The world’s freight delivery network is a truly vast one, and a lot of the world’s good are delivered by ship across the globe’s ocean trade lanes. In fact, close to 95% of the world’s cargo is delivered by ship, and these huge vessels have metal 40 foot containers on board that store all sorts of goods. These steel 40 foot containers may hold foodstuffs, cars, electronic goods, furniture, raw materials, and a whole lot more. What is interesting to note about these metal 40 foot containers and other steel shipping containers is that they can be reused for many other purposes as well, not just shipping. This is good news, since many of these metal 40 foot containers are not even being used, and that represents a lot of useful metal boxes that are just sitting around. Many creative and resourceful builders and companies today may build office containers, shipping container houses, and even fast food restaurants or coffee shops out of these steel 40 foot containers. Finding used shipping containers for sale is a good way to start.
Shipping Containers Today
What is there to know about these metal boxes? They are plentiful, as around 17 million of them can be found across the globe today, delivering goods on board huge ships along ocean-based trade routes. Some of these are 40 foot containers, but some of the largest may be nearly 1,300 feet long, able to store many tons of cargo at a time. A container, if taken care of, can provide service for around 20 years.
But not all shipping containers are even being used. While 17 million of them exist today, only about six million are being used as containers on board ships, while the rest are in storage or standby. That is rather wasteful by many standards, since there are all sorts of uses for these large, sturdy steel boxes. And if nothing else, these leftover, unused containers can be melted down for their raw steel to make other goods instead. Just one such box can yield 3,500 kilograms of steel, and today, steel ranks among the most widely recycled materials of all. But if a steel shipping container is not melted down like that, buyers may purchase them and put them to good use in all sorts of ways. This can be an exciting opportunity to build something very useful for people.
New Uses for Shipping Containers
The exact size of these containers varies, but many of them are similar size to one another and can be used for similar purposes. One idea is to make a fast food restaurant or a coffee shop out of them, an idea pioneered along the American west coast in the 1990s and 2000s. Starbucks and Taco Bell, in particular, bought some such shipping boxes and converted them into cafes, and the idea proved a success that future models were based on. Converting them means cutting out holes for the windows and utilities, and fabricating them with a floor, walls, lighting, tables and chairs, a counter, and more. A small kitchen can be set up, along with a cash register, and a functioning coffee shop or fast food restaurant is open for operation. This is both a novelty and a wonderful use of old metal boxes.
In some cases, more than one shipping container can be combined to form a larger building, and this opens up even more construction ideas. Two or more containers can have some of their walls cut out, and the remaining pieces are welded together to form a larger structure, either with tall rooms or more than one story. This may be a fine idea for larger restaurants or coffee shops, and this can also be done to create a house. The United States is home to many people who struggle to buy or keep decent housing, but creating these shipping container houses can help. Such houses are compact, but they are quite affordable to build and purchase. Such houses may be very comfortable to live in. And finally, construction companies may convert a steel container into a fully fabricated mobile office. Construction managers need mobile offices that can be relocated to any new construction project site, after all.