Shipping containers are a vital part of international trade. Learn about how these steel boxes are created. 

How Shipping Containers are Made

Shipping containers are a vital part of international trade. Learn about how these steel boxes are created.

Millions of shipping containers are used every day to transport goods. Shipping containers are a staple of the international trade industry.  These steel containers are specifically designed to withstand extreme conditions including water and thousands of pounds of weight. The process to create these containers has been perfected over the last 50 years of manufacturing. There are many common types of shipping containers, but where do they come from? Learn more about how general shipping containers are built below.

The Step-By-Step Process of Building a Shipping Container

It takes many steps to build one shipping container:

  1. Steel Sheeting
    • Steel sheeting is cut into several sheets
    • Steel surfaces is prepared using sand blasting and priming to remove rust and dirt
    • Sheets are corrugates into wavy patterns to improve overall strength
    • Sheets are then welded together to create a wall
  2. Frame
    • The floor frame is created by welding beams together
    • Corner posts are welded into corners
    • Doors are made using corrugated steel and beams
  3. Finishing the Outline
    • Now that all the basic pieces of the container are made, the frame and sides are welded together
    • The roof is craned in and welded on
  4. Painting
    • The container is primed (prepared for paining)
    • Container is painted several times to ensure protection against sea transport
  5. Flooring
    • Plywood panels are cut and varnished with protective coating
    • Panels are then laid into the container floor
    • Panels are finally screwed into steel floor beams
  6. Hardware
    • Door hardware is installed
    • Hardware is waterproofed
  7. Labeling
    • ID code is stuck on the side of the container
    • Company’s logo and other labeling is put on the side of the container
    • Any other wording or advertising is put on the side of the container
  8. Finally
    • Container is entirely waterproofed
    • Container is subjected to water testing
    • Box is finally inspected to check water sealant and other defects

Once you find your shipping container, they next step is packing it with goods. If you need any help packing your shipping container see our blog post about container package and stowage.

The shipping container isn’t going away any time soon. The trade industry is built around them and they are the best way to transport goods.  With so many shipping containers in the world, some free thinkers have found alternative uses for shipping containers. See our blog post to learn about the different uses for shipping containers.

Finally, once you have found a shipping container and packed it is important to protect your shipment from hazardous transportation with a comprehensive Marine Cargo Policy. See our Marine Cargo Insurance policies to protect your shipment.

Get access to TRG's full library of free resources for U.S. Importers in the Resource Hub.

How tointernational tradeShipping Container

Chase Samuels • November 1, 2019


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