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Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Shipping Containers

There’s more to these steel boxes that we sell than four walls and the space they offer for storage. We looked around our warehouse and our archives to find some surprising stats about our containers. Here are some things you didn’t know about shipping containers:


  1. Malcolm McLean design the first shipping container in 1956.
  2. There are more than 17 million shipping containers in the world, stacked on ships, docks, and yards.
  3. A 40-foot shipping container can hold about 8,000 shoe boxes.
  4. With proper care and maintenance, a shipping container lasts about 20 years.
  5. All commercial shipping containers have a special tracking code, like license plates or VIN numbers on our cars.
  6. Shipping containers make about 200 million trips around the world a year.
  7. If the seas get rough and stacked containers go overboard, a 20-foot cargo container can float for about 50 days, but a 40-foot shipping container can float three times that.
  8. At this moment, there are about 5-6 million shipping containers traveling around the world.
  9. A 20-foot shipping container weighs 4,850 pounds when empty.


Do you know any interesting container facts? Share your stats with us in the comments and we’ll add them to our list!

Quality Containers, Inc. specializes in building containers for purchase, lease, or rent. Looking to buy a shipping container? Call us today to talk with a container expert and we’ll find you what you need.

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Following a Shipping Container’s Path Around the Globe


Every day, thousands of ships, planes, and trucks crisscross the globe, moving cargo to the people who need it to do business, build empires, or just store their stuff. Global trade and smooth transport were two of the primary factors that pushed the global economy and standard of living forward so quickly during the twentieth century.

The BBC followed a shipping container’s path around the world to demonstrate the reality of globalization. The box began its travels empty and was filled with different types of cargo throughout the course of its journey. The container was loaded, unloaded, and reloaded with new contents when it reached different destinations. The box traveled more than 50,000 miles in its year-long journey before reaching its final destination. We’re going to take you on a trip around the globe to see exactly where BBC’s shipping container traveled. The container’s trip lasted just over a year and traveled on the road, by train, and across the ocean. Follow along with us! The journey begins now.



Container terminal cranes line a deepwater berth at DPWorld Southampton Port UK

Shipping containers at the Port of Southampton

The empty shipping container is ready to depart in BBC’s home country, the United Kingdom. It passes through most of the United Kingdom and briefly visits eastern Ireland. The container spends about a month winding through the British Isles, on ships and transporters, before it is ready to depart into the Atlantic Ocean – now holding cargo like aged Scotch whisky exports – and move past the Bay of Biscay. The shipping container is ready to say farewell to Europe after curving around the western coast of continental Europe, passing Spain and Portugal.


Suez Canal from BBC

Shipping containers pass through the Suez Canal. Image courtesy of BBC.

The steel box sails through the straits of Gibraltar, past Southern Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia, and there are no further reports or updates until the container arrives in Egypt. The ship passes through the Suez Canal, a key point in global transportation which has become an ocean highway for transportation, according to BBC.

The container travels south through the Red Sea, passing Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Yemen. It continues to float on across the northern Indian Ocean,  until it arrives in Singapore.




Shipping containers float through the Port of Singapore.

The shipping container passes by Sri Lanka and then arrives in Singapore. BBC reports this location as a loading and unloading zone for other containers. The container then moves to travel through the South China Sea, passing the Philippines and Taiwan, and surviving typhoons. It is ready to be unloaded when it reaches Shanghai, with more than 10,000 miles traveled by sea so far. Apparel replaces the whisky that ‘s now being distributed to bars in Shanghai and the container is ready to explore the Pacific Ocean. After two brief stops on Japan’s west coast and a day in Tokyo, the ship sets sail for the United States!


North America


Shipping containers at a busy Port of Long Beach.

Twelve days later, the BBC container arrived in Los Angeles, greeted by economic hardship. The box travels out of California, across the western United States following I-40 through Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Texas. It continues its trip through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, before arriving in Chicago, Illinois. Over the next two days, the box traveled through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before arriving in New York and being loaded onto a new cargo ship.


South America

Cargo ships docked at the Port of Santos, Brazil

The Port of Santos in Brazil is the busiest port in Latin America for containers.

