a novelty.
Finally, construction companies can reuse old steel containers to make mobile offices, and furnish them with windows, lighting, furniture, a nice floor, and the like. Construction managers like to move their offices around to visit current construction sites, so modular and mobile offices are a must. So, remodeled steel containers are an ideal choice for making these portable, compact offices for work.