Proper maintenance and repair of shipping containers help improve the life expectancy of shipping containers and utilise them to their fullest potential. The risk of cargo damage increases if shipping containers are not maintained regularly. It could lead to a significant loss of time and money for traders. An adequately maintained shipping container helps in reaping better profits and keeps the cargo integrity intact. The blog incorporates a list of maintenance tips for shipping containers that help keep shipping containers healthy.
Characteristics of a healthy shipping container
Shipping containers are durable boxes made from corten steel to withstand turbulence and pressure during transportation and handling. A healthy cargo container is well-maintained and routinely repaired for any faults. Container health also depends on whether the container is new or used. Shipping container companies can utilise used containers for years, depending on the level of container maintenance and procedural check-ups followed to keep them intact. A container in the proper condition would be-
- Weather resistant
- Free from holes
- Low or no wear and tear
- No or fixed up rusting issues
- Properly aligned door seals
- Well-maintained and routinely inspected and repaired
Importance of container health
Shipping containers have been a boon for the logistics industry for decades. They are globally utilised in transporting goods to reap heavier profits in the trade business. Traders invest heavily in securing premium quality and durable container fleets. The health of the shipping container ensures cargo safety and reduces the chances of cargo damage due to any leakage, contamination, or durability issues. It further helps in saving money and time lost in shipping damaged cargo. Regular or routine container check-ups and procedures to maintain their health helps in improving container efficiency and lifespan.
The lifespan of a shipping container
Shipping containers are built from weathering steel to provide additional durability and increase life expectancy. Their life expectancy depends on how they are used, where they are used, and the conditions they are subjected to. Containers in the maritime industry are exposed to humidity and moisture and therefore run greater chances of corrosion. The lifespan of shipping containers is around 25 years; if the maintenance tips for shipping containers are followed thoroughly, it can go beyond that. Used containers can be utilised for about 10-12 years in the maritime industry and can be retired and recycled as storage for dry cargo or commercial spaces.
Factors affecting container health
For multiple reasons, shipping containers can wear out and become less productive before their standard life span.
- Excess of alterations – Too much cutting, welding and changing parts of the container can hamper the container’s structural durability and integrity. Cutting of container walls for extra customisations and modifications should be done only when it is necessary.
- Corrosion – The shipping containers must be elevated from the ground to avoid moisture retention, leading to rusting and damaging container floors.
- Improper Stacking – Containers must be stacked by the corners instead of putting them diagonally on top of each other. Containers are heavy boxes with weak roofs that cannot bear the load of another container. The corners of containers are well-built and responsible for maintaining container integrity.
- Seasonal changes – Containers should be checked semi-annually, especially during summers and winters when weather conditions grow highly harsh. They must be stored in an appropriate environment to prevent cargo damage due to container rain.
Top 5 maintenance tips for shipping containers
Here are a few tips to remember and follow to increase the lifespan of shipping containers.
- Regular cleaning – Containers must be cleaned regularly to avoid the accumulation of dust, dirt, debris and foul smell. Regular cleaning ensures a good and tidy space ready to store cargo whenever needed. Using chemicals such as bleach solutions helps kill bacteria, while repellant sprays remove pests formations, minimising the chances of contamination.
- Prioritise ventilation – High-quality containers have ventilation vents to avoid moisture retention and dingy conditions. It also helps in temperature regulation. Ventilation can also be improved by opening the container doors to regulate airflow. Proper ventilation helps maintain cargo life and quality.
- Temperature regulation – The external environment often affects the container’s internal health. Therefore, cargo containers must have an inbuilt temperature control heating or cooling system. It is to get rid of excess heat or cold, which could cause the steel to expand and contract causing tears in the container.
- Avoid corrosion – Used containers often have dents caused due to stacking. It increases the chances of water accumulation in the dents, rusting, and corrosion. Therefore, scratching, repairing and treating the cuts with rust-proof paint can help avoid corrosion. Keeping the containers away from water and moisture is necessary.
- Use Lubricants – You must well lubricate the hinges of windows and doors to avoid damage and wear due to repetitive use. The locking bar and seals must also be checked and replaced whenever necessary. If appropriately maintained, it takes at least ten years before the container doors become tight and difficult to be sealed shut completely.
The above-listed maintenance tips for shipping containers help keep their integrity and increase their lifespan. This way, consumers can utilise the containers to their fullest.
LOTUS Containers is a leading provider of durable shipping containers. We market new and used shipping containers at affordable prices.