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shipping containers uses

Innovative uses of shipping containers

There is no surprise that shipping containers tend to be used extensively in the shipping industry. Especially when it comes to transporting various types of cargo. Despite how sturdy and durable they are, a shipping container’s time at sea must inevitably come to an end. However, a few creative designers and architects have come up with a few surprising ways that shipping containers can be reused outside of the shipping industry. This is part of a growing trend of repurposing waste materials to be more environmentally conscious. These containers make good building material because the standardized shipping container dimensions allow them to be stacked on top of each other, making it easy for many containers to be connected. 

Below are a few creative ways people have been using shipping containers. Although you may have heard of a few of them before, a few can be quite surprising! 

Sturdy shed

In various regions, sheds can hold many functions – whether it is just a peaceful sanctuary or a simple place to store large equipment. While most sheds tend to be made of wood, you may consider upgrading them by using a shipping container instead. This means you no longer need to worry about rot or mold, and it hardly requires any assembly and maintenance. Aside from a simple shed, you may consider upgrading it into a weather-proof garden room, playhouse, or outdoor home office! The possibilities are endless! 


No doubt, this is one of the most popular and extensively experimented uses of shipping containers. With space becoming scarce and housing prices increasing, people are now turning to shipping containers to solve this problem. There have been some amazing solutions worldwide! For instance, there are now container campuses for students, built specifically to tackle the shortage of student housing, in addition to various homeless shelters. A few shipping containers have been made into large housing projects that also include private balconies, cafes, office space, and sports facilities. 


If you have always wanted your own private swimming pool, then you may want to consider a shipping container! These containers provide a simple and easy solution, as you no longer need permission to dig or do major work. Instead, a 20ft or 40ft container can just be dropped and used straight away! There are a few companies out there who can help you with this. They just need to fill the pool with filters, underwater lights, ladders, and heat pumps. How incredibly low maintenance!

Pop up shops 

The unique thing about pop-up shops, cafes, or bars is that they are not permanent – they only open at a certain place for a certain time. This means that the infrastructure of these shops needs to be easy to build and dismantle. As such, the shape and durability of shipping containers make them an ideal candidate for pop-up shops. It is also a fantastic way to freshen up previously dull-looking containers and transform them into something completely different!


By adding a little imagination and creativity, you can make shipping containers suit nearly any purpose. For instance, you can transform them into an adventurous playground! With the abundance of imagination from children, a shipping container can become an almost infinite number of things, ranging from a cave to a space station, to even a pirate ship. Furthermore, the metal containers are more likely to stand up to any kind of rough treatment kids do. So, less maintenance work to worry about! 


In undeveloped and densely populated countries, strong infrastructure is hard to come by. As such, plenty of initiatives aim to change this, by using sturdy materials such as shipping containers. As you can stack and connect shipping containers to each other, this allows designers to create buildings that need larger spaces. Even better, installation is incredibly quick, so construction workers can do renovations over the school holidays, without must disruption to students.


If you squint your eyes and look at the size and dimensions of shipping containers, especially when they are laid end to end, then they look like the perfect shape of a bridge. This is what architects at Yoav Messer Architects have proposed. The 160m long bridge will help connect Ariel Sharon Park in Tel Aviv. A great way to reuse waste material – is by adding innovation and industrial design to former containers!


If you are more of a book lover, then you will love this one. People are now using shipping containers as reading rooms in a public library! Each of the colored boxes is used to differentiate its various functions. Aside from being creative and better for the environment, these containers also help the community by making sure knowledge, services, and resources and accessible to most people. A great way to pass the time if you love reading! 


Much like housing, people have used shipping containers to build hotels. For example, the WineBox Valparaiso in Childe is made of containers! The structure is quirky, colorful, and bright with its graffiti and painted walls, to make it stand out strikingly in the area. The hotel boasts over 21 studio rooms, and it provides customers with a living room, sofa bed, a built-in kitchen, and even a private terrace that has a fantastic view of the bay. Other amenities of the hotel include a wine bar, wine shop, lounge areas, and BBQ facilities. So, if you are ever traveling in the region, you know exactly where to go to hang out! 

Growing spaces

With the advent of technology and AI, they have now been implemented in agriculture, especially in a few indoor farms. Indoor farms are sometimes considered the future of farming, as they can help increase global food production. With traditional farming being hit badly by COVID-19 and disruptions to the supply chain, indoor farming could become a viable solution. Shipping containers can be used to build these facilities, with a few experts calling them the “portable production facility of the future.” These containers can grow anything from strawberries to lettuce. This also means farmers do not need acres of land to grow a lot of crops, as everything can be stackable. It is not amazing how these simple metal boxes can be transformed and applied to all kinds of situations?