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40+ Shipping Container Applications

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Shipping containers have many practical applications, not the least of which is affordable housing and modular home building. They are inexpensive, readily available, and extremely versatile. They are relatively easy to move to just about any location around the world. These attributes make the list of shipping container applications nearly endless. 

If you’ve been a reader of Off Grid World for a while, you know we are big fans of upcycling shipping containers and turning them into homes. But they have so much potential for other uses. If you need a nearly-indestructible, mobile box, a shipping container just might do the trick. 

Following is a long list of applications and industries where shipping containers have been used:

40+ Shipping container applications

  • Homeless shelters
  • Solar cabins
  • Affordable housing – This shipping container home on wheels is a beautiful example of how a steel container can be transformed into a comfortable, affordable living space.
  • Press boxes
  • Emergency hurricane shelters for thoroughbred horses
  • Stores
  • Moveable exhibition spaces on rails
  • Telco hubs 
  • Concession stands and food trucks – Shipping containers are the ideal size and shape to be used as food trucks and concession stands. 
  • Medical clinics
  • Radar stations
  • Shopping malls
  • Sleeping rooms
  • Fire training facility
  • Military training facility
  • School buildings – In Malawi, South Africa, shipping container homes are used as building blocks for schools. They are also equipped with solar panels to provide power to the schools. 
  • Apartment and office buildings
  • Artists’ studios
  • Modular data centers (e.g. Project Blackbox, Portable Modular Data Center)
  • Experimental labs
  • Hotels
  • Emergency shelters
  • Urban homes
  • Rural homes – A couple in Australia built this home out of shipping containers for a life completely off the grid. 
  • Bank vaults
  • Recording studios
  • Abstract art
  • Transportable factories
  • Clandestine cannabis gardens
  • Combatant temporary containment (ventilated)
  • Bathrooms
  • Showers
  • Workshops – This wood-clad shipping container workshop is finished with a unique, whimsical facade and living roof. 
Shipping container workshop

Shipping container workshop with living roof via Fair Companies 

  • Intermodal sealed storage on ships, trucks, and trains
  • House foundations on unstable seismic zones
  • Elevator/stairwell shafts
  • Roadblocks to keep protesters away
  • Construction trailers
  • Mine site accommodations
  • Exploration camp
  • Lounge viewing deck
Shipping container applications



40' Shipping Container

This list is not all-inclusive and is limited only to the imagination of the builder. Shipping containers are truly the perfect building blocks for these applications and more. 

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Shipping container applications