A Life of a Container Part 2 of 3

A Life of a Container Part 2 of 3

8/17/2014 Umut Türker 2118 Times Read

The construction of containers is quite technical and subject to enormous rules and regulations. A .pdf version runs to almost 100 pages!


They are usually thought of as being made of steel (although some are made from aluminum), but they are more usually and accurately made from a steel called “Corten” which is a type that retards rust. As a shipping container, they last for about 10-15 years. However, even with no preventative maintenance, they are still useful as cargo ship containers for 20 years. With preventative maintenance and/or uses in other functions, they can last virtually forever. In the 1980s, when there was constant fear of annihilation in a nuclear war, it was often said that only cockroaches would survive a nuclear holocaust. I am sure that shipping containers would last, as well.


The standard weight of them is about 2,000 kg (4,409 lbs) when empty. It seems that 20 very strong men, working together, could lift up a container. However, I am not too sure that they would want to test this theory.


An interesting fact is that, when the containers are empty, they can be placed in stacks of twelve. Since each container is almost 8 feet tall (2.38 meters), that is almost the same as a 12-story building! The end result, though, is something that can be transported by air, ship, train or truck.


At the bottom of the container are two forklift pockets. This allows a forklift to carry an empty container to a railroad car or truck. The container must be empty because containers are designed to house 22,100 kg (48.721 lbs) worth of items.

We make international freight easier

Regardless of how it is transported (by air, ship, train or truck); if the container were alive then it surely would be excited. It would meet people of many ethnicities, nationalities, cultures and lifestyles, and would be handled slightly differently at each port, terminal or warehouse. There has even been a hardcover book written on this topic, called Around the World in 40 Feet: Two Hundred Days in the Life of a 40ft NYK Shipping Container by Richard Cook and Marcus Oleniuk. On the other hand, maybe it would not be excited. Things are often not evident unless something is wrong. In rough seas, containers are sometimes tossed overboard and end up on beaches. Seeing cars, diapers, clothes, and every conceivable commodity strewn about is unsettling to everyone. Refugees, stowaways and victims of human trafficking usually suffocate to death during a journey inside a container.