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Everything You Need To Know About Hiring And Buying Shipping Containers

Are you looking for reliable shipping container information? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Tiger Containers has been selling and modifying shipping containers for the last three decades, which makes us somewhat an authority in the industry.


We will take you through a crash course on everything you need to know about shipping containers to help you out when making your purchase. As they say, knowledge is power; and we’ll share our 30 years’ worth with you.

Let’s start from the beginning: where do shipping containers come from?

The Beginning – where did shipping containers come from?

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Before 1956, goods used to be loaded onto ships and offloaded directly one piece at a time, which was very slow. One man, Malcom Maclean, noticed this problem and solved it by inventing the shipping container. A few improvements have been made since then to create the present day ISO container.

Read more >

At the moment, about 90% of global trade is carried by sea with shipping containers playing a major part. It’s estimated that at any one time there are about six million containers being transported around the world on ships, trucks, and train. Most of these originate from China – where most of the world’s goods (and the containers themselves) are manufactured.

Of these, only a small fraction will be transported back to their port of origin for re-use due to high relocation costs which leads to the “abandonment” of shipping containers in their places of delivery. This phenomenon has made shipping containers abundantly available at low costs virtually everywhere in the world.

What are the types of shipping containers?

There are several variations of the shipping container available, each is designed to suit a particular type of cargo. They include:

1.       General purpose container. This is the most common type of cargo container in the world. It’s used for transporting and storing dry cargo. A slightly taller variation of this is called a high-cube.
2.       Temperature controlled containers. These are either refrigerated, insulated or heated and are used to transport perishable goods. The reefer container is arguably the greatest modification of a shipping container to date
3.       Open-top containers. These resemble the general purpose container but have removable canvas tops or side walls. They are used for transporting oversized goods and goods that require ventilation respectively. Read more >
4.       Flat rack containers. These are flat racks with collapsible walls used for transporting out-of-gauge cargo.
5.     The side opening shipping container.  These share the same features with regular containers with the only difference being that they open on the side too. The side doors can cover the entire length of the shipping container or a smaller part depending on the intended use. 
6.  High cubes. High cube containers share most of their attributes with the regular general purpose shipping container i.e. width and lengths. The only aspect where they differ is the height. Read more >

What are the shipping container sizes (dimensions)?

Internationally, two common sea container sizes are popular: the 20ft container and the 40ft container. Tiger Containers stocks these sizes and can also provide custom-sized containers ranging anywhere between 5ft and 40ft.

Read more about:

The 40ft shipping Container
The 20ft shipping container
The 10ft shipping container

What are some common shipping container uses and modifications?

Because of the sea containers availability, affordability, durability and versatility; this modular structure is being used for numerous purposes outside of shipping. Here are some uses and popular modifications.

1. Storage

This is probably the oldest way of using shipping containers other than shipping. A container, with very few modifications, can be converted into a store for different kinds of goods. They can be used for on-site storage, to complement existing storage facilities or as a temporary storage solution.

In addition to selling shipping containers modified for secure storage, Tiger Containers also provides a secure facility with 24/7 camera surveillance where you can keep the container. Read more about onsite storage.

Side note: Preventing condensation in shipping containers

Although shipping containers are ideal for storing goods, damage can occur as a result of moisture build up and condensation. Take the following precautions to ensure your stored items remain moisture free:

  • Ensure the container is dry before you load it.
  • Use plastic pallets instead of timber ones as they contain zero moisture.
  • Use desiccants to absorb extra moisture.
  • Have dehumidifiers and air conditioning installed.
  • Install vents on the cargo container to allow air circulation.
Read more >

For perishable goods, Tiger Containers also supplies refrigerated cargo containers. This storage facility can be used as a large cool room for functions and large events and enables the user to adjust the temperature as desired.

Because cargo containers are easy to transport, they provide the ideal storage solution for migratory use where a lot of movement takes place.

2. Accommodation

Whether you want a complete home, a holiday home or an addition to your existing home, sea containers provide an affordable yet durable alternative. Tiger Containers will provide quality cargo containers for your project and make all the necessary modifications for a living space that meets your specific needs.

We’ll install everything you require for comfort such as air conditioning, windows, doorways, electricity wiring, flooring, plumbing and any other amenity you require. Cargo containers give you a way to build a comfortable custom house at an affordable price.

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Shipping Container accommodation foundations

Read about shipping container foundations

Costs to build a shipping container home

Read about the costs of building a shipping container home

3. Ablution units

Sea containers can be modified into safe, hygienic ablution blocks ideal for high volume use such as at large events, construction sites and sporting clubs where toilets and bathrooms are required urgently. Tiger has been providing these types of units for years and will conduct all modifications including plumbing.

See some great examples of shipping container toilets.

4. Kitchens

If you’re looking for a temporary kitchen for a company function or for temporary use as your home’s kitchen gets repaired, shipping containers provide a practical and hygienic solution. A full sized heavy or light duty kitchen can be fitted into a container with all the amenities you have come to expect from your traditional kitchen.

Some of the other modifications that we do for shipping containers include shipping container swimming pools, container offices, shipping container farms, dangerous goods containers and so much more. Read more.

Other uses of shipping containers:

Should I buy or hire a shipping container?

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Tips for choosing a shipping container

We know how difficult buying a shipping container can be, so here are a few tips to help you out. When buying a shipping container, always check to see that the container is:

1.       Wind-water-tight.
2.       Free of major dents that could affect its integrity.
3.       Rust free.
4.       Has no odour
5.       And has doors that close and open properly.

Check out for a complete guide on how to choose a shipping container.

Reasons to buy a shipping container:

1.       Long term use
2.       Customisation
3.       Recurring transportation use
4.       For construction
5.       When serious damage is expected
6.       Durability
7.       Flexibility
8.       Convenience
9.       It is a good investment
10.     Cost efficiency

Reasons to lease or hire a shipping container:

1.       Seasonal needs
2.       On-site storage
3.       Temporary storage
4.       Sporadic transport
5.       Easy disposal
6.       Avoiding maintenance
7.       Flexibility
8.       One-off use
9.       Testing before buying
10.     To supplement other assets

Read more: 

What are the shipping container accessories?


At Tiger Containers, we conduct all the necessary inspections for you to ensure that you get a high-quality container. We also provide a 3-month warranty to help you rest easy.

With more than 30 years in the Cargo container business, Tiger Containers has the experience to cater for all your container needs. Whether you need to rent, buy or modify a sea container, we will get you what you need, fast. Talk to us to get expert advice, we are happy to help.

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