Gauging the Condition of Used Shipping Containers

Converted shipping containers have become quite the phenomenon in recent years, providing a cost effective, low maintenance and practical way to repurpose them into businesses, outlet stores, clinics and even homes. Though as good as a solution as they are for these types of applications, there are some precautions that should be taken when choosing them, especially those that have been used. If they are not in the right condition, their protective power will be undermined, so much so that they can end up costing you a fortune to restore, or may even be rendered unusable altogether. So the next time you decide to use one for your unique project, here are some pointers you should adhere to when making sure they are in acceptable condition.

What is the Container’s History?

Containers, due to their primary function of storing goods during shipping, may have a more colourful history than you would expect. They could have, for instance, been used to transport hazardous materials, toxic waste, weapons, or any number of other dangerous substances, the particles of which have likely spilt in the container. These particles could pose a risk to anyone looking to repurpose the containers into homes or businesses, where the contaminants could infect unwitting people.

Furthermore, the more trips a container has completed, and the distance and frequency of them will have a major effect on the container’s overall integrity, so it is best to look for something with a relatively short history.

Where has the container travelled to in its duties. If it has been subjected to extreme climate changes, it will likely also suffer latent structural damage that you will only notice once it is too late.

Is there Any Rust Damage?

We are at a constant war with rust, and when you consider the materials used to make shipping containers, the worry should be even greater for anyone looking to repurpose them. Rust will undermine the integrity of the container, and in some cases could put holes right through it. A little rust might be excusable with some maintenance, however if the container is covered in the orange horror, you should leave it where it is.

What is The Condition Like?

When purchasing used shipping containers, you will have a choice between varying conditions.

If you buy it as it, you will need to take care to look carefully at the container for any signs of damage, as these ones have generally travelled and been used extensively.

If you buy it for single use, then the chances are that it has never, if rarely, been used before.

Be wary, however, of those containers that have been used for shipping dangerous goods, as there is likely still some presence of the substance seeped into the material of the container.

Contact Container Rentals & Sales for Details

Hopefully this will help you make an informed choice the next time you opt to buy a converted shipping container. If you have any more questions, or would like to know more about our offers on containers, contact a representative from Container Rentals & Sales for further details on our offers.


What A Shipping Container Needs to Be Turned into an Office

Shipping containers, besides their primary function of safe storage, have also been widely used, the world over to construct shops, homes, cafés and even offices over the past decade or so, with owners taking unique approaches to customising them as they see fit. But one does not simply take a container and set up an office inside of it, there are a number of features that your container will need to have if you have any hopes of creating a secure and productive office environment out of it. So it you have been thinking of a shipping container conversion project, here are some crucial renovation areas that you will need to pay close attention to.

Space and Layout

Containers offer limited space, but if it is used wisely, should be more than ample for an average sized office. A six-meter container generally provides enough space for all of this. Remember though that going any smaller will make it difficult to outfit the container as you need to, especially if you are planning on furnishing a luxury office out of it.

Weather Protection, Insulation and Security

Firstly, when setting up an office out of a container, you will want to make sure that the shell you use is air-tight, properly insulated and absolutely leak proof. You don’t want your precious office equipment or work being damaged by damp, do you? Additionally, you will also want at least two windows to be put in to allow for the flow of fresh air, and gutters to allow rainwater to drain properly from the container. Personal security will be important, so consider having security bars put in; and if maintaining a comfortable temperature is difficult, an air-conditioning unit can also be included.

Lights and Power

Every office needs power to conduct its activities, and so will your container. You will need lighting (with LED being the most preferable thanks to their energy efficient operation), power points to run your appliances such as computers and printers), as well as a functional circuit board to give you control over your power supply.

Consider Aesthetics.

You’ve given your container lights, water, fresh air and security, but something is missing. Perhaps it has something to do with that stark steel frame that makes up your office. Remember then that your container can be painted and treated both internally and externally, both for its own protection and to add to its style. You can even kit your container out with luxury finishes on the flooring, walls and ceiling, to give it a more personal and professional flair.

