Container News

Shipping Containers: Mislead Idea #1

Idea: I’d like the container moved to my property, then I’ll gradually load it, then I’d like you to come back three months later and move it to my “alternate location”.

Problem: Sure, the shipping container can be moved to location A with no problems. We run into the problem when the trucking company returns to pick the unit up. You’ll need a fork lift or crane on site that can pick it up and put it on the chassis or flatbed, and most people don’t have this type of equipment on site. At this point the project needs to be revised around this obstacle.

Moving Shipping Containers: Mislead Idea #2

Idea: I’m in the planning phase and need two 40′ containers delivered to my vacant lot in the mountains. I’d like them placed in a hole (which may or may not be dug out yet), and I don’t have a fork lift or crane on site.

Problem: A truck driver with a roll off truck doesn’t need a fork lift, but no matter how skilled he is he can’t drop a container of any size in a hole; and for that matter neither can a fork lift. We’re happy to sell you any number of containers, but would also like to see your project be successful. If this is your goal it’s best to have your holes cleared out, contact a local crane operator that’s cost effective enough to be affordable, but large enough to get the job done properly, and have the containers delivered on the same day on a flatbed truck or chassis (which tends to have a cheaper per mile cost than a roll off).

Burying Shipping Containers: Mislead Idea #1

Idea: I’d like to bury my shipping container shelter so that no one can see it.

Problem: On the surface, it’s a great idea and I’d like to do it myself. The sides of shipping containers aren’t designed to hold or support weight for an extended period of time. You’ll need to investigate a way to keep the pressure off the walls of the container. For an idea, read the article on using Gabion baskets to bury a shipping container.

Burying Shipping Containers: Mislead Idea # 2

Idea: I’d like to bury my container shelter completely, and have a few feet of soil on top of the unit.

Problem: Just as the walls of a shipping container aren’t designed to hold weight, neither is the roof. Shipping containers are designed to carry their weight in the corner posts, which makes stacking them easier. Think of it like this: Take a piece of plywood and stack two bricks on top of each other under each of the four corners. If you stand in the middle what happens? The result is cracked plywood. The roof of a container will do the same thing given enough time and pressure. If you are fixed on doing this you’ll need to find a way to truss out the top of the unit and keep some of the pressure off the roof, or just not bury it as deep.

Retrofitting a Shipping Container: Mislead Idea #1

Idea: I’m going to buy a container, then stop over at home depot and buy a door and a couple of windows to put in it.

Problem: This can be done, but standard window and door frames aren’t designed for this use, and will require a fair amount of effort to make it work. Containers tend to flex a little, so the frames need to be sensitive to this, as does the seal of the window and the door locks. There are a few suppliers of doors and windows that are specifically designed for shipping containers. Drop us an email and we’ll send you the details (the one we use the most doesn’t have a website yet).


Using containers for a fallback or bug out shelter is a great idea, and done more frequently all the time. As with any project, a strong shipping container shelter takes planning and dedication; and the end product is very rewarding and secure. If you have any questions about buying, moving, or using shipping containers as survival shelters feel free to ask us.

*While most questions are grounded in honest reality, the most concerning one that our staff and industry colleagues couldn’t answer (or wouldn’t – for legal reasons), was “I have a family of four, and a dog. If something happens and my family and I are sealed into a container with supplies, how long can we survive on the air in a 20′ vs. 40′ container?”

If you want more information on containers, contact Rolando @AZ Containers at 602-723-9608.



Here is an interesting project using shipping containers for low cost housing in Detroit. I think it is an attempt to help rebuild the economy in Detroit. Let's wait and see how this plays out. 

An unusual home taking shape inside General Motors' sprawling Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant is intended to be part of a movement to rebuild the city's economy and deteriorating, disappearing housing stock. Skilled-trades workers, taking breaks from their tasks at the factory that produces the electric Chevrolet Volt and other vehicles, dart in and out to do door, window and wall installation and framing, as well as electrical and plumbing work. Meanwhile, a nonprofit urban farming group is preparing property a few miles away that will welcome the project, what's believed to be the city's first occupied shipping container homestead. Come spring, the house-in-progress will be delivered to Detroit's North End neighborhood and secured on a foundation where a blighted home once stood. After finishing touches and final inspections, the 40-foot-long former container will feature 320 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, and will serve as home base for a university-student caretakers of a neighborhood farm and agricultural research activities.

I'm not sure what they do here . . . Maybe showcase container projects around the world and/or build all kinds of commercial and residential structures for people anywhere.