The container heads out of U.S. territory, making a weeklong journey south through the Atlantic Ocean to make its way to the Caribbean Sea, before porting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and moving on to South America. The BBC box voyaged to Puerto Cabello, Venezuela and then hugged the eastern coast of the continent before porting in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo. The container spends nearly two months in Sao Paulo before departing once more across the Atlantic to return to the South China Sea trade zone.


The journey ends here

BBC Box from BBC

The BBC Box. Image courtesy of BBC.

The container traveled through the Indian Ocean once more, making a short stop in Hong Kong and a longer stop – four months long! – in Tokyo. After departing Tokyo, the container made a stop in Thailand en route to Singapore (again) to deliver its final shipment. After leaving Singapore, the container made its way back to the BBC Television Centre in London, England.

In total, the container traveled about 50,000 miles and visited 25 ports over the course of 14 months. In some cases, it traveled a thousand miles in a few days. In other cases, the box sat idle for months at a time. Once the shipping container’s travels came to an end, it was sent to Africa to be converted into a soup kitchen.

We hope you enjoyed our journey following a shipping container’s path around the world! Contact us to house your cargo as it travels across the map – we have a variety of sizes and grades available to fit your cargo needs.

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Tips for Storing a Shipping Container in Humid Climates

With the summer months marching on, delivering unrelenting heat, it’s important to consider how rising temperatures will affect your shipping container storage needs. Are you storing heat-sensitive cosmetic items that could easily be affected by the weather? Or perishables, like food and drinks, that could be ruined with one bad day of sizzling heat? Here are our tips for storing in humid climates.

Insulation works to keep your shipping container cool during warmer months. Here in California, where Quality Containers is headquartered, our temperatures have been reaching close to triple digits on most days. The heat could affect the items in your container regardless of your location. Insulation is an effective way to keep temperatures from rising and to protect your stored items because it creates a barrier to seal air. Most use spray polyurethane foam (SPF) to insulate their container and keep things cool in their steel box. Make sure you take safety precautions after insulation is complete; it’s a chemical substance and you will need to wait a while before entering your container.

Ventilation is a useful way to remove warm and moist air is through ventilation. This is essential if you want to build a home or office with your shipping container. You don’t need to be building a house to use ventilation, though. This will help air circulate throughout the container instead of allowing it to trap heat inside. Ventilation can be installed underneath your shipping container to easily allow air to flow through.

Dehumidifiers are ideal for long-term storage and help reduce moisture in your container. A dehumidifier may require more work than ventilation and insulation because you’ll have to keep an eye on it. Since a dehumidifier collects moisture from the air, you’ll need to empty the reservoir once it’s full – just make sure you don’t drink it! You can also set up it up to be emptied through your plumbing if this would be a more effective method for you.

Desiccants are a different way to absorb moisture and maintain dryness in your container. There are different types of desiccants that absorb moisture and water and they are effective in colder climates as well. The most commonly known desiccants are silica gel packets, which can be found in most sealed products we purchase. There’s also calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, and charcoal to prevent moisture from turning into liquid to keep your items safe and unaffected by temperature. You want to ensure that you have enough desiccants inside the container and may also need some outside of it to work for the duration you are using the container for storage.

Cargo worthy shipping containers are ideal for storage and we can help you get your next one. We provide an excellent product at a fair price with outstanding customer service. Get in touch with us and we’ll get you what you need. We’ve got you covered.

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4 Ways Small Businesses Are Using Used Shipping Containers

A shipping container’s purpose is not merely for storage. Small businesses are using shipping containers to build their facilities in a sustainable and inexpensive way, while expanding their location base. Price can vary depending on the size of your business and your business’s needs, but they are cost effective when compared to traditional building practices. They also take less time to build than traditional business spaces, which can be an important factor in increasing your visibility as a small business.

  1. Restaurants

Shipping container restaurants have started popping up after larger, household name businesses have built with them and increased their popularity. It is especially common among smaller restaurants that create bar seating and can use outdoor space to set up tables for their customers. A shipping container’s size allows restaurants to build their facilities almost anywhere they desire, making it easier to control costs and increase profits.

