Shipping Container Industry Set for an Upgrade

Shipping containers – useful steel boxes used to store goods on large ocean-going vessels – may soon get a design upgrade.

Considered one of the most useful innovations in the transportation industry, the steel shipping container has more or less remained the same since being invented in 1956 by Malcolm McLean. Shipping containers make it possible to safely store and transport large quantities of items on large ships, and conveniently load and unload the ships.

Shipping containers today are manufactured from steel, making them hardy and secure. However, current design makes shipping containers difficult to scan — an increasing concern as worries about international smuggling and terrorism abound. New designs proposed for shipping containers include manufacturing the containers from a carbon composite. The new design would be more lightweight than today’s steel containers, reducing some transportation and other costs. The new design would also enable the containers to be folded up after being used, reducing storage costs. Because the containers would be made from carbon composites, they would require lower-powered x-rays to scan, making them more convenient.

Regardless of how they’re made or what they’re made from, shipping containers will continue to be an important part of the transportation industry. Used shipping containers have a variety of applications for non-transportation needs, such as temporary storage, emergency office space, construction and more. Used shipping containers are easy to find and buy, and are also quite inexpensive compared to the cost of building temporary office space, storage or other structures.