Shipping Container Facts

The Container Technology team came up with 5 fun shipping container trivia facts.

Published In : 13-October-2023

The phenomenon of repurposing shipping containers is packed with fun information and trivia.  No matter the condition of the container, they can and often do take on another life for business or residential applications.

You’ve probably done plenty of research about the type of shipping container you need. However, you may be interested to learn some shipping container trivia.

Here are five shipping container facts you might enjoy and appreciate your container purchase even more!

1. Invented by American Malcolm McLean 

You probably know shipping containers have been around a while, but you might not have known that they were first invented in the 1950’s. American entrepreneur Malcolm McLean, sometimes called “the father of containerization,” invented and patented the first container unit in 1956.

Although McLean wasn’t involved in the overseas shipping industry, he owned the largest trucking fleet in the U.S. South (fifth largest in the U.S.).  He had a serious interest in the mid-20th century supply chain and revolutionized the industry.

2. Around 97% of Shipping Containers Are Built in China 

Due to low labor costs, China has cornered the market on building shipping containers, packing them with goods, and launching to all points around the world. In May 2021, Greg Miller at Freight Waves/American Shipper reported that three Chinese companies control the production and distribution of the world’s supply of shipping containers.

3. Stacking Shipping Containers Offers More Design Options 

If you’ve ever watched a train pass, you might have noticed shipping containers stacked two high. You might see them stacked five, six, or more high on ocean voyages. But on dry land, people are stacking shipping containers like LEGO sets for personal or commercial projects. There are homes with two or more stories, apartment complexes, and commercial centers stacked in standard or unique configurations.  Much of the time, the reason for building up instead of out is the economy of space, which shipping containers provide in abundance.

4. A Shipping Container Can Last 30 Years or More 

With even minimal care, workhorse shipping containers can last for decades. However, a one-trip container or one that has undergone refurbishments and modifications can last 30 years easily, especially with good care by the commercial or residential owner.

As a side note, 40-foot containers tend to outlive 20-foot units. Many think that this is because they have more space inside, and shippers don’t need to pack them to their full weight capacity.

5. Shipping Containers Sometimes Get Lost At Sea 

Thousands to tens of thousands of shipping containers tumble off ships and into the sea each year. That loss rate equals having a massive shipping container slide off the top of the stack every hour. Reports indicate that 64% of the losses are the result of a catastrophic event, but losses can also happen as the result of an oversight in properly securing the containers. Most industry professionals don’t know what happens to the lost containers, but it’s most likely that they sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Learn More Facts About Shipping Containers 

Are you ready to buy a shipping container for your project? If so, our team at Container Technology has all the information you need to find the right cargo container for your project.

Contact us to talk about Conex conversions, refrigerated units, and any other container solutions you have in mind.

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