Contact Container Rental and Sales for Detail

If you would like to know more about how you can make use of a converted shipping container to set up your place of work in the exact way that you want to, contact a representative from Container Rental and Sales today, or visit our website for further details.

Unusual uses of shipping containers

Unusual uses of shipping containers

Since they’re versatile, durable and portable, shipping containers are progressively being used as low-cost alternatives to traditional building materials. Shipping containers serve quite a useful function, helping to transport goods safely across the world. However, when they reach the end of their time at sea, there are various ways a shipping container can be given a brand new lease of life and continue being useful for years to come. Here we consider a few of the more innovative or unusual uses of shipping containers, from swimming pools to shopping centres.

Swimming pools

Badeschiff, a German phrase which can be translates to “bathing ship” in English, is a public shipping container swimming pool located in Berlin. Submerged in the River Spree, Badeschiff lets locals to feel like they’re swimming in the river, without experiencing the potentially harmful effects of contact with the polluted water.

Shipping container swimming pools like this are also gradually becoming popular in private residences around the world. Once coated with anti-corrosive paint and lined with insulation foam and a pool liner, a container can function as a fully functional swimming pool.

Medical Facilities

Clinic-in-a-Can is an example of an internationally known company that converts shipping containers into medical clinics. Thus far, their re-purposed shipping container clinics have been used in Haiti, Sierra Leone, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

These inventive medical centres make healthcare more accessible to those in under-privileged and/or underdeveloped areas, sanction cheaper medical care in impoverished areas, and offer non-profit organisations with mobile emergency medical care facilities.


CropBox is just one of several companies that specialise in adapting shipping containers for use as greenhouses. A shipping container greenhouse isn’t only mobile; it’s also a great space saver. By stacking crops vertically, 2,043m2 of planting space can be created in one standard container. The containers can also be stacked up to 5 storeys high, keeping the ground space required for two hectares of lettuce, for example, to a mere 30m2.

Mobile Restaurants

Shipping containers have be re-purposed globally to function as restaurants and food kiosks. However, the Del Popolo pizzeria San Francisco, has been fitted on the back of a truck to make it permanently mobile. The restaurant, complete with a glass wall, which allows customers to watch the chef at work, is even fitted with a traditional wood-fired pizza oven.

Shopping Spaces

27 Boxes is a new South African retail space, located a short distance west of Johannesburg, in the trendy Melville shopping district. The mall consists of 27 used shipping containers, stacked three storeys high, and is modelled on similar projects in Paris, London and Christchurch.


Shipping containers are increasingly being used to house schools and classrooms. Vissershok Primary School, a local school in Dunoon, Cape Town, is one example. At the school, a re-purposed shipping container serves as a classroom for 25 Grade R pupils during the morning, and as a library for the entire school in the afternoon. The classroom, which was built in 2010, was sponsored by three South African companies, who sponsored the container classroom, as well as a pavilion area, jungle gym and vegetable garden outside.


Shipping container offices are popping up on every continent, and one example is the brightly-coloured Riverside Building, located at the London Docklands. Built in 2005 over a period of just eight days, the Riverside Building is the third shipping container block built at the waterfront. The 5-storey building is built from an remarkable 73 shipping containers and houses 24 offices, each of which has eco-friendly features such as natural ventilation, rainwater recycling and light-sensitive external lighting.

Residential Housing

Shipping container homes are becoming popular the world over. In Cape Town, for example, you can find container homes which bear resemblance to traditional housing. The housing options offered by the company include 6 metre-long bachelor pads and 12 metre-long and two-bedroom units.


Container Rentals & Sales are a South African container specialist company operating out of Cape Town. We offer a wide range of services to solve your storage needs. Container Rentals & Sales also specialises in office conversions to suit your needs. Furthermore, our conversions/modifications can take any form, from makeshift medical clinics to educational facilities to unique business applications. At Container Rentals & Sales, we can design and build almost anything you can dream up for countless applications.