Inspiration for a Brighter Future

Shipping Containers: Storage and Beyond


There are more than 17 million shipping containers in the world, of which 6 million of them are currently transporting goods via truck, train and vessel.

These 6 million containers make an incredible 200 million trips each year, helping to transport everything from cars to smartphones.

To give you an idea of their storage capacity, a standard 20-foot shipping container can hold 1 million pencils!

However, shipping containers are not just for transporting goods…

The Many Uses of Shipping Containers


Canadian company ATS Containers has been providing innovative storage solutions since 1992. Their 25-year history has seen them rise to become the largest provider of new, used and modified shipping containers in Canada.

Years of experience have certainly contributed to the company’s reputation, but the main reason behind their success is their unparalleled attention to detail. Every container they deliver to customers is thoroughly inspected and guaranteed to meet specific quality standards.

The company’s attention to detail extends further into a carefully designed sustainability program that reduces their environmental footprint. For example, many of their used containers are upcycled into new uses, including:

  • Art displays
  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Holiday homes
  • Mobile offices
  • Solar power stations

ATS Solar Container

Shipping containers size and strength make them ideally suited to being repurposed. Next time you see a mobile retailing outlet or a pop-up store, you may find that they’re built using an upcycled shipping container.

How ATS Containers Help the Environment


Shipping containers are greener than you may initially think.

Consider that the lifespan of a shipping container ranges anywhere from 10 years to 30 years. During this period of time, a shipping container can be used multiple times – and for multiple uses. Compared to conventional products like plastic carrier bags or corrugated boxes, shipping containers really have the edge because they carry more, and last longer. At the end of their usable life, scrap metal is saved and used to repair other shipping containers, thus prolonging those containers’ lives even further.

Repurposing shipping containers is simple because of their modular design, but it does require specialized equipment and a team of expert welders to do so. With the necessary expertise and team, it’s easy to build a mobile retailing outlet, a job site office, or any other form of enclosure.

This practice is green not only because it uses something that has already been created, but it reduces the need to build with cement and bricks, a practice that consistently harms the environment. Upcycling shipping containers is a great way to minimize their ecological footprint by avoiding sending them to landfill at the end of their transportation life.

Other practices taken by ATS Containers to reduce their environmental footprint include:

  1. Paint shipping containers with low volatility paints that reduces the spraying of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and furthers the usable life of containers by protecting their metal structures.
  2. Outsourcing a scrap metal company to pick up scraps to be molten into new uses on a weekly basis.
  3. Renting many containers instead of selling them, so they can be used multiple times.

ATS _Cafe _Container

It’s worth noting also, that due to the sheer number of shipping containers already in circulation, there is little demand to build more of them. However, when new shipping containers are required, ATS Containers builds them in an eco-friendly manner.

Shipping Containers Are the Unsung Heroes of the World


The device you are reading this article on was probably shipped to your country in a shipping container.

And that’s just for starters…

The lights in your home, the chairs in your office, and the barista machine in your local coffee shop, most likely all made their way to your country via a shipping container. In fact, 95% of the world’s cargo is transported by ships loaded with shipping containers.

And let’s not forget the environmental benefits of shipping containers…

A spokesperson from ATS Containers said:

“Shipping containers are great because you can build anything out of them. It’s cost-effective to make a few cutouts and insert doors and windows and add insulation, electrical panels and heating. The best part is that you can do all of this without compromising structural integrity. They’re great for job sites in construction zones, and you can easily move them to a new location once you’re finished.”


As this short tour has hopefully demonstrated, shipping containers are multi-purpose, eco-friendly and ultimately… pretty damn useful!

So, if you’re interested in purchasing or renting new, used or modified shipping containers – then head over to the official website of ATS Containers.


Craig J Todd

Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.

Connect with Craig via Twitter.


Craig Jonathan Todd

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2 thoughts on “Shipping Containers: Storage and Beyond
    1. Craig J Todd

      Hi Carolyn – I definitely agree with you. In fact, there seems to be more and more stories of people choosing to live in repurposed shipping containers. They’re obviously perfect for minimalistic, tiny houses.