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21 Alternative Uses for Shipping Containers

March 8, 2018
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shipping containers

Shipping containers provide a wealth of benefits for companies needing to transport their essential products all across the country. But beyond their original purpose, shipping containers are now being utilized by a variety of companies and creative individuals in fascinating new ways.

Let’s take a look at some of these novel ways shipping containers are being put to use around the world!

  • Schools – In many underprivileged parts of the world, traditional building methods for school construction can be cost prohibitive. Shipping containers are a terrific solution to this problem, as they can be modified to include doors, windows, heating and air conditioning units, and more.
  • Temporary Shops – Shipping containers are being used in numerous areas as temporary structures for pop-up stores for specialty events. The transportable capabilities of the containers mean set-up and tear-down for such short-lived events can be greatly reduced.
  • Homes and Hotels – One of the most unique and fascinating trends we’ve seen over the course of the last decade is the use of shipping containers for housing. The containers are functional, affordable, and ideal for those looking to reduce their environmental footprints. Tempohousing is one of the industry leaders in this area, having supplied student housing in Amsterdam and a homeless shelter in Brighton, England.
  • Workshops and Studio Spaces – Shipping containers are perfect for the home craftsman who wants some privacy and a dedicated space for tools and projects. Artists have also utilized the containers as home and professional studios!
  • Offices – Due to spacing concerns in some countries office space has become limited and modified shipping containers are now a useful alternative. Their stackability allows for some convenient construction possibilities, too.
  • Restaurants – Shipping containers have been utilized as a base structure for a variety of restaurants in cities like New York, Paris, London, Montreal, and more. Check these restaurants out.
  • Emergency Hospitals – When a health emergency arises, having a moveable workstation for health workers can be greatly beneficial which is why shipping containers have started to play a role in many countries’ emergency preparedness planning.
  • Portable Toilets – Companies and organizations looking to maintain the sanitary conditions of a site have turned to shipping containers as a viable alternative to standard, smaller portable toilets. The larger size of these units also helps to provide more privacy and mobility for users.
  • Indoor Gardens and Nurseries – The narrow design of shipping containers is also well-suited for the growing and nurturing of plants for a variety of purposes. Two companies exploring this use currently are Growtainer and CropBox. Check them out!
  • Disaster Shelters – Following natural disasters, temporary shelters are often needed for those who have been displaced, and shipping containers are a great solution.
  • Food and Drink Kiosks – Because shipping containers can withstand the elements so well, they make a perfect foundation for outdoor coffee bars and food kiosks, which many companies have started to realize.
  • Playgrounds – One of the most surprising uses for shipping containers has come out of Melbourne, Australia, where Phooey Architects created a children’s activity center using repurposed shipping containers as a foundation. With the containers’ sturdy construction, you know they’ll be able to withstand the kids’ energetic play!
  • Vacation Homes – Shipping containers make a great choice for a home away from home for those who own land and want to install a simple, efficient living space for occasional getaways.
  • Student Housing Facilities – Certain countries and cities around the world face spacing issues for their student populations, and shipping containers can be a great solution when adapted and modified.
  • Refurbished Furniture – Another unusual and fascinating application for shipping containers can be found in their use in the creation of a variety of types of furniture by Contain[It]. Examples include lounge chairs, futons, benches, and more.
  • Swimming Pools – Because of shipping containers’ dimensions, particularly their length and depth, they make for excellent swimming pools for private or public use. And best yet, these styles of pools can be free-standing, allowing you to do away with costly digging and construction work.
  • Campers – Another great option if you own some land is to use a shipping container as a type of camping center when you want to get rustic. You could even still use standard tents and sleeping bags to remain authentic, but utilize the container for storing equipment or food.
  • BridgesYoav Messer Architects utilized the sturdy, uniform design of shipping containers to craft a true engineering marvel – a shipping container bridge dubbed the Econtainer Bridge in Ariel Sharon Park, Israel.
  • Urban Centers and Malls – In yet another example of the extreme diversity of shipping containers, some areas have begun to utilize them for large-scale projects like urban centers and malls. Amazing!
  • Laboratories – Since shipping containers are long and narrow they form a sort of natural hallway which are ideal for computer workstations. A row of desks with a computer placed at each suddenly becomes a cheap and functional tech lab.
  • Sheds – Shipping containers are ideal for storing equipment like mowers, weed trimmers, gardening tools, and more, keeping them secure and protected from the elements.

As you can see, there are a lot of amazing new uses for shipping containers, and we can’t wait to see how companies and individuals continue to innovate and experiment!

In Need of Shipping Containers? Contact CPG!

If you’re in need of shipping containers for any of the above purposes, or simply require them for their more common transportation uses, contact ContainerPort Group today.

Our container sales staff will find the perfect units for your operations.