28 Nov Leveraging the Versatility of Shipping Containers
Despite numerous political and cultural differences between the world’s nations, the estimated value of international trade during 2019 was more than 19 trillion US dollars. Significantly, more than 70% of the exported goods would have been transported by sea. Until 1956, sea freight was considerably more expensive than today due to the time-consuming and labour-intensive loading and unloading processes. That year marked the start of a new era with the introduction of shipping containers and the first specialised vessel to transport them.
These stackable metal boxes not only simplify loading and unloading, but they also increase the total volume of freight that can be transported when loaded onto specialised container ships. Once landed, their rectangular format is ideal for onward shipment by rail or flatbed trucks. However, those benefits are no longer restricted to importers and exporters. Despite a potential seagoing lifespan of 30 years or more, many of these units are decommissioned after only a few uses. While there is a healthy demand for used shipping containers, not all units purchased will return to the sea. Their regular size and shape, combined with their robust steel structure, have led to many alternative uses.
Of course, one of the more obvious applications for these used units is storage. Purchasing one could be an ideal way to rid your house and garage of those seldom-used items that might be taking up space you could use more productively. In practice, one of these second-hand units could become a second garage with just a few minor alterations. However, some have more sophisticated plans for repurposing their used shipping containers.
A rectangular metal box offers the perfect starting point for a wide range of building projects. It is relatively simple to convert a single unit into a workshop or a poolside changing facility and entertainment area. Given the growing shortage of funding for essential services, container conversions are also by far the cheapest way for a school to add a much-needed extra classroom or science lab and similar public service projects, such as vaccination clinics and libraries.
However, the maximum potential for conversions lies in modular structures consisting of multiple shipping containers. One can weld these steel boxes together to form adjoining rooms and create an entire simplex or duplex dwelling. A smart-looking four-bedroom home built in this fashion could cost no more than a third of the price of a conventional brick and mortar construction.
Naturally, these projects require the skill, experience, and imagination of a company specialising in this field. South Africans interested in this option will be assured of world-class quality and service when ordering shipping containers and conversions from Absolute Containers.