If you’ve recently become the proud owner of a brand new shipping container it’ll probably be in your interests to do what you can to make sure it lasts as long as it can. Don’t get us wrong, shipping containers are naturally strong, tough and durable, but there are definitely a few additional steps you can take to stretch its lifespan to the max.

Coat of paint

One of the easiest ways to increase the lifespan of your shipping container is to give it a coat of paint. You can do this yourself, of course, but a lot of shipping container companies can do this for you using the most suitable paint while saving you the time, hassle and effort.

The new coat of paint will not only look great but will add water and corrosion-resistant properties to your shipping container. As you’ll probably know, rust is one of the biggest threats when it comes to the overall lifespan of a container but a good coat of paint that’s maintained over time will keep a protective layer against the elements.

A good opportunity with paint also comes in the form of branding too if the container is being used as part of a business.


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Look after your roof

A shipping container is a bit like a house in that it’s only as good as the roof above it. Looking after the roof of your shipping container is therefore just as important.

While you always see shipping containers stacked one on top of another in ports around the world, it’s important to remember that it’s the reinforced corner castings of the shipping container that gives it its strength to withstand these weights. The roofs themselves are not made to support weight and will flex even when walked across.

Container roofs are also flat so they are prone to collecting pools of water, ice, leaves and other debris from their environments. It’s important to clear these off as regularly as possible again to prevent rust and leaks.

Mount your container

Mounting your container on planks, bricks, piles or some other foundation might not seem the most obvious thing to do but it can certainly be something to prolong its lifespan.

The main situation for doing this would be if your shipping container would otherwise be placed directly onto the earth, particularly areas that become easily damp and/or boggy. Without a gap below the shipping container, moisture can easily get trapped which can lead to corrosion in the flooring.

A container on the ground is also susceptible to unexpected flooding which can penetrate the container and cause damage internally as well. The only thing to be mindful of when attempting to mount your container is to do so properly, usually with the help of your container company. If the mounts are uneven, you’ll potentially compromise its structural integrity over time.


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Regular lubrication

To get the most out of your shipping container, every part of it requires and deserves your care and attention. The hinges, locking bar brackets, locking bar guides, cam retainers and handles – all of which are found on your shipping container doors, need to be well looked after.

Keeping them well lubricated and greased will give them anti-moisture, anti-corrosion protection and keep them from getting stiff. When joints become stiff, more effort is required to use them and with greater force applied, damage can also be inadvertently inflicted.

Your container doors will probably be the most used part of your shipping container so be sure not to overlook this step as if you lose your doors, the usefulness of your container becomes that much less.


Security may seem a strange thing to include in a discussion about container lifespan but it’s definitely a factor to be considered right from the outset.

Shipping containers are used, primarily for storage, in fixed placements or in transport. Often, the goods inside are of some value and nefarious types may be inclined to break into them, causing damage to the container itself.

A solid lockbox is a great deterrent to stop this from happening. They can be easily installed on any container door and prevent bolt cutters from reaching into your padlock. It’s a really easy step to follow and one that has no negative consequences.


Last but not least we’ve mentioned things that can damage your container from the outside but you should also think about what can happen from the inside too.

Moisture build-up from within a container is definitely a cause for concern, especially in climates where humidity is a factor and those where the difference in temperatures between daytime and nighttime are extreme. Moisture from within not only leads to corrosion in the same way it does from the outside but will also potentially damage your goods by mould and mildew.

Vents and whirlybirds will encourage and regulate the airflow and temperature inside your container. Whirlybirds are particularly good at providing an escape route for hot air within, while at the same time bringing cool air in which is exactly what needs to happen to keep it moisture free.

Make sure your container lasts as long as it should!

As you can see, there are some easy tips to follow to ensure your shipping container has the lifespan it should. You might not need to follow every single one of them depending on your situation but the more you do, the more likely you’ll be to have a container that goes the distance.

