Please Note: We, at Coast Containers, do not use Facebook / Marketplace to advertise or solicit our products or services. For any inquiries or transactions, please contact us through our official website, email us at [email protected], or call us directly at 1-866-761-2444.
Main Blog 5 Things You Might Not Know About Shipping Containers (and One You Definitely Do)

5 Things You Might Not Know About Shipping Containers (and One You Definitely Do)

June 8, 2023
Coast Containers

Shipping containers have become a ubiquitous presence in our globalized world. Sometimes called sea cans or portable storage containers they are used to transport goods all over the world and have even been repurposed for a variety of uses, from homes to art installations. But, despite their popularity, there are still some surprising facts about shipping containers that you might not know.

1. They were not designed for shipping.

Believe it or not, shipping containers were not originally designed for shipping. They were first invented in the 1950’s by an American entrepreneur named Malcolm McLean, who was looking for a way to make the process of loading and unloading cargo more efficient. Before the first shipping containers, boats were loaded haphazardly using wooden crates, barrels, and bags of different sizes. This meant that loading and unloading was a long and arduous processes that could take weeks.

McLean owned a trucking business and was intent on finding a solution to speed up the loading of his company’s cargo. After teaming up with an engineer and creating the first shipping container, McLean’s invention became the standard for shipping containers, and the industry has never looked back.

Interestingly, the shipping container developed by McLean was 8 feet wide, 8 feet high, and 20 feet long, which then became the standardized size for shipping containers in the late 1960’s.

2. They come in different sizes.

While most of us are familiar with the standard 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers, there are actually a variety of different lengths available. If you are looking to buy a shopping container, Coast Containers offers both new and used shipping containers for sale in the standard 20-foot and 40-foot lengths. We also offer a variety of other sizes from 30-foot shipping containers all the way down to 10-foot shipping containers which are ideal for tight spaces or lighter storage needs.

Another difference between container sizes can be their height. High Cube shipping containers are taller than a standard shipping containers, providing more space while also being able to fit onto standard shipping vessels. With their added height, high cube containers can store more items than a traditional container, making them an ideal choice for those who need extra storage space. They are also used by businesses that need to ship large or bulky items as they can provide the necessary room needed for these types of products.

High cube containers have become increasingly popular due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness, making them a great option for businesses looking to transport goods quickly and safely or homeowners looking for seacan storage to hold a larger volume of items for bigger projects. Coast Containers has seacans for sale in both standard and High Cube heights.

3. They are incredibly strong.

One of the reasons why shipping containers have become so popular is their strength and durability. Made out of steel, shipping containers are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, as well as the wear and tear of being transported across the world. All the containers that are sold at Coast Containers (except specific containers sold as-is) are guaranteed to be wind and watertight at the time of purchase. The sturdiness of these containers is what makes them ideal for long- or short-term storage.

Shipping containers are also designed to be stackable, allowing for efficient use of space when loading cargo onto ships or trucks. Because they are so resilient and tough, they are also reusable and can be shipped back and forth across the oceans for years before being retired. Due to strict transportation regulations shipping containers have an expiry date, after which they are sold off from the transportation company – even if the container is still in top condition! Once they have “aged out” of use on shipping vessels containers still have a lot of life left in them. This takes us to our next point.

4. They are eco-friendly.

As they can be reused so effectively, shipping containers are an eco-friendly way of both transporting and storing goods. Used containers that have left the shipping fleet can be reused in countless ways including residential storage, commercial office space, or even a new pool.

Shipping containers have also become a popular choice for eco-friendly building projects. Because they are made from recycled steel, they are also a sustainable building material. Additionally, the modular design of shipping containers allows for easy construction, reducing waste and energy consumption.

5. They are transforming the retail industry.

Finally, shipping containers are transforming the retail industry. Many businesses are now using shipping containers as pop-up stores and mobile shops. Because they are portable and easy to customize, shipping containers are a cost-effective way to create unique and eye-catching retail spaces. Modifications can be made to containers to create windows, doors, and more.

And here is one thing you likely already know – there are a lot of shipping containers in the world.

While the first container ship to set sail in the 1950’s carried only 58 shipping containers, modern vessels can carry an average of 15,000 containers – with the largest vessels able to carry over 24,000 containers.
It is estimated that there are around 65 million shipping containers in use around the world, although manufacturers and shipping companies are not keen to disclose the actual number of containers produced or purchased.

If you were looking to buy a container in the last few years this number might come as a surprise. The Covid-19 pandemic threw the shipping container industry into disarray with a decrease in container production and an increase in demand for goods. Finally, the supply of containers has caught up to the demand and equilibrium has been restored.

Shipping containers or sea cans are more versatile and interesting than most people realize. From their humble beginnings as a solution to loading and unloading cargo, to their current status as a popular eco-friendly building material, shipping containers continue to surprise and inspire us with their many uses and applications.

Interested in learning more about a new or used shipping container? Coast Containers can help you find the right shipping container for storage, shipping, or showcasing your next art installation. Give us a call or send us a message to learn more!

Share to:
Subscribe to our newsletter