A green technology informational resource website that is dedicated to providing resources and educational information to those interested in developing building projects using shipping containers. The goal is to create awareness, and to showcase projects and ideas on the variety of uses that re-purposed, recycled industrial shipping containers can be used for as the basic building components for residential and commercial use. Remarkably versatile, durable and cost-effective, container structures can be quickly arranged into a variety of innovative configurations and architectural designs.

Contact Rolando at AZ Containers at 877-292-6937 to see how the most basic steel box to a customized, climate controlled storage or workspace with windows, they’ll have your solution on it’s way to you fast.


This listing takes you to a company in the country of Turkey and they appear to be a very large operation. They sell used containers, do container repair & modification. They can set up entire camps using shipping containers. They operate a number of websites. The picture below is of one of their creations, and one which I like a lot. 

Ozturk Container Company Industry and Trade Ltd. is one of the most experienced and well-developed companies in the production of containers Army Accommodation Demountable containers and Standards, Office containers, ISO containers Hauling, Shelters, Prefabricated buildings, containers generator, water treatment containers, Steel Construction Buildings, GSM Security containers.

If you want more information on containers, contact Rolando @AZ Containers at 602-723-9608.

I ran across this article about small locally grown produce in the country of Cuba while searching for something else and thought it would be a good addition to AZ NEWS. This is a good example of how someone could use shipping containers for selling locally grown produce, something which in my opinion needs to be done a lot more in the US. Actually, some of you who are unemployed might consider small time farming or container farming and selling produce to make some extra cash, maybe at a local farmers market, I'm talking about potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, kale, lettuce, squash, onions, radish & broccoli.


If you want more information on containers, contact Rolando @AZ Containers at 602-723-9608.

You have used containers at work or during building a home.  You love to hunt.  You don’t have a cabin on your land.  Enter – the conex box.  Drop a container on your land, add in a door and some windows and you have a perfect hunting retreat.  Whether it is just a basic spot to base camp, or a complete man-cave, conex boxes offer all the flexibility and ruggedness to be a perfect hunting cabin.

You can insulate them, add in heat (or cooling, or both), add in features that make the cabin perfect for you.  It might be the ultimate get-away cabin for the guys or it might be a snug, welcoming place to bring your kids and grandchildren to teach them how to hunt.

If you want more information on containers, contact Rolando @AZ Containers at 602-723-9608.

You know you need a lot of dry, safe storage, but just how much is enough?  Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know:

1)      How much stuff do you have? Size up what you actually need to store.  The most common sizes of containers are :

20’ - 20’ x 8’ x 8’6” – or 1,169 cubic feet

40’ standard - 40’ x 8’ x 8’6” – or 2,385 cubic feet

40’ high cube - 40’ x 8’ x 9’6” – or 2,690 cubic feet

High cubes are nice if you are thinking about living in a container.  The internal height of a standard container is 7’8.5”, and a high cube is 8’8.5”.  Over time, you will feel that height difference.

Do one of these seem like enough to fit what you have?  If not, think about specialty sizes, but keep in mind that the cost on those containers adds up – bigger, more specialized trucks are required to deliver them and they may have to come from further away.

2)      Are you going to move the container around? If the answer to this is yes, think small.  A 20’ container weighs 5,000 pounds when it is empty, but is still small enough and light enough to be mobile.  20’ containers can be moved on a variety of trucks and even when they are full, can be moved by very heavy duty forklifts.Once you jump up to a 40’ container, you will need a larger truck for moving it and when they are full, you will need a crane to lift the container on and off the truck.  Cranes mean money.  So even if you need the space of 40’s, think about 20’s.

3)       Are you going to ship the container overseas? If yes, even though the container is moving around, think about the 40’ or the 40’ high cube.  Usually there is a minimal extra cost to the larger size and you get to send more per cubic foot.  However, the delivery issues listed above still apply.  To get around this, most freight forwarders will pick up your container from a depot, bring it to you for loading, you load it while it stays on the truck, then they deliver it to the rail or port to ship.

4)      Do you have enough space to accommodate the size you want? Containers are delivered on tilt-bed trucks when you ask for ground-level delivery.  This means that the truck will back into the spot you want the container.  The back of the truck tips down and there is a winch on the truck to lower the container off of the bed of the truck and start setting it on the ground.  Then the driver pulls forward and finished setting the 

container on the ground with the winch.  All of this works beautifully – if you have enough space.  For a 40’ container, you will generally need 110-120’ of a straight, relatively flat area.  For a 20’ – 100’.  And don’t forget that the truck has to get to that spot.  Make sure you think about how the driver will pull in and pull out of your site.  Think about how firm and flat the ground is because delivering a container involves more physics than driving a truck across a ground.

