Shipping Containers

Knowing the economics behind shipping containers sounds quite tedious. However, the economics are pretty interesting given that shipping containers are one of the most significant drivers of the global economy.

Although the shipping container industry has a long way to go before they are less detrimental to the environment, shipping containers can have enormous environmental benefits and, not to mention, economic benefits too.

The Global Economy’s Reliability on Shipping Containers

Trade is not a recent advancement. Since the ancient world, it has been around to transport goods and grains using boxes, jars, sacks and containers of various sizes, but trade wasn’t as easy as it is today.

The time of labouring the goods on and off a ship was often longer than at sea, and perishable items were almost impossible to transport due to the long journeys.

However, this would all change in 1956 when American entrepreneur Malcolm McLean revolutionised the shipping and trade industry with the invention of the shipping container.

The shipping container was a global success; it finally utilised space, enormously cut labour (so much so that goods can now be transported anywhere within three weeks) and allowed for the global trade of perishables.

It is estimated that 90% of today’s goods are transported by sea, with 60% packed and transported in steel shipping containers.

These containers have also led to bigger ships being built to accommodate more containers so companies can continue increasing their profit.

Therefore, without McLean’s standardised shipping container, the global supply chain we all know and love today would simply not exist.

The Affordability of Repurposing Shipping Containers

With climate change being one of the largest and most urgent issues facing humanity today, everyone wants to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible.

Maybe you have heard of the trend ‘upcycling’, where you take an old item and give it a new, trendier look. Or perhaps you’ve heard of ‘repurposing’ where you - as it says in the name - give a product another purpose.

Shipping containers are no exception to these often economically beneficial and environmentally friendly trends.

Housing and pools

Repurposing shipping containers into houses made its debut in the 2000s, with architects designing homes in various simple and complex ways.

Shipping containers have a simple layout and can fit in almost any place and structural design, making them perfect for repurposing into a house, office, restaurant or cafe.

However, building a repurposed shipping container home isn’t always affordable, but it most definitely can be with the right knowledge.

Before building one, you must be aware of the two setbacks to a shipping container: its lack of space and difficulty insulating.

Firstly, they are quite narrow, with an average internal width of seven feet. This means building walls to connect two containers and installing windows and doors to open the space will be an added cost you need to consider.

Secondly, insulation is hard with the container’s steel walls. Traditional wooden walls with studs have a cavity made to accommodate the installation of insulation, making the process much easier than a shipping container with no existing cavity. Insulating the container will be another added cost you must consider before building your repurposed home.

Despite these slight setbacks, many variables influence project costs, such as location, size, design and interior finishes.

The one aspect that makes a repurposed shipping container home most affordable is that it can often be built on land that might not be suitable for typical construction without a lot of site work. For example, if a plot of land is rocky or steep, shipping container houses can be elevated on sturdy pilings instead of paying for costly excavation.

Perhaps building a repurposed home isn’t a viable option, but a swimming pool is.

Shipping containers can also be repurposed as swimming pools, being economically beneficial for the same reason as above; they can be installed in locations normal pool construction isn’t necessarily possible.

Housing and pools

Shipping container pools are also cheaper to outfit than regular pools. They can be placed in a backyard rather than dug in (although in-ground installations are common).

Best part? If you see yourself relocating, depending on the design of your pool, you can take it with you!


Just like with a repurposed house and pool, the attraction for a farm is how easily transportable shipping containers are and their ability to fit into any existing space.

Definitively speaking, a repurposed shipping container farm is typically a vertical farming system built inside the container with minimal modifications.

The entire environment is suitable to be completely controlled, including light, carbon dioxide and humidity. The container is fitted to be fully automated, insulated and hydroponic with LED lights.

This means crops can grow and be produced all year round and has the potential to satisfy all the needs of today’s consumer: competitive prices, locally grown, is healthy and fresh, available at big supermarkets and year-round availability.

Unlike greenhouse farming, though, vertical farming is a new and emerging farming method, meaning at the moment, it is still quite expensive to start and maintain.

However, with the continuation of technological advancement in farming, this expense will drop over time, making it economically beneficial in the long term perspective.



There you have it, the economics behind something as simple as shipping containers doesn’t have to be tedious.

Shipping containers continue to be a global economic driver through their purpose of revolutionising the shipping and trade industry and being a driver in fighting climate change by their ability to be repurposed into houses, offices, pools and farms.

If you’re interested in learning more about the shipping container industry, contact us at Tiger Containers. We specialise in selling and hiring out shipping containers for all purposes. Visit our website to see our range today.