Shipping Container Maintenance

If you rent or own shipping containers, you know they are a valuable asset that enables your business to run smoothly. Maintaining shipping containers is essential- a small amount of prevention and monitoring can help you avoid costly issues. Here’s our guide to shipping container maintenance!

Look Out for Rust and Holes

Shipping containers go through a lot when they travel. They are exposed to different temperatures, weather conditions, and more. It’s only natural that they wear over time. Make sure you regularly assess your containers to keep an eye on their condition. Be on the lookout for signs of trouble like rust, holes, pests, and other kinds of deterioration. Shipping containers are made of steel and wood, and these issues can spell trouble.

If you do see any rust, you can use a rust remover to address it. If there are any holes that have worn through, you may be able to simply seal them with an industrial sealant. When a hole is big enough, though, you may need to weld over it with more steel to shore up the integrity of the container. Be on the lookout for pests as well- you may need to treat your containers for extermination. There are several international organizations providing guidelines here that can be helpful.

Cleaning is Key for Shipping Container Maintenance

Along with these issues, you should regularly check your containers for cleanliness. How strict you need to be with this really depends on what you store or ship in your containers. If you have containers hauling food, medical supplies, or other sensitive goods, you’ll need to be extra careful. Additionally, if you have been hauling any hazardous chemicals or materials, be very cautious and follow proper procedures to clean those containers.

In general, there are a few cleaning steps you can take. First, it’s always good to sweep out your containers whenever you have an opportunity between usages. You’ll get at a lot of the dirt, dust, and other debris that can build up. Plus, it’ll help you out with identifying any areas for repair (like we talked about already).

You can then use water to wash out the interiors of containers. You can either use a hose, a power washer, or some other method. Start with the roof first, and then work your way down. Washing containers with water will get at some of the gunk and grime that a simple sweep won’t account for. You can also look into some cleaning solvents that are safe to use with steel. Again, take into consideration what you have been hauling. Some hazardous materials can leave waste that will react with water or other chemicals, so you may need to pursue another cleaning method.

Drying and Other Final Steps

If you have used water and/or other chemicals to clean out your containers, make sure you let them dry out afterwards. This is a key way to prevent rust formation. Once dry, your containers are ready for further maintenance and repairs. You can repaint, weld, and further fit your containers as needed from here.

Moon Trailer Leasing offers mobile offices to companies and organizations across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. We have offices of all sizes for rent and sale. Call 502-200-2315 for a fast and free quote.

How Railcars are Designed to Haul Shipping Containers

Rail freight transport is a huge industry. Railways help businesses haul cargo of all types, from cars to raw materials and steel frames. There are several types of rail car, each designed for a particular purpose. Some of these specifically haul containers. Let’s take a look at some of the main railcars for containers.

Overview of Rail Transport

For context, here’s a quick summary of rail freight transport. Any use of railroads for commercial cargo purposes (not transportation) is rail freight transport. Locomotives haul a series of linked freight cars along railway infrastructure as part of the supply chain. They may move goods partially or fully between shippers and destinations. There are numerous freight car types for different goods and materials. Some of these are specifically focused on containers, like Moon’s storage containers. Containerization has become an integral part of rail freight transport, just like with all other aspects of the global supply chain today. Below, we will review two of the most common car types used for containers.

Conventional Intermodal Railcars

One of the common railcar types used for shipping containers is the conventional intermodal railcar. These are articulated (meaning they share wheels between cars) flat railcars that are great for trailers and containers. They haul shipping containers that can’t stack, usually due to route height restrictions. The articulated feature helps these railcars reduce slack between cars. Slack action is basically how much movement one car has before its motion affects an adjoined car. By reducing slack, the ride quality is better and makes for a less bumpy trip for fragile cargo. Sizing on these railcars can vary, from around 50 feet to over 80 feet in length.

Double Stack Intermodal Railcars: Maximum Efficiency for Containers

Double stack intermodal railcars are similar to conventional intermodal railcars in a few ways. They are also articulated to help improve ride quality for fragile cargo, and are flat. However, these railcars have the ability to haul stacked shipping containers. They can carry a second shipping container on top of the first. This maximizes efficiency and allows for a greater amount of cargo transportation. They also utilize wells often times. Wells reduce the height of stacked containers and lower the center of gravity. This both avoids problems with height restrictions along routes and creates more stability. Wells also improve security for containers. The walls created by the well surround the bottom container and make it impossible to open the container door while it is on the railcar.

There is a high degree of size customization on these railcars, due to their specialization for shipping container transportation. As such, sizes vary from 40 feet to 50 feet and more for containers of all sizes, from 20 foot to 40 and 50 foot containers and larger.

Moon Trailer Leasing offers mobile offices to companies and organizations across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. We have offices of all sizes for rent and sale. Call 502-200-2315 for a fast and free quote.

Shipping Containers: A Brief History

Shipping containers. They’re a ubiquitous part of our global economy. Most global consumer goods you own have a good chance of having been in a container at some point. Today’s supply chain, built around the shipping container, allows for an efficient distribution of goods worldwide. It hasn’t always been this way, though. In fact, the shipping container as we know it is only around 64 years old. Let’s take a look at the history of the shipping container.

