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Shipping Containers; 8 Weird and Wonderful Facts

July 19, 2018
  1. There are currently 17 million shipping containers in circulation around the world, five million of which are in active transit.

Whilst there may be in excess of 17 million shipping containers in active circulation sitting in docks or being transported on barges in the middle of the ocean or from one country to another, the total number of active shipping containers is only somewhere around 5 million.


  1. In total, it’s estimated that there are approximately 530 million shipping containers in the world.

This figure includes self-storage shipping containers, shipping container modifications, and of course, shipping containers that have been sitting at the back of a warehouse for the last 20 years.

  1. Approximately 82 percent of the world’s shipping containers are manufactured in China, due to low labour costs.

Until 1995, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and most of Europe were producing their shipping containers in Mainland China. Since 1996, CIMC is the largest manufacturer of ISO containers in the world, and by 2017 China produced 82% of the entire world supply of ISO shipping containers


  1. When properly maintained, a shipping container has an average life expectancy of 30 years.

However, the typical industry depreciation is around years by container leasing companies. They are often used after their depreciable/cargo life has expired (and in many cases, actually increase their profitability!)

  1. Shipping containers weren’t invented until the 1950s when Malcolm McLean invented the precursor to what is now the modern container.

He was a transport entrepreneur who developed the modern intermodal-shipping container, which revolutionized transport and international trade in the second half of the twentieth century. Containerization led to a significant reduction in the cost of freight transportation by eliminating the need for repeated handling of individual pieces of cargo, and also improved reliability, reduced cargo theft, and cut inventory costs by

  1. Approximately 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea every year the equivalent to one per hour.

Right now, as you read this, there are five or six million shipping containers on enormous cargo ships sailing across the world’s oceans. And about every hour, on average, one is falling overboard never to be seen again. It’s estimated that 10,000 of these large containers are lost at sea each year.

  1. Every shipping container has a unique ID number, similar to the number plate on a car. This means they can be tracked regardless of where they are in the world.

Ship container tracking is a necessity more than anything. With advancement in technology, now it has become possible for most companies to always know of the exact location of their ship and further notify their customers using this tracking ID which is unique to every single container.

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  1. In Australia, there are 31 modern houses built entirely out of decommissioned shipping containers.

The appeal of a shipping container-made house is that it’s the ideal compact, affordable, low maintenance, durable shell and enough open space for you to design your home how you like! We’re likely to see many more of these in the future as more containers are decommissioned for cargo/industrial use.

For more information on a shipping container that’s right for you, get in touch with the team at U-Move today!