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We thought we’d compile some interesting stats on shipping containers for you.

Currently, there are about 17 million shipping containers worldwide with five or six million of them being shipped around the world on ships, trains and trucks. The amount of trips combined is about 200 million per year.

About 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea on average every year. Of the millions of containers that are shipped, some will fall overboard and sink to the ocean floor, never to be seen again. Some of those containers become a habitat for ocean life, and while some are eventually recovered, most are not. (Source: http://www.billiebox.co.uk/facts-about-shipping-containers)

Freight ships sometimes lose shipping containers in bad weather at sea. The Svendborg Maersk lost 520 containers off northern France after enduring 30 foot waves and 60 knot winds. This is one of the biggest recorded losses of containers ever recorded. Apparently 85% of the lost containers were empty and some contained dry goods like frozen meat, but none contained dangerous goods. (Source: http://singularityhub.com/2011/04/05/10000-shipping-containers-lost-at-sea-each-year-heres-a-look-at-one-2)

When shipping containers are lost at sea they float for a short time and then sink. Some 20 foot refrigerated containers can float for up to two months because their insulation makes them buoyant. A 40 foot container can float three times as long as that. Floating containers can pose a danger to the environment and can cause pollution. In 1992 a container off the coast of Alaska broke apparent and released 29,000 plastic frogs and ducks that have been washing up on the shores of Japan and Scotland ever since. A shipping container insurer states that about 2,000 containers are lost at sea each year, but some industry sources say that number could be as high as 10,000. That number represents less than 1% of containers that are shipped across the oceans of the world. (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/21/world/container-ship-loses-containers)

Every shipping container that is used commercially has a serial number which is comprised of a 4 letter prefix which usually ends with a U and seven numbers – [XXX-U-123456-1]. The first three letters are the name of the container’s owner, the letter “U” signifies a freight container, the next six digits are a serial number and then there is a check digit. (Source: http://www.billiebox.co.uk/facts-about-shipping-containers)

Container port traffic is measured in TEUs which are “20 foot equivalent units). By June 2013, the total TEUs in the Port of Sydney were 172,600. (Source: http://www.sydneyports.com.au/trade_services/)

The contents of a three bedroom home can fit into a 20 foot container. (Source: http://www.johnmason.com/moving-services/international-shipping-services/toaustralia/)

90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea. Shipping containers are part of an efficient system that transports goods around the world in a format that allows the containers to be lifted over the side of a ship and placed onto large decks designed to hold thousands of containers all in one single area. (Source: http://www.imo.org/KnowledgeCentre/ShipsAndShippingFactsAndFigures/TheRoleandImportanceofInternationalShipping/Documents/International%20Shipping%20-%20Facts%20and%20Figures.pdf)

Used shipping containers are utilised for many purposes including storage on site, construction site offices, cottages on recreational properties and homes. For those who want to build homes with containers, doors and windows can be pre-cut in the existing container so that the completed container can just be dropped into place by crane. It can take several containers placed together to create a single home, but the overall cost is much cheaper than the creation of a house built using traditional building materials. Several containers can be placed next to one another or stacked to create a home as large or as small as the home owner desires.(Source: www.tigercontainers.com )

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