An apartment block made out of shipping containers

Shipping containers were invented in the 1950s and revolutionised the way goods were transported all around the world. While millions of containers still perform this function, a new revolution has been taking place in recent years where other uses of shipping containers have been found.

We thought we’d share some of these innovative uses of shipping containers which showcases some great ingenuity and creativity.

1. Container homes and housing

The development of shipping container homes and housing has grown to a point where it is now an important part of the tiny homes movement. With the cities and lifestyles becoming increasingly cluttered, more and more individuals and families have chosen to downsize their living. The container home solutions that have evolved from this have been quite remarkable and have shown people how much they can do with small amounts of space.

At the other end of the spectrum, others have used multiple shipping containers to create large and lavish homes complete with all the mod-cons found in a brand new build. Shipping containers have also been used in apartment-like configurations and for social housing too showing just how versatile they can be.


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2. Retail shops and malls

Another recent trend has seen shipping container retail shops and malls emerge all around the world. This has been for both temporary pop-ups and permanent fixtures alike. While many large brands have jumped on this bandwagon it has also been a great, cost-effective solution for specialised and boutique stores with smaller product ranges and budgets.

Some great examples of this include the Boxpark malls in the UK and Common Ground in Seoul, the largest shipping container mall in the world made from 200+ large shipping containers!


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3. Pop-up bars and cafes

As good as they are for retail shops, they are arguably even better for pop-up bars and cafes. A 20ft shipping container is almost the perfect size for baristas and/or bar staff to operate behind and can be easily modified with side opening doors etc to serve their eager patrons.

Not only that, they can be fairly easily wired and plumbed for all your catering needs and some even reinforce their roofs to create a nice rooftop seating/dining spaces. Their transportability means they can be easily picked up and moved from place to place.


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4. Workplaces and offices

Going to work in a shipping container five days a week is a bit of a strange thought but it is something a few organisations are turning into a reality for their employers.

As with most decisions to do with business, the main appeal comes down to the bottom line with shipping container sites seen as an affordable alternative option. One of the most well-known examples is the Box Office in Providence, Rhode Island built from 32 up-cycled shipping containers. It caters specifically to startups/entrepreneurs and small businesses and has proved to be a highly successful enterprise.


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5. Portable cinemas

A great example of a fun and ingenious use of shipping containers are those which have been turned into portable cinemas. In its travelling form, they look like any other shipping container that you’ll see on the back of a truck.

Some of these remain in this form with a projector fitted inside the container with seating facing towards the screen at one end. In the more elaborate versions, a push of a few buttons sees the shipping container completely transform, with its sides expanding out to allow for much more space, almost exactly like that of a small cinema. Either way provides for an enjoyable and unique movie-going experience.


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6. Portable toilets/Ablution blocks

If you’re organising a big event, festival or project the one thing you don’t want to overlook are the toilet facilities, for obvious reasons. In days gone by, the main choice would’ve been the portaloo (or equivalent) but the experience of using one can often be less than desirable.

Shipping containers, however, have provided a new accessible alternative, with the capacity to be fully plumbed with actual toilets and basins offering a more satisfactory experience. They are also typically much more sanitary with hygiene being a very important factor these days that should never be ignored.


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7. Medical Clinics

The portability of shipping containers has made them an excellent option for getting much-needed services to people living in particularly remote areas. This includes medical services with shipping containers being modified and transformed into mobile medical clinics which can be easily picked up and moved from one place to the next.

This has been especially useful in Third World countries where access is a real issue and remote healthcare and clinics are the only way to get people the medical attention they need. They have also been used in areas afflicted by disaster, natural or otherwise, where existing services have been damaged or destroyed and emergency healthcare is required.


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Some great uses of shipping containers

As you can see, there’s a wide range of uses of shipping containers with these just being the tip of the iceberg. As specialists in shipping container sales, hire and modification – we’re always happy to explore these ideas and more with our customers so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to know more!