  1. Retail and pop up shops

Some stores only appear during certain times in the year, such as 4th of July or Halloween, and can easily sell out of a modified shipping container. Other smaller retailers are using shipping containers to build small stores to do business and some create pop up shops so they can move their business wherever they please, which can be an effective tactic to boost sales.

  1. Office space

It may be difficult to find an affordable office space as a small business, especially because renting expenses may not always be in line with your budget. Shipping containers provide a way to create office space without breaking a small business budget. It helps business owners who are looking to make a profit and not spend all their money on rent and the various expenses paired with owning a business. Shipping containers are also ideal for additional storage, workshops, and sheds to create your unique space for whichever type of business you are in.

  1. Studios

Recycled shipping containers are an inexpensive way to build music and video production studios – or any type of studio for that matter. There has been an increase of creativity with these boxes when it comes to the work-from-home crowd. These businesses are doing it right with sustainable practices and affordability. Why not build your studio at your home? Studios are also a great space for those that need space for their hobbies, especially if you want to build a music studio to mix on the weekends or a craft studio to channel your inner artiste.

Get in touch with us about buying your next shipping container whether it is for storage, creating your next business location, or fostering a home for your hobby.

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3 Ways to Transport Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are BIG. They hold major cargo and are built to last, so getting a shipping container delivered is a likewise BIG task. Weight can range depending on the shipping container sizes, but they weigh anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 pounds empty. They can also be difficult to transport if you don’t have the right equipment or tools. At Quality Containers, we prioritize top flight customer service, and seamless delivery is part of that goal. There are a couple different ways to transport or move your shipping container, no matter how far it needs to go.


Using a truck is the most obvious form of transportation used to move shipping containers. Think about how many shipping containers you see on trucks while on the highway. They are one of the primary forms of transportation to move these huge containers across the globe, right behind cargo ships. They are helpful in delivering your container and making sure it gets to your destination without damage or problems.

Forklifts or cranes

Forklifts and cranes are the preferred method for short-distance relocation. If you’re just moving your shipping container around on one property, this is what you’ll need. Forklifts can easily stack and move shipping containers where they need to be, and are convenient when you are looking to move several containers around. This is especially helpful if you are stacking shipping containers to build a home or construct a shed.

Cranes can grab your container to place it wherever it needs to be. After all, you can’t move the steel box by yourself.

Third-party Transporters

A specialized tilt back trailer is one of the ways we transport containers. This trailer allows the driver to offload the container on your property and slide it into place. Deliveries occur through third party transporters ; Quality Containers connects customers with them to ensure quality service. Using our delivery services answers all the questions you may have about using a third party transporter. We provide you with professional, reliable, and insured drivers who specialize in shipping container deliveries.

Contact us today so we can set you up with our friendly and knowledgeable drivers to deliver your container. Order your next shipping container with us and we’ll take care of all the details to arrange your shipment.

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7 Ways People Are Repurposing Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are great for storage, but many have been creatively repurposing shipping containers with other ideas in mind. They are being repurposed to create houses, playgrounds, hotels, and many more due to their durability and affordability. Here are how others are thinking outside the box and transforming their steel boxes:


Building homes from shipping containers is becoming increasingly popular due to container durability, cost, and building efficiency. Modern architects have gotten creative when it comes to designing for life inside the box. From beach houses to portable homes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to constructing a custom shipping container space. Shipping containers are a sustainable way to create some space in your backyard with guesthouses as well as patios or decks to get some sun and fresh air. It is an inexpensive way to create space for family and friends, and to do something unique with your home.

Emergency shelters and affordable housing projects

Shipping containers can be built to provide underground shelters, which is ideal for emergency situations. More of these underground shelters are emerging as well as affordable housing projects. They create an affordable shelter space that can be used to help others in need – not solely for emergency situations.


Several businesses have taken to the steel box to open retail shops, restaurants and bars, malls, and office space. Some businesses are creating portable spaces and recycle shipping containers further in building their tables and chairs with them – talk about sustainability! Some well-known businesses, such as Starbucks and Taco Bell, have also shipping containers to create restaurant space and drive -thru’s.

