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13 Facts About Shipping Containers

12 July 2018


Tips & Guides

People all over the world are recycling and buying shipping containers for loads of different purposes. From retail units to self-storage, from domestic garden rooms to marketing suites, from restaurants and bars to on-site facilities, they are so versatile and customisable that they can pretty much be transformed into just about anything.

However, we can bet you didn’t know these 13 facts about the humble shipping container:

  1. The first modern intermodal shipping container was developed by Malcom McLean in 1956, which was designed to replace the old style of break-bulk container handling. It was 8ft high and 8ft tall.
  2. In 1992, a 40ft container full of toys actually fell into the Pacific Ocean and it would take some toys 10 months to drift ashore on the Alaskan coastline.
  3. Containers are very dependable and their services to you can last for decades. It is believed that if shipping containers are well taken care of and they are given regular maintenance, they can last for a total of 20 years.
  4. The amount you can store in one container is pretty incredible. A 40ft containers can even hold around 8,000 shoe boxes. Think about that the next time you bring home a new pair of shoes.
  5. It’s estimated 97% containers are made in China and are distributed around the world.
  6. Containers can give architects some incredible ideas for future projects. A New Orleans-based architect Stefan Breese transformed an old container into a $7,000 top quality swimming pool!
  7. Containers have been used as clinics during disaster relief, such as after the earthquakes in Christchurch New Zealand.
  8. There are a lot of ways for a container to be used but there is a city in Mexico that took this concept to a whole new level. This city, which is 48,000 square foot, is legitimately built from shipping containers! The appropriately named “Container City” uses containers for apartments, restaurants, art galleries and many more buildings that you could find in any other city.
  9. The Freitag store in Zurich is the tallest shipping container building in the world and uses 19 containers, with nine of them being stacked on top of one another. The result is a building that is 26 metres tall!
  10. In 2011, a Bangladeshi man called Din Islam fell asleep inside a container during a 12-hour shift and when he woke up, he discovered the container was actually aboard a ship! He spent 9 days with nothing to eat or drink while stuck in this container.
  11. Cargo ships can store quite a lot of containers. The largest ships can store 745 million bananas in nearly 15,000 containers. These ships don’t monkey about.
  12. Ships are the most common way to transport cargo. In fact, it’s estimated that 95% of the world’s cargo is moved by ships. It’s a great means to move goods in high volume.
  13. A container ship can travel a great deal. In fact, one ship can cover ¾ of a trip to the moon and back in one year.

Surprised? Probably, and we can bet your bottom dollar that you’ve learned something today. Shipping containers are being repurposed for so many reasons and there are lots of benefits to choosing a container as a storage or space solution for your home or business, but if you need further convincing, we’re only a phone call away!

If you would like a friendly, honest chat about how we can create your bespoke shipping container conversion, please call the Universal team today on 0845 050 0330 or feel free to email

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