1956: Malcolm McLean and the First Shipping Containers

1956 is an important year for the modern shipping container. This is when Malcolm McLean, owner of a large trucking company, launched the first voyage of a modern container. For decades, McLean had seen the inefficiency of transporting goods in non-standardized wooden crates during the operation of his company. He eventually purchased Pan Atlantic Tanker Company, a company with significant shipping assets, and experimented with ideas for standard shipping box designs. He eventually settled on the idea of a one-sized metal box. This design was sturdy, could be stacked, was easily transferred to trucks and trains for ground shipping, and was secure. In 1956, the ship Ideal X launched, becoming the first container ship to be used with modern containers.

Over the next several years, McLean worked to refine the shipping container design. Containers became fitted to interlock when stacking. He also implemented cranes at dock sites to speed up loading efficiency and safety. These innovations and others helped drive the popular use of container ships as viable methods of shipping.

1968: Modern Container Ships

1968 marks another important point in time for shipping containers. This is the year that the ISO imposed international standards for container dimensions and requirements. With this step, modern containers as we know them became widespread. This standard is relatively similar to standards for today, and is a key reason for mass shipping as we know it. With international standards in place, companies could maximize efficiency in the supply chain. As a result, the cargo shipping industry boomed through the 1970s and 1980s. This boom impacted other transportation modes in the chain too- trucks, trains and planes that carried goods after shipping by sea were transformed to maximize efficiency as well. With standards across multiple modes of transport, containers truly became the key to global shipping that they are today. By the end of the 20th century, shipping containers accounted for around 90% of all cargo globally.

Today and What’s Next

The start of the 21st century has seen continued technological innovations. Today, remote tracking systems are a core aspect of international shipping. Refrigerated shipping has become crucial for distributing fruit and vegetables around the globe, keeping goods cold for weeks at a time. Looking to the future, there are innovative ideas to utilize crewless container ships, blockchain technology, and further automatization to continue improving the industry.

Moon Trailer Leasing offers shipping containers to companies and organizations across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. We have containers both for rent and sale. Call 502-776-2199 today for a fast and free quote.

The doors of a shipping container

Shipping Containers: How They Are Made

Everyone relies on shipping containers – they haul goods all around the world. Shipping containers are a reliable way to transport nearly anything. So how are they designed to handle all of this work?

There’s an array of steps involved, and quite a bit of manual labor. Here’s a look at how shipping containers are built. 

1. Make Wall Panels

First, huge steel sheets are methodically cut to 8×3 feet rectangles by machines. These rectangular sheets will form the wall panels of containers. The sheets are then sandblasted and primed to remove any contaminants. Next, they are corrugated, giving them the wave-like texture that makes them so distinctive. This both helps increase their strength and makes them easier to stack. Roof panels and floor braces are made separately. Wall panels are then welded together, and square tubing is welded to the tops of wall panels.

2. Assemble Floor Frame

Next, two long I-beams are laid parallel to each other and welded to a number shorter I-beams that go between them perpendicularly. This forms a box-like frame for the floor of the container. 

3. Make Shipping Container Doors and Corner Posts

Doors are up next. Corrugated steel is cut to the proper size and welded to steel tubing around its borders; this creates a door. Each container will get two doors. Corner posts are then welded to I-beams, making a door frame. The two doors are then welded to the frame. 

4. Assemble the Shipping Containers

With all of the pieces created, it’s then time to construct the container. First, a crane lifts the door and lowers it to the floor frame, where it is installed by welding. Then, a crane lifts and slots in the wall panels, which get welded to the door, floor frame, and back wall frame. Last, the roof panel is lifted to the top of the container and welded on to complete the container’s structure. 

5. Paint and Prime

With the structure completed, the next step is to start the finishing touches. Primer is sprayed all around and inside the shipping container to make the container hold paint better, and get a slim layer of extra protection. Then, workers spray paint over the primer once it has dried. Several layers of paint are added in this fashion.

6. Fit Flooring

Keep in mind that at this point, there’s still no floor, just a frame! So, the next step is to install plywood flooring. The flooring is varnished before installation to strengthen it and prevent insects or pests from occupying the wood. Next, six finished plywood panels are fit into each container. Finally, workers drill holes around the borders of the panes and then attach them to the floor frame with steel screws.  

7. Add Decals, Identification, Logos

Any company logos or decals can be added to the sides of containers at this point. Workers apply adhesive stickers with the required designs or text. Additionally, containers are given unique identification codes, which are labelled on the outside of the container. 

8. Door finishing, Testing and Waterproofing the Shipping Containers

Workers next install locking mechanisms on container doors. They also waterproof the doors by installing seals around door edges. Next, the bottom of the container is sprayed with waterproofing sealant. 

After this, workers perform a test to ensure containers are waterproof. Containers are sprayed with water and then rigorously inspected on the interior for any signs of leaks. 

Check out this video to see all of the steps in action!

Moon Trailer Leasing offers shipping containers to companies and organizations across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. We have containers both for rent and sale. Call 502-776-2199 today for a fast and free quote.