Storage and transport are not the only purposes of shipping containers. Shipping containers can be modified into housing, office sites, sheds and more.

Shipping containers have been around for a while now – since 1955 to be precise. During the better part of their existence, they have mostly been used for a single purpose; transporting cargo across vast oceans.

The features that have made them so popular in shipping are their robust construction, durability, affordability and high security. This has enabled shippers to transport goods safely and securely over long, rough journeys. Over the past few decades, shipping containers have been increasingly venturing out of their comfort zone and getting new and creative uses outside of shipping.

The same features that made them powerhouses in shipping –robustness, durability, affordability, and security –are making them very attractive construction materials. Shipping containers are now being converted into a number of structures for all manner of purposes.

The use of shipping containers for construction has also been boosted by the increasing environmental awareness by the worldwide population. People are increasingly turning to more sustainable lifestyles with recycling and upcycling taking the centre stage in this movement. This has seen the number of container conversions increase significantly.

In this post we’ll take a look at some of the really cool and popular ways shipping containers are being used today.

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Need to put together a living space in a short time with a small budget? Look no further.

shipping container modifications

Speed and budget is what shipping containers do best. A 20ft shipping container (with just a few modifications) can be converted into a comfortable and secure living space to cater for temporary housing needs such as on-site accommodation.

A single container can fit a small living area, a bed and a small kitchenette for self-prepared meals.

Because these kinds of units are made from one modular block, transporting them to a different area once the job is complete is easy. Just load it onto a truck and transport it to the next location. Simple.

In Germany, where they are facing a refugee issue after the escalation of the Syrian crisis, authorities in one city have come up with an ingenious plan to provide decent accommodation to refugees before their asylum applications are processed. Housing units made of shipping containers stacked two high have been put up and are providing relatively comfortable accommodation for more than 200 people.

shipping container modifications

This example shows just how easy and practical it is to construct quick accommodation using cargo containers as the building material. They are readily available (virtually anywhere in the world) and once they have been retired from shipping, they can be acquired quite cheaply too. This makes them perfect for this kind of use.

Benefits of using shipping containers for quick accommodation

  1. It’s cheap - You wouldn’t want to spend too much money constructing a house to be used for just a short time. Sea containers provide a cheap alternative with comparable durability relative to other “quick” construction materials.
  2. Fast to assemble - There are only two major tasks involved in constructing a simple house using containers: Getting it to the location and insulation. And if the area of use has a moderate climate, insulation might not be necessary. Just ventilation. Nothing a blow torch can’t do.
  3. Reuse value - After you are through using the accommodation, the container can be stripped and used for another purpose.

benefits of using shipping containers for quick accommodation

(Images sources:  http://www.jetsongreen.com/2010/11/off-grid-container-cabins-from-15k.html)

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Everyone dreams of owning a home at some point in their life. The high cost of constructing a home, however, makes this dream very difficult to attain for the average person. shipping container homes

Cargo containers provide an affordable material for constructing a home at a fraction of the cost of a “traditional” home. In an article ran in the Daily Telegraph a while back, it was estimated that the cost of constructing a shipping container home standard container modification to create a kitchen, could be as low as a fourth the construction cost of a regular home.

(Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/realestate/cheap-as-ships-homes-built-from-shipping-containers-make-waves-with-cost-conscious-buyers/news-story/b4410943f554fa64f49dae1e6e19b952)

For home construction, more than one shipping container will be required to make a comfortable living space. Two is ideal. Preferably the two should be joined together to create one seamless house from the inside. And because this house will be used for quite a while, insulation and a good foundation is a must. shipping container houses

Shipping container homes might also require a few more permits depending on zoning laws in your location, so make sure to check with your local authorities before you purchase the shipping containers. If your budget is not too constrained, you could bring in an architect to help with the design for a modern masterpiece.

A good example of a professionally designed shipping container home is this Graceville house built by Australia’s own; Ziegler build. It is the largest shipping container home in Australia with a total floor space of 560m2 and a total of 31 containers.

(Source: http://www.zieglerbuild.com.au/#!jaora/c1ajn)

Benefits of using shipping containers for home construction

  1. It’s cost-effective - It’s far cheaper to construct a house using shipping containers than other materials. You could even do it by yourself if you have the technical know-how, which will save you even more money.
  2. It’s good for the environment - Building a home using this material makes use of an item that would have otherwise become waste. By upcycling this item, the environmental footprint of constructing a house is significantly reduced.
  3. It’s quick to construct - It takes an average of about 8 months to build a house using regular building materials. This time can be reduced to a few weeks when shipping containers are used – especially where all the modifications are done off-site.

benefits of using shipping containers for home construction

Image sources:


container summer residence great for nature lovers



If you need a commercial or light-duty kitchen, either for on-grid or off-grid use, shipping containers provide a way for you to do it quick, easy and in a cost-efficient way. benefits of using shipping containers for home construction

As with any other kitchen, cleanliness is of the utmost importance when it comes to this kind of kitchen. A standard container modification to create a kitchen usually involves lining the interior with stainless steel, installing the necessary plumbing for sinks and taps, and installing vents to take out all the hot air and steam.

