Prefabrication homes and modular homes have been a popular trend for many decades now, with cost-effective manufacturing being one of the drawcards for home buyers. While there have always been a variety of processes involved in the manufacture of these homes, one trend that’s on the rise in recent times is the use of shipping containers in their manufacture. This article will focus on the humble shipping container and its role in the building of modern-day modular and prefab homes.

What Are Modular and Prefabricated Homes?

Essentially, these structures are comprised of prefabricated sections called modules. Many of these sections are the same, which also lends itself to making the manufacturing process cheaper. All the main components of the home are created in a factory environment, then shipped to the site to be installed. In very quick time, a complete house is formed with very little on-site construction work required.

Modular constructions are used for both temporary and permanent housing and have also been used to rapidly construct shelters following natural disasters.

Other uses for the modular type of building is to form on-site offices, home office space, medical facilities, churches, workshops, retail space and even fast-food restaurants.

Because modular structures can be portable, they are a popular choice for event organisers and mobile vendors, as they can be deconstructed and erected at a different location.

Overall cost, speed of construction, portability and flexibility are just a few of the major advantages to modular homes and buildings.


Enter the Shipping Container In the Modular Home Industry

Over the past few decades, more and more people have been coming to the realisation that the humble shipping container has a lot more to offer than simply being a secure means of transportation or storage. While they are still primarily used for these two key purposes, cargo containers are the perfect building material for so many other uses and applications.

Let’s quickly list just a few of the ways shipping containers have been modified and used for other purposes:

If you can build it, then you can probably make it out of shipping containers.

Uses of modified shipping containers

One of the most popular uses of the shipping container has been for home construction. This includes the modular variety as well as using complete (but modified) cargo containers to form the basis for the house.

Shipping containers are cheap to buy, even when they are brand new, so when you use them as the dominant material in the home’s structure, you stand to save a bundle of cash.

When you think about it, a shipping container is a large rectangular box made of solid steel. The construction in its natural state is robust, sturdy and very secure. The bulk of the structure is already in place. All it needs is some designing and modifications to transform one or more shipping containers into a fully-functioning home.

The most common size of the shipping container is the 20-foot model, but there is also the mammoth 40-foot container, which can be a fantastic choice for house construction due to the space it provides. In fact, you can make a decent-sized home using 2 forty-foot cargo containers; either side by side, mounted on top of each other or positioned in an L shape.

Modular home from shipping containers

The Advantages of Using Shipping Containers for Home Construction

We’ve already mentioned the fact that building a house primarily from shipping containers will save the home buyer a ton of cash. But what other advantages are there?

Just like with modular home construction, the bulk of the work takes place in a factory before the pieces of the home are delivered to the site and put together to complete the house. This leads to rapid modifications and construction, as well as limiting the amount of time tradies are actually travelling to and working on-site.

Not only does your new home come together quickly and cheaply, but the processes are also more environmentally-friendly, which is always a positive thing. On top of that, if you choose to build your house from quality used shipping containers, in essence, you are recycling these hulks of steel and preventing them from ending up on some scrap heap, where they’ll merely rust away.

Another thing to consider is shipping containers are extremely resistant to fire and they create a very strong foundation to resist even the worst storms the Australian climate can throw at them. Compare that to materials like timber and plasterboard and the shipping container comes out the clear winner.

If you want to build a more simplistic modular home from shipping containers, one that can be deconstructed or easily transported, then instead of having the parts of the structure prefabricated in a factory using more traditional methods, the parts can be built from components of shipping containers instead.

Some of the most stunning looking homes in the country are built primarily using new or used shipping containers. Just do a search online and you’ll see some incredible examples to demonstrate what’s possible. All it takes is a little imagination, some planning and consultation with industry experts and you could soon be living in a fantastic shipping container home at a fraction of the cost of traditional construction methods.

Talk To Tiger Containers

Tiger Containers is your premier supplier of both new and used shipping containers in Australia. With more than 3 decades of experience and depots conveniently located all across the country, our Australian owned and operated business is here to help you with everything you need when it comes to shipping containers.

We also offer shipping container conversion services, so if you’re thinking about building a shipping container home, we’re the people to talk to. Our experts can help you come up with a practical design according to your requirements and turn your new home into a reality.

The best way is to get in touch today and discuss your vision with our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the need to import and export products and goods, and one of the main ways goods are transported globally is inside shipping containers aboard container ships. So what are the emerging trends in the shipping container industry, and what does the future hold for shipping containers?