Swimming pools

Shipping containers are the perfect size to create a splash in your backyard. People are using them to build in-ground or aboveground pools to cool off during the summer months with the whole family.


People have been thinking outside of the box when it comes to expressing creativity with shipping containers. They are becoming more popular in agricultural uses as well and some have created barns because of the added safety of steel shipping containers. All that hay around a barn is a fire hazard, but luckily, steel isn’t.


Sustainability reaches even further with entertainment for the kids. Many parks and playground are popping up in areas to keep kids active and busy. Shipping containers have also been used to create treehouses or playhouses so the kids have their own space in the backyard.


Some shipping container hotels have made an appearance – Uxbridge in Hong Kong is one example. Building with these boxes is convenient due to their stacking ability. It’s almost like playing a game of Tetris to create a custom space with shipping containers.

Shipping containers are a great tool to build with and it’s easy to get creative with the growing supply of inspiration out there. Contact us to buy your next container and we’ll do everything to get you the container you need – guaranteed.

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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Shipping Container

Shipping containers are the best way to transport large shipments globally, but they’re also now used to build small-scale construction projects like homes and shops. There are several important things you need to consider before purchasing a shipping container including shipping details, costs, and delivery.


Shipping containers are not just used for transporting materials across the globe. They can be used to construct and build homes, shops or businesses, outdoor bars or venues, garages, cabins, and many more creative ways. You can use them for various projects due to their shape and size. Shipping containers are a multi-purpose tool useful for homeowners, business owners, customized projects, and anyone looking to store or ship large amounts of cargo.

Storage, Size, and Quantity

What are you using your shipping container for? Are you using it for storage or building purposes, and where are you transporting it? You must consider the load you are storing in the shipping container and the types of things you will put in it. Certain objects or items must be packed with special care in order to preserve them. These items can include, but are not limited to liquor, jewelry, food, open bottles, flammable containers, spray cans, and any important documents or paperwork.

You will also need to consider what size shipping container you will need for your project. How much are you putting in the container? A 20’ shipping container may be ideal for you if you are using it for storage or shipping. If you are transporting or storing larger items, such as home furnishings, a bigger shipping container may work better for you.

If you are building a custom home and modifying a shipping container or several, a 40’ container would be better for you. This bigger container would be ideal for a two-bedroom home and perfect for constructing a home for your family. If you are building a residence with three or more bedrooms you may need more than one container or a bigger size.

40’ storage containers can fit a car or truck inside them, which is ideal for shipping your vehicle or storing it. Shipping containers can also be transformed into garages to store your vehicle. You will have to decide the amount you are storing, the size of the container you will need, and how many.


Shipping containers have several advantages regardless of what will you use them for. They are difficult to break into and will keep your materials secure. No one would be able to walk away with your container, as they are made of steel and quite large. You will also be participating in sustainable practices because shipping containers are reused.


Shipping container cost varies and prices increase with size. You need to make sure you can afford to buy the container and have a deposit and agreement ready with the company you are ordering from and shipping with. Most shipping companies offer an extensive selection of payment, but it is up to you to determine the most practical way to pay for this.

Time and Planning

Once you have decided which shipping container is right for you, you will need to figure out which shipping company you will use. Whether you are using your container for shipping your belongings or for customization and building, time is important in this part of the process.

You will need to make sure you have all the documents, paperwork, and necessary permits in order. There are specific details needed for the verification process of your delivery, including your social safety amount for the transportation of your container. The container transport cannot be authorized until you provide this amount and your shipping and delivery carrier will need this information as soon as possible. You will also need to choose a delivery day for your shipment. Time is especially important in this case if you are shipping overseas, but also key for local deliveries.

Keep in mind shipping times if you are trying to stick to a time sensitive plan. Standard shipping may take at least 7 business days, and you may be waiting over than a week for your container. Consider the time you order your container if you are looking to make quicker progress with its arrival. You will need to think ahead in order to adhere your plans.

If you’re considering purchasing a shipping container in the future, get in touch with our team to see how we can help you accomplish your goals.

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Logistic Leads the Way on e-AWB Implementation

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Air Cargo May Become Short-term Solution for Some Shippers Soon

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