5)      Do you still need more or less space? If you need more space, there are larger containers – 45’, 48’ and 53’ containers.  They are not available in all markets and require larger trucks than 40’s, so be prepared for additional costs.

If you need less space, containers can be cut down for an additional fee.  Generally this process will add an extra $2000 dollars and the containers will still be delivered on the same truck.

If course this won’t answer everyone’s question on sizes.  Give us a call if you want to discuss it further! Contact Rolando at AZ Containers at 877-292-6937 to see how the most basic steel box to a customized, climate controlled storage or workspace with windows, they’ll have your solution on it’s way to you fast.



    •    Come ready to use

    •    Relatively cheap

    •    Delivered exactly where you want it

    •    No building permit issues

    •    Many customization options (paint, doors, windows, vents, lights, shelving, etc.)

    •    Indestructible (14-gauge corrugated weatherizing steel)

    •    Highly secure

    •    Hardwood floors with steel support beams

    •    Big enough for cars, boats, contents of 3-bedroom house

    •    Moveable

    •    Use for storage or for housing

    •    Fixed height and width (8’ wide x 20’ or 40’ long)

    •    Costs higher in some locations (usually  due to delivery more than anything else)

    •    Some zoning issues

You know your storage situation best. 

If you want more information on containers, contact Rolando @AZ Containers at 602-723-9608.

So what happened to that oversupply of containers and the container prices you were hoping for?  The promises you have heard of free containers being handed out at the ports?  The dream of a “cheap, used, battered up container for next to nothing”?  A couple of things have happened:

A) When the economy tanked in 2008, shipping lines took ships off the water.  There was less demand, so this made sense.  But then they had containers all over the world and had to pay storage on those containers.  So they sold them.  If you bought a container in early 2009 or before, pricing was great!  Containers were plentiful and wonderful!  But then they ran out.  With fewer ships moving, containers being sold, the oversupply turned into a shortage.

B) Meanwhile, fewer new containers were being built.  Due to many factors between the container manufacturers, steel providers, shipping lines and many others, fewer new containers were manufactured in 2008-2010.  This means as that shipping lines were selling off their existing equipment, they were not replenishing it.

C) More people want containers.  Containers are wonderful!  They can be used for so many things from basic storage to housing.  You really are only limited by your imagination for the possible uses of containers.  With all these new uses, came increased demand worldwide.

Photo Left: Summer 2010         Photo Right: December 2010

D) The economy picked up.  At least in shipping.  The shipping lines have been increasing their number of ships on the water.  That is great news!  Except if you want a container.  Since there were fewer containers out there in the shipping lines’ fleets, and higher demand, they sold far fewer than normal.  Which means the supply doesn’t meet the demand for used containers.

E)   The end result – prices increased from 2009 through now.  While the shipping lines and leasing lines are increasing their fleets, containers are being made and things will even out again, there still are not as many containers available as there once were.  This has driven the price of containers up.  All industry projections indicate that they will stay this way for some time to come as the situation did not happen overnight, nor can it change back overnight.

But I see a ton of containers when I drive by the port or rail yard!

Yes, you do.  But that doesn’t mean they are available for sale.  The shipping lines and leasing lines use those containers for shipping goods overseas.  Containers are used over and over again throughout their life cycle.  You are probably seeing containers either full of goods about to be shipped somewhere or coming in from somewhere, or you are seeing the empty containers being prepped to be filled and shipped out.

Contact Rolando at AZ Containers at 877-292-6937 to see how the most basic steel box to a customized, climate controlled storage or workspace with windows, they’ll have your solution on it’s way to you fast.

Keith W. Tantlinger invented a very small thing that had a very big impact.  He invented the twist-lock corner to containers. This simple device allows containers to be stacked and locked together on ships or locked down onto a truck.

While that doesn't seem like inventing fire, it has had an enormous impact on all of our lives.  By creating an efficient way to stack containers that can be loaded in one location, sent by truck or rail to a port, shipped overseas, travel by truck or rail to a destination - all without unloading the container - opened new possibilities.  It opened the door to globalization.

So when you enjoy food from across the globe, find imported goods at a reasonable rate, or export goods overseas, that was made possible by one small invention that revolutionized the shipping industry.

Mr. Tantlinger invented the corner casting and twist locks in the 1950's.  He passed away on Aug. 29, 2011.