Even as the world becomes more and more convenient with just about everything available to buy online, the way we ship goods has largely stayed the same. Traditional methods of transportation like trucks, trains, and boats are still in full force alongside the sure and steady option of shipping containers. 

Available in a huge variety of sizes and types to meet your needs, hiring or buying a shipping container to safely move or transport your goods has never been easier. Beyond their traditional uses, they are also amazing when used in new and creative ways such as for shipping container homes, pools, site offices, studio accommodation, additional storage spaces and more. 

In our ultimate guide to shipping containers, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about these versatile steel boxes! We’re sure you’ll find there is much more to them than you first thought. 

What Are Shipping Containers? 

Shipping containers are large and strong steel boxes that are used to store and transport goods all over the world via cargo ships. They are incredibly durable, watertight and able to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions. They can be used for any number of purposes, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with their original purpose. 

Made to meet international standards, they come in a variety of sizes, but the most common size is 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. You can get smaller containers at 10 feet long or larger at 40 feet as needed. 

They are also available in several styles, including:  

  • General-purpose shipping containers
  • Refrigerated shipping containers
  • Dangerous goods shipping containers
  • High-cube shipping containers
  • Side-opening shipping containers
  • Insulated shipping containers
  • Open-top (hard and soft) shipping containers
  • Flat rack shipping containers
  • Double-door shipping containers

The type of container you need will be determined by what you intend to ship in it, the volume of goods to be shipped or the modification you are planning. 

History Of Containers 

The history of shipping containers can be traced back to as early as the 1700s when the English coal mining industry established ‘containerisation’ to transport their goods in wooden boxes. By the 1840s iron boxes replaced wood as they were sturdier and easier to move. Their development continued into WWII when metal boxes were used to transport war machinery and supplies. 

Fast forward to the 1950s in North Carolina, the United States and Malcom P. McLean began developing his intermodal transport system whereby goods could easily be moved from plane to train to ship in interlocking steel boxes. 

By the 1970s this intermodal system had been adopted globally and its popularity has grown ever since. Today, more than 60% of modern shipping containers are based on Malcom P. McLean’s original designs.  

How Are Shipping Containers Made? 

Shipping containers are made out of steel and are extremely durable. They are designed to withstand the rigours of international shipping, including being loaded and unloaded from ships, stacked on top of each other, and exposed to the elements. 

Each container is made to exacting, international standards and involves the assembly of several purpose-made parts. Each steel component is cut from a larger sheet of steel which is sandblasted and primed to remove contaminants.

These panels are then corrugated to add strength and welded to a steel frame. The timber flooring is added, which has been treated with pesticides, and then varnished. All latches and locks are attached with special attention paid to twist locks that secure containers together during shipping. 

Finally, the door is fitted and rubber seals are added alongside waterproofing for the bottom of the container. It is not really possible to build your own shipping container for the international transportation of goods, but they can be used to create homes and buildings. 

How To Choose A Container 

Choosing the right shipping container is important. There are many different sizes and types of shipping containers available, so you need to make sure you choose the one that is right for your needs. 

The most common size is 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, but there are also 40-foot-long containers and 8-foot-wide containers. You will also need to decide if you want a dry van container or a reefer container. Dry van containers are used for general cargo, while reefer containers are used for perishable goods.

When it comes to shipping container sizes, the size you choose will depend on the number of goods you need to transport. For example, dry van containers typically have a storage capacity of 1,360 cubic feet, while reefer containers have a storage capacity of 1,880 cubic feet.

If you intend to modify the container to semi-permanent accommodation, a backyard studio, an instant pool, a portable cafe, a site office or more, then we recommend discussing this with an expert first.

Chatting with the team at Shipping Containers Melbourne before buying or building using shipping containers can save you time, money and headaches in the long run. With qualified designers and a skilled modifications team available, your dream container design is more achievable than ever. 

How Much Do Containers Cost? 

The cost of shipping containers varies depending on the size and type you choose. 20-foot shipping containers typically start at $1,500, while 40-foot shipping containers start at $3,000. Reefer containers are more expensive, starting at $4,500.

If you are looking for a place to buy quality new and used shipping containers at cost-effective prices then Shipping Containers Melbourne should be your first call. There are so many options available and our team is committed to walking you through these options and ensuring you are matched with the right container for your needs. 

Shop Shipping Containers With The Best In The Business 

With decades of experience in the industry, Shipping Container Melbourne has the knowledge and skill you need to make sourcing your container a breeze. 

We can advise regarding all types and sizes of containers as well as facilitate the professional designing and modification of containers. We make every aspect of hiring or buying a container simple and stress-free from start to finish. When you’re ready to dispose of your container or find it a new home, we can do that too!

No matter your purpose for purchasing a shipping container, we’re here to help. Contact Shipping Containers Melbourne today at 03 7018 7555 and let us help you get started.