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16 fun facts about containers

We’re sure you already know but we can’t contain just how much we love containers!

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d share these facts with you, as we know that after reading them, you’ll appreciated containers as much as we do!

  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. McLean would continue to play a key role in the development of containers. He founded the Sea-Land Service soon after the invention and in 1967, the US government asked him to start a container service to South Vietnam, which became 40% of the company’s turnover in 1968-69.
  3. It’s always a set-back whenever a container gets lost. They don’t always sink as some actually float in the sea for a long period of time. 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. We think it’s safe to say those toys didn’t expect a journey like that!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. China’s contribution to containers is pretty incredible. It’s estimated 97% containers are made in China and are distributed around the world.
  7. 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!
  8. Containers have been used as clinics during disaster relief, such as after the earthquakes in Christchurch New Zealand.
  9. 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.
  10. Another structure which shows just what you can accomplish with containers is the Freitag store in Zurich. It 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 and it’s all made out of containers!
  11. We do not recommend that you sleep in one of these containers! In 2011, a Bangladeshi man called Din Islam was feeling tried and decided to actually sleep inside a container during a twelve hour shift. When he woke up, he discovered the container was actually aboard a ship! It was a struggle for Din. He spent nine days with nothing to eat or drink while stuck in this container. He was eventually set free when he was heard banging on the side of the container.
  12. Din had quite the trip in his container but the story of a three month old kitten called Ni Hao is simply incredible. This kitten somehow ended up in a container, which was put aboard a vessel which travelled from China all the way to America. The trip took two weeks, as the kitten had no access to food or water. The journey was 10,450 kilometres long but the kitten survived the ordeal and was nursed back to health by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. Proof that even the most delicate of goods can be transported safely!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. One in 10 ship crew-members have access to the internet while they’re on the job and around two-thirds of ship crews in the world have no way to communicate with the rest of the world at any given time.

So as you can see, the amount these containers can accomplish is simply astonishing and you’ll be pleased to know we’ve got you covered for whatever projects you’re planning with your container.


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very informative, thanks!

John Raistrick Alderson

I'm surprised that the estimated container lifetime is a mere 20 years- (maybe that is in high density commercial use). This compares with the 100 years plus life cycle of iron and steel narrow boats in use on the UK canal system. Note- I liked the the alternative use for containers that I saw in Poland- they made excellent vandal-proof kiosks and even cafes. They did not look too out of place when given an artistic roof trim etc.

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