Shipping container converted into granny flat - Shipping Container Modification

Trends in the Shipping Container Modification Market in 2022

Once, the vast majority of those iconic, rectangular steel boxes, first introduced by an American haulier and entrepreneur in the ’50s, would have served out their seafaring duties, been decommissioned, and been sold for their scrap metal value. Today, there are more than 17 million of these globally. Over 5 million of these are actively engaged in transporting marine freight and, collectively, make around 200 million voyages annually. While many of the others serve as land-based storage, the shipping container modification market now claims many of those that might otherwise have been sold to other shippers or recycled.


In effect, repurposing these storage vessels has proved to be a better business option than recycling them. This fact is borne out by how much this industry’s value has grown during recent years. Current predictions indicate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6,6% between 2020 and 2027. That translates as an increase on the 2019 figure of just over $76,5 million to annual shipping container modification sales worth a massive $114 million within the next five years. So, what are the factors driving this continuing increase in consumer demand, and how will they influence the market in 2022 and beyond?


One of the principal drivers of this trend has been a marked increase in property prices and rentals that now force many to seek more affordable options. Often, the problem is raising the initial deposit because high rents prevent tenants from saving. Financing a container home offers cheaper temporary accommodation and the chance to save. Demand for shipping container modifications to provide homes is escalating in developing economies, such as India and parts of Africa, where such constraints appear likely to worsen before they improve. However, even the US government has invested in this option for its poorer citizens.


Increased acceptance of the need for more eco-friendly construction will also be a significant contributor to the growth of this market. Insulating a container is a cheap and highly effective means to protect its contents and occupants from the effects of a damp environment and extreme temperatures and opens new opportunities for the future of the shipping container modification market.


The Covid-19 pandemic saw these units serving as temporary hospitals and vaccination centres. Charitable organisations and overseas aid funds are likely to embrace this option more in the coming years. They will extend its use to provide educational and other essential services and cope with the aftermath of natural disasters in the wake of climate change.


Locally, the future of shipping container modification will continue to be driven by the innovative thinking and skills of South Africa’s industry leader – Absolute Containers.