3 Factors That Affect the Structural Integrity of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers can withstand a whole lot of abuse. They get put through their paces facing long journeys, inclement weather, bangs and dings, constant loading and unloading and the pressure of being stacked one on top of the other. Although they are extremely durable, there are three factors that can negatively affect their structural integrity. Here we look at the three biggest threats to shipping container rentals to help ensure you find a container that is safe and structurally sound.

1. Constant Travel at Sea

You want to understand a little about a used shipping container’s past. This is important because if the shipping container travelled at sea often, it undergoes more wear and tear than its land-locked counterparts. Whether you are using your rental shipping container as is, or plan to apply modifications, sea travel can make a significant difference in the container’s integrity.

First, salt is highly corrosive. Ocean travel exposes containers to corrosive saltwater over time which negatively impacts the structure. Rust can set in, and although the steel used for the container is pretty tough, once rust becomes uncontrolled it causes serious structural damage. Although rust might not be too bad for temporary storage (as long as there is no sign of leaks) if you want to make modifications to the container, the damage could make the container structurally unsound and therefore unsafe.

Also, the constant loading and unloading the container endures is far more damaging than the dents and dings of everyday use for a land-locked container, which adds to the risk.

2. Repeated Modifications

Shipping container modifications are very common today. The structure of shipping containers makes them ideal for many uses from insulated, mobile storage units to completely modified offices and from swimming pools to homes. The structural integrity of the average used shipping container can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear.

However, if the shipping container rental calgary has undergone repeated and varied modifications, it can negatively impact the structure. The most common types of damage by modifications include:

  • Corner Castings: The corner castings of a shipping container carry the brunt of the weight. If the corner castings are cut or damaged during modifications, the entire structural integrity of the container is compromised. Although engineers and architects understand structures, these professionals don’t perform all modifications. When making modifications, the design must consider the role of the corner casters to avoid damage to the container’s strength.
  • Container Walls: For many shipping container modifications, the walls are cut to make way for windows and doors. However, as with the corners, when the cuts don’t consider structural strength, it can weaken the walls. While installing windows and doors can help replace strength to the walls, it has to be done properly to ensure the walls remain safe. Large cuts can lead to sagging roofs as well as unsound floors. This can warp the shape of the container and make it unfit for use.

Understanding shipping container modifications applied to the container can provide valuable information on the condition and strength of the container.

3. Improper Stacking

Last but not least, shipping containers are designed to be stacked. However, when not stacked properly, the weight and balance can increase the risk of accidents. Units must be maneuvered into position using a crane or an industrial forklift and fastened together so the stack becomes a single unit. If you are investing in shipping container modifications that involve stacking, be sure the structure is supported and safely locked to maintain structural integrity.

When you keep these three factors in mind, you can ensure you find a shipping container with its integrity intact.