Depending on your needs, you could either use a single container (20ft or 40ft) or have two or more welded together to create a larger space. Shipping containers make for excellent takeout eateries and on-site kitchens, because they are non-permanent structures that can easily be installed or removed.

Advantages of shipping container kitchens

  1. Mobility - Because shipping containers are made of a single modular structure, moving them around is very easy. Plus you can trust the shipping container to keep everything inside safe during transportation – because it’s what they do best.
  2. Inexpensive - Buying a shipping container for this use is cheaper than building a kitchen or renting a space for your kitchen.

advantages of shipping container kitchens


For cargo container on-site offices, not a lot of modifications are required to make the transformation. If the place of use has extreme weather conditions, insulation might be necessary, but otherwise installing windows and vents will be enough to moderate temperatures.

benefits of modifying containers to site offices

The robust construction of shipping containers and ability to keep the elements at bay make them perfect for this use. Containers are secure enough to protect the important items usually kept in an office.

Benefits of modifying containers to site offices

  1. It’s easy to construct - It takes very little time to put together this kind of office. The modifications can be done off-site to reduce time.
  2. It’s easy to move - On-site work ends after the project ends and the temporary structures set up need to be moved. Shipping containers are easy to transport.
  3. It’s inexpensive - Since the office will only be used for a short while, constructing an elaborate structure would not make economic sense.

site office shipping container

site office shipping container

Image sources:



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Toilets are one of the most important facilities of modern living. Without them, maintaining hygiene would be an impossible task. Where there are people, lavatory facilities are a must have.

Although shipping container toilets can be installed anywhere, their best use is as portable toilets. Their large size enables the creation of a complete ablution block with all washroom amenities under one roof.

advantages of shipping container toilets

They are ideal for out of town events, on-site use and for large gatherings where the existing washrooms are inadequate for the increased number of people.

Container washrooms are a bit difficult to make for DIY due to the complexity of systems and the time it would take.

This kind of washroom resembles regular washrooms, with all the amenities you have come to expect.

Advantages of using shipping containers for ablution blocks

  1. A lot of available space - Shipping containers provide enough space for the installation of a complete ablution block for improved convenience.
  2. Portability - Moving the complete unit from one location to another is relatively easy.
  3. Durability - Shipping containers are made to withstand the harsh sea environment, which means that it will last for a long time on land where conditions are less severe.

portable shipping container toilets

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Starting a new business requires a lot of capital. Most of this money goes towards securing a space to set it up in. By using cargo containers to construct your café, start-up costs can be reduced significantly. In addition to the cost benefits, shipping containers have a modern industrial chic look which is becoming quite popular in Australia.

Modifications for this kind of set-up include installation of sinks, counters and the plumbing that goes into a café. A sitting area can also be incorporated if space is available, or even make it al fresco.

Benefits of converting shipping container into cafes

  1. They are easy to move around - Because they are easy to transport, this kind of cafe would do well at events such as concerts, rallies, and out-of-town events. You can easily move it from one location to another.
  2. Easy to start-up - This is because of the reduced initial capital of starting the business and the few modifications required to convert a shipping container into a café.

shipping container cafes

shipping container cafes

shipping container cafes

shipping container cafes

Image sources:


Simon’s Shipping Container Cafe


Whether you need an extra room for one of your kids, a guest house or a place to rent out for some extra income, granny flats offer one of the easiest ways of adding an extra room to your house. And when you use a sea container to construct it, it becomes even easier.

shipping container granny flat

Container modifications for granny flats are pretty similar to those of a container house; insulation is important and a firm foundation has to be laid as this structure is meant to last a long while. If you’re handy, a cargo container granny flat is something you can install by yourself and make the necessary modifications. You can also choose to have it done by a professional, which will not add too much to the cost.

advantages of shipping container granny flat

Advantages of shipping container granny flats

  1. Quick to construct - Constructing a granny flat from a sea container is pretty easy and does not take as much time as it would if you used other materials.
  2. It’s cheap - The use of the shipping container keeps the cost of construction low and affordable.


When your garage is becoming too small for your stuff or you need some extra room for your projects, construct a shed. A shed is an outdoor space that can be used for anything you want.

shipping container garden shed

It can be a home office, workshop, store, or even your man cave. Constructing a shed from a shipping container is pretty easy, something you can do by yourself.

Since sheds are not meant to be lived in, not a lot of modifications are required. Install a door, some windows, a few shelves and you’re good to go.

Benefits of a cargo container shed

  1. It’s very easy to construct - Making a shed from a container is relatively easy and can be taken on as a DIY project.
  2. It’s quick to make - In just a few days your shed will be ready for use.
  3. It’s durable - Thanks to the ruggedness of the shipping container, your shed will have a very long lifespan.

advantages of cargo container shed

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Need a shipping container for your project? Well, look no further.

At Tiger Containers we provide high quality new and used shipping containers at unbeatable prices. What’s more is we have the equipment, expertise and experience to make any modifications you require to suit your needs!

Give us a call today. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any queries you have >

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