Shipping container manufacturing process explained

Container manufacturing in Germany

In the world today, when every item gets transported through maritime shipping containers, most of us still don’t know what they are, what the shipping container manufacturing process is, how they help us in moving goods and make them reach us on time!

Cargo containers are an inevitable and indispensable part of human life. Since 1956, they have been helping us by transporting our favorite items to us. Earlier, it was really difficult and near to impossible to move goods and if they were perishables, then there was no way one could transport them. But with their invention, they eased our lives from being in the backdrop. Starting from standard shipping containers to today’s different container types curated for different specific purposes, they have evolved a lot.

Let’s see the shipping container manufacturing process to know how they are constructed.


For those who think that steel shipping containers are constructed from machines only, it will be surprising that the manufacturing process needs quite a lot of hard labor work. The manufacturing process of cargo boxes involves the steps below:

Wall panel construction

The first step is the construction of shipping container wall panels for which the large steel, aluminum, or corten steel sheets are cut through laser technology. They go through the sand-blasting process which helps in removing the dust particles or other residues. The corrugation process starts then to add strength to the panels. This stamping process adds a wave-like texture to the walls. To give them a frame, the laborers weld it in a tubular frame.

Floor construction

Shipping container floors are made by assembling two longer I-beams that are kept perpendicular to each other. To give it a slab-like base, the smaller beam is welded among the longer beams. The personnel then sands the floor using a flap disc angle grinder. This eliminates the possibility of rough joints. The frame is then treated with FDA-approved chemicals like pesticides, anti-decomposing agents, and others. This saves the wooden flooring that will be attached later on the floor panel from decomposing, safety against pests, and increases the lifetime of container floors.

Doors and corner posts construction

Shipping container doors are made from corrugated steel that is cut into the needed sizes. The cut steel sheet is then wrapped with square steel tubes. After this, the laborers install the door on the floor frame, and wall panels are joined after the doors. Then all the elements: corner posts, doors, and the floor is welded by keeping them together. The roof is installed at the last thus, giving a complete structure to the box. Later the doors are sealed with rubber seals that stop the water from entering inside the box while traveling. The box is fitted with a container lock mechanism.

The cargo container finalization

After setting it all up, the box is finally near to completion. By using cranes the frame of doors is lifted up and put on the top of the frame of the floor. After welding door panels, the laborers weld the wall, then comes the roof of the shipping box.

Priming and painting

Till now only the canvas is ready which has all the structure but is still not presentable. Now it moves to the part where it goes for being presentable. Firstly priming is done in which the container is sprayed with the first layer of the paint. With this layer, the laborers ensure that the next coat sticks on the freight container and it also provides an extra layer of security from rust, corrosion, and other damages. After priming, several layers of paints are sprayed so that the maritime container doesn’t get affected by water, sea salt, heat, rain, and other elements for long.

Wooden floor addition

Waterproofing of the bottom floor is carried out and the cargo container floor panel is sprayed with the varnish that saves the wood from getting damaged, due to pests, water, or the goods that are kept in the box. The pressure-treated wooden frame is then put on top of the floor frame and the laborers screw the floor panels with the steel panel.

Shipping container decals, logos, and identification


Now, the companies can add their decals, logos, or any unique identification codes as the steel shipping containers are totally ready. The unique identification code allows the cargo units to travel locally and internationally. It has 11 alphanumeric characters that have a meaning of their own. Let’s see what they mean:

  • The 1st three letters signify the identity of the owner company of the cargo box.
  • The 4th letter is a product group code like J, U, or Z, they signify
  • J – The equipment that is going to be attached to the box.
  • U – Maritime Container
  • Z – The trailer that is transporting the box After that till 10th character from the 5th makes the serial number that the container owner assigns. This serial number is the identity of the box.
  • The last character, the 11th one, is there to verify the last 10 characters. This is also known as the check digit.

After this, the labeling of the freight box is carried out.

Waterproofing and testing

Last, but not least the metal shipping container is sprayed with the waterproof sealant from inside to be totally foolproof. Then tests are carried out to see there are no leaks or defects.

And finally, the shipping container manufacturing process is complete.

So, after knowing about the process, if you want to buy shipping containers then you can contact LOTUS Containers. We are one of the largest shipping container companies in the world and provide an ample amount of boxes available in distinct container dimensions and types. From the dry van, pallet wide, reefer, to platform and others, we have a wide range of them to fulfill all your international project-related tasks and needs. We offer high cube variants, 6.10mm or 20ft, 12.19m or 40ft shipping containers in California, Omaha, and other parts of the USA and the world.