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The Shipping Container: Fun Facts & Information

Interesting Shipping Containers Facts you Probably Didn’t Know!

East Coast Containers Shipping & Storage Container Facts & InformationShipping containers are a vital part of our modern economy; they are the lifeblood of industry and trade. Their safe arrival into US ports ensures we receive the essential goods and products needed to keep the economy going, thrive and survive. Practically all of the items we have that are made (fully or partially) overseas were brought to America via a shipping container. While they may seem like big, bulky steel boxes, there are many interesting facts to learn! East Coast Containers highlights 10 shipping container facts you probably didn’t know!

Shipping & Storage Container Facts

There are many types of containers. While the standard 20’ containers are the most common, they are many other variations including:

  • 10’ containers allow for easier movement
  • 40’ containers allow for larger loads
  • Open tops or side containers to allow for extra tall or long items & large pieces of equipment
  • ISO and insulated containers for perishable foods
  • Swap body containers (convertible top) used for road and rail transport

Shipping Containers Have Many Uses. Aside from storing residential valuables, medical supplies, farming equipment and construction machinery, containers have a plethora of other uses! You can easily transform a container into a tiny home, swimming pool, workshop, yoga studio and so much more.

Read More: 12 Creative Ways to Transform a Shipping Container
Read More: Innovative Ways to Convert 20′ Shipping Container
Read More: 40′ Shipping Container Conversions

95% of Worldwide Cargo is Shipped via Containers. There are few cheaper alternatives to moving large quantities of goods and cargo across the ocean than to use a shipping container.

Keep an Eye Out for Rubber Duckies. A container shipping 28,800 rubber ducks was lost at sea and never recovered! While some ducks made their way to shore there are still many more waiting to be found.

Upwards of 95% of Shipping Containers are Made in China. While they’re important for economies across the globe, they’re largely manufactured in China, because the labor costs are cheap and the facilities are already located there.

Not Every Container is Interchangeable. When a container has been used to transport certain materials, you cannot use it for anything else. To prevent chemical contamination or dangerous incidents, containers can only be used for goods with similar organic matter. Keeping track of previous shipments is extremely important.

With proper care & maintenance, containers can last 20+ years.
Read More: Proper Container Maintenance Guide

Anywhere from 2,000 – 10,000 containers are lost at sea every year. Little is known about what happens to the containers and only a small fraction are recovered.

The first shipping container was constructed in 1956. Malcom McLean is credited for making the first shipping container due to a need for sturdier containers to transport goods. There have been slight modifications over the years, but not much has changed since his original design.

Manual tracking is still preferred in the industry.

Shipping containers float – for a little while anyway. You may imagine the container will sink to the bottom immediately upon hitting the water, but that is not usually the case. Since they’re filled with air and tightly sealed it takes some time for them to fill with water and sink.

It takes about 57 days for a 20’ container to sink.

It takes about 170 days for a 40’ one to sink.

Many containers ship empty. This is done to get them where they need to be for future packing and production.

The Port of Shanghai handles the most containers annually. Find out which ports in the United States are the busiest.

Worldwide, there are 939 shipping container ports.

Less than 10% of containers are inspected at customs.

There’s a city made entirely of container ships in Cholula, Mexico. Containers have been used to create shops, restaurants and more.

Currently, over 17 million containers are in circulation across the globe!

In 2010, industry experts estimated there were over 530 million containers in the world.

The most commonly shipped goods inside containers include: production materials, furniture, food, toys, car parts and electronics.

Only 50% of all shipping containers are owned by a company. The other half are leased on one-to-10-year terms.

All containers used commercially have a serial number for tracking and identification.

Further, they also all have a CSC plate attached, which is basically their passport!

Reefer containers are not refrigerators! Used to ship temperature-sensitive goods, these types of containers don’t create cold air. Instead, they keep a constant temperature and circulate existing cool air.

A standard container ship can carry 15,000 containers. These containers combined can hold 745 million bananas!

40’ Shipping Containers tend to last longer than 20’ ones, because they’re usually not packed to capacity.

Shipping container homes are quite affordable! A premade home costs around $10,000, a more luxurious version is around $35,000, while a large container home could cost $185,000. Still a reasonable rate considering the current state of our housing market.

There are over 300 companies worldwide that build and design container homes.

It takes between 27 to 76 seconds to unload a container from the ship once in port.

Shipping containers are a significant part of our lives and help to ensure we receive the goods and products essential to our survival and economic growth. There is so much left to learn about containers and the ships that carry them, this blog has merely scratched the surface. We hope you found this information fun and we were able to give you some insight as to their importance! For even more fun facts, check out Container Ship Facts & Interesting Information.

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