What Is a Shipping Container?
A shipping container is a large, reusable steel box that protects and transports goods around the world. Shipping containers are commonly available in sizes of 10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet, and can be purchased either new or used. When buying a used container, it is important to inspect the unit thoroughly to ensure that it is in good condition and free from damage that could compromise its structural integrity.
The term shipping container is also commonly referred to as a conex box, cargo or freight container, sea container, sea van, or MILVAN. In addition, it is often referred to as an ISO container or an intermodal container.
Innovative Ways to Repurpose Shipping Containers for Sustainable Living
Malcolm McLean invented the standard shipping container in 1956 while he was still running his trucking company. He knew that the shipping industry would benefit from a standardized, intermodal method of moving cargo between trucks, trains, and ships. Prior to the introduction of containers, shippers and trucking carriers had to use custom-built trailers to transport their freight, which were expensive and time-consuming to load and unload.
The design of the standard shipping container is simple, yet effective. Each door has a lock rod fitted to it that engages with knuckles welded into the frame on each side of the container. A padlock fits into a steel lock box on each end of the container, preventing intruders from accessing the contents inside. Rubber gaskets are placed on the doors during manufacturing, and ISO markings and a consolidated data plate allow worldwide intermodal transport.