Jump To:
Sustainability & Environmental Concerns Will Be A Focus
Technology & Tracking Will Play A Major Role
Port Utilisation Will Need To Diversify
Consolidation & Mergers
Shipping Containers Are Far More Than Just Transport Vessels
The Takeaway



Containerisation means adapting products and packaging to suit transportation within a shipping container. Manufacturers across the globe are focusing more and more on containerisation. Instead of simply manufacturing products and loading them onto pallets, manufacturers are taking into consideration the internal dimensions of a shipping container and adapting their methods to fit those dimensions.

This leads to more efficient use of available container space, as well as better protection for the goods being transported.

In a more broad sense, containerisation can simply mean using shipping containers to transport goods from one port to another, as well as ships being purpose built to safely carry shipping containers.

Sustainability & Environmental Concerns Will Be A Focus

With more of a focus on the impact the ships themselves have on the environment, more and more regulations are being introduced to reduce any environmental impact container ships have on the oceans they travel, and the ports where they dock.

As the entire world focuses on climate and the environment, logistics chains prefer to work with shipping companies that are striving to do their part to help save the planet, so the onus is on these shipping giants to bring their methods of transportation into line with changing regulations, as well as the general perception of what’s expected.

From logistics to shipping, the industry is investing in new technologies designed to reduce the environmental impact right across the board.

Technology & Tracking Will Play A Major Role

future of shipping containers

“Smart Containers” is a phrase being bandied about in shipping container circles of late, and the smart container is an advancing trend that will only continue to spiral upwards as technology advances to even greater heights.

Smart containers are primarily about advanced container tracking and increased security for the goods contained inside.

Better tracking means faster and more efficient movement of the shipping container from one place to another. It can also expedite a container’s clearance through customs. A speedier process is not only far more efficient, but also infinitely more profitable.

There is a lot to keep track of when it comes to transporting even just one container, with a possible 28 data points along its travels. Worldwide logistics can be very complicated, so more and more containers are being fitted with tracking devices that are much like a GPS. These devices can constantly monitor things like:

Fitting this new and innovative technology to a container is as simple as attaching it to the shipping container’s doors. There is no need for container modifications.

Port Utilisation Will Need To Diversify

With the growth of the container industry, ships are becoming bigger and bigger and ports are becoming far more congested. There will be a need to spread out the workload, with some container ships docking at other nearby ports, rather than all converging on the main port.

This will likely mean that smaller ports will need to be modified in order to accommodate larger vessels and an increase in shipping container activity on the docks. Without port diversification, major ports will just become even more congested to the point where the shipment of cargo containers will be slower rather than faster, as new technology intends.

A positive that is emerging from this trend is that there is less incidence of vessel scrapping, as more and more vessels are required to keep up with transport demands.

Consolidation & Mergers

In recent years, mergers and alliances between carriers has been on the rise, consolidating the shipping container industry, which leads to concerns about these giant corporations forming monopolies, and therefore being able to dictate terms when it comes to prices, timeframes and logistics in general.

As of the start of 2018, it was reported that the top 15 shipping container carriers accounted for more than 70% of the market share. By mid 2018, the figure had evolved to 70% being dominated by the top 10 carriers.

This figure will increase as more and more mergers and alliances form in coming years.

The outcome could result in higher transportation costs, lower quality of service and slower shipping times.

Shipping Containers Are Far More Than Just Transport Vessels

One of the biggest growing trends globally pertains to the shipping containers themselves. No longer is a shipping container only used for transporting or storing goods. These days containers have launched a new building and modification trend that sees shipping container being repurposed for all sorts of new and innovative ideas.

Because they are constructed from solid and very sturdy steel, and much of the build is already in place, it’s actually quite easy to refashion a shipping container into things like:

10 USES for a shipping containerShipping containers – whether brand new or used – are cheap to buy and fairly inexpensive to modify. This makes them a very cost effective building material.

Much of the modifications can be done by your local container supplier off-site, then the finished product delivered to wherever you need it to be.

Recycling used shipping containers for new purposes also prevents them from ending up as useless hulks of metal in landfill.

The Takeaway

There are definitely some positive and negative trends in the shipping container industry’s future, but overall the future of shipping containers looks more positive than anything. Containers are definitely one of the preferred building materials of the present, and that’s a trend that looks certain to rise in years to come.