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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.

Importing and Exporting To and From the United States with Moon Shipping Containers

shipping containers coming into US ports

Millions of shipping containers enter and leave U.S. ports every year. The modular design of many shipping containers makes the vessels ideal for transport by sea, rail and truck.

Are you thinking about buying a shipping container to import or export goods to the United States? Every year millions of shipping containers enter U.S. ports. The modular design of  standard shipping containers is ideal for transport by ship with easy transition to rail or truck upon arrival in the U.S.

If you do not have experience with importing or exporting cargo, there are many rules and regulations to learn. Follow along for more information about shipping cargo in a container to the United States.

  1. Prepare To Declare Your Goods – When you ship a container of goods into the United States, you must declare the items that you are shipping to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is required to make sure that you are complying with U.S. regulations.
  2. Obtain The Required Permits And/Or Licensure – Depending on what you are shipping, you often are required to have a permit or license. Several U.S. agencies require licensure for imported goods, depending on the items that you are importing. Certain regions of the U.S. also require a special license from local government offices or states.
  3. Learn About Import Quotas – Depending on what you are shipping, certain commodities have import quotas that restrict the volume allowed to enter the U.S. in an established period of time.
  4. Contact Your Port Of Entry – Before you ship cargo to the United States, you may want to reach out of the U.S. port of entry where your items will first arrive. There are over 300 U.S. ports of entry (and this includes sea, air and land). Speaking with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import specialist can be very useful if you have any questions or concerns. Keep in mind that ports of entry also conduct inspections related to agriculture in order to protect against diseases that might damage crops, animals, and the environment more broadly.
  5. Have Answers To Common Questions – When you contact the port of entry, it’s beneficial to have information available for common questions you might be asked including the following:
    • Location where the items are from or made
    • Composition of merchandise
    • Planned use for the goods being imported
    • Pricing/value so in order to calculate shipment value
  6. Consider Working With A Licensed Customs Broker – While not a requirement, many people new to international shipping work with licensed customs brokers to help navigate the process. Customs brokers are licensed by the CBP but they are not employees of this agency. There are over 10,000 licensed customs brokers currently operating in the U.S.
  7. Make Sure To Have The Necessary Documentation – The CBP requires specific information. Before trying to import goods into the U.S. you will need to have an IRS business registration number or an importer number. If you are importing goods as an individual and you are not a business, you might be able to provide your social security number. You can request an importer number when your customs paperwork is submitted. Typically this form is needed at the port of entry.

There is a lot of important information to know regarding international cargo shipping to the United States. For answers to many more detailed questions, it is advisable to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. For additional information about purchasing a shipping container suitable for international shipment, contact Moon Trailer Leasing today. Call 502-776-2199 for details about our selection of new and used shipping containers.

Answers to 6 Frequently Asked Questions about Buying A Used Shipping Container

Buy A Used Shipping ContainerBuying A Used Shipping Container FAQs

Are you interested in buying used shipping containers? Moon Trailer Leasing has been specializing in buying and selling used shipping containers for decades. Many of our customers do not need a new shipping container. These customer typical find that a used shipping container serves their needs while also saving money.

If you are shopping around for shipping containers, you may be interested in learning more about our large selection of used shipping containers available for purchase in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions we get from people shopping around for used containers.

6 Frequently Asked Questions about Used Containers

1. What sizes do your used shipping containers come in?

We have been buying and selling used shipping containers for a very long time. Given this, our inventory includes used shipping containers in a wide variety of sizes. We offer used high cube containers and standard containers. High cube containers are about 1 foot taller and six inches wider than standard containers. They tend to be a popular choice for commercial and industrial clients. We also offer used containers that are either ground level or dock level, depending on your needs.

2. What condition are your used shipping containers in?

We sell shipping containers that are in different conditions. While all of our used shipping containers are still of high quality and built to serve as great storage units, they vary in terms of wear and tear. Some of our containers are what we would call “cargo-worthy.” This is a used cargo container that is certainly capable of storing and transporting cargo. Other used containers are what we call “one trip” containers. If you are interested in purchasing a used shipping container, we can easily describe our selection to you so that you can get a container that fully meets your storage needs.

3. What do the shipping container ratings mean in terms of A, B and C?

Companies that buy and sell used shipping containers sometimes apply different ratings to distinguish between the amount of wear and tear. This may include A, B and C ratings. It is important to note that these types of ratings are not really objective. They are based on the opinion of a particular shipping container dealer, so it is important to work with a company that has a trustworthy reputation and stands by every shipping container sale.

4. What is a used “one trip” shipping container?

A cargo container that is referred to as a “one trip container” is typically one made internationally (usually China) and shipped to the U.S. filled with cargo. After the container arrives in the U.S. it is sold, often times in “like new” condition. While one trip containers have been used, they are typically in excellent condition. Oftentimes they are free of the dings, dents, rust, markings and general wear and tear that older containers with more use have. They are also wind and water tight. These used portable storage containers have a long life ahead of them. Compared to shipping containers that have been around for a longer time, you’ll also find that the color of one trip containers is more predictable. They are usually white, tan or gray.

5. How “used” are used shipping containers?

The answer to this question varies greatly depending on where you purchase your used shipping container. We sell used shipping containers in a variety of grades and conditions. Because of this, we highly recommend a pre-purchase unit inspection in person. You are invited to come out to our storage yard and carefully inspect any storage container unit you are thinking about buying. It’s also important to note that we sell our used containers “as is” so we want you to know exactly what you are purchasing. We price our used shipping containers according to condition and as mentioned previously, all of the used shipping containers that we sell still provide excellent storage capabilities.

6. How many used cargo containers do you have for sale?

The answer to this question depends. Our inventory is constantly changing. We have been selling new and used shipping containers to companies in Kentucky and Southern Indiana for decades so we have a strong network of customers. Depending on demand, time of year, and many other factors, we have a varying number of new and used containers available for purchase. We do spend a lot of time keeping our shipping container inventory stocked so chances are we’ll have just what you need if you give us a call.

For more information about buying used shipping containers from Moon Trailer Leasing in Louisville, Kentucky, give us a call today at 502-776-2199. We’d be glad to answer any of the questions that you have. And if you’re interested we’ll also be happy to schedule a day and time for you to stop by our Louisville conex box storage yard to show you our current inventory.