What are shipping containers made of? Shipping containers are incredibly durable. They are able to endure extreme weather conditions, all the while protecting their cargo. 

Most shipping containers are made from ‘weathering steel’ – a maritime-grade corten steel.

Corten steel is an alloy. In other words, it is a combination of steel and other metals. Strange as it might seem, corten steel is made to react to water and air. In simple terms: it is made to rust. What actually happens is that a thin layer of oxidisation forms on the outer surface of the container. This provides an additional layer of protection, and prevents the container from corroding any further.

Because it can be welded, most components of a shipping container are made from corten steel.

Marine-grade corten steel is used to manufacture the following components of a shipping container:

  • corrugated walls
  • frame
  • cross members (i.e. beams or joists)
  • cargo doors

Marine-grade plywood is also  used in the construction of shipping containers.

The inner flooring of a shipping container is usually made of marine-grade plywood. It is usually treated with insecticide to prevent bugs and insects from entering and potentially damaging the cargo.

What are shipping containers made of? Is it just steel?

As seen in many other industries, there has been an increasing use of bamboo in the shipping industry. More and more shipping containers are being made with bamboo flooring. This is both more cost-effective and sustainable. In addition, bamboo is durable and naturally mildew-resistant.

Many shipping containers are modified and customised once they have finished their life at sea.

This can range from a simple modification, such as air conditioning and shelving, to complex projects such as container shops and swimming pools! This then introduces a range of other materials into the equation. Contact us to find out more about shipping container modifications.