Shipping Container Structure: A Brief Breakdown

 In Agriculture, Customization, Education, Military Storage, Mobile Medical facilities, Modify, Office, Oil Field Housing, Portable Office, Rent, Shelter, Shipping containers, Transportation

So you’ve been looking into utilizing shipping containers as an alternative storage option for your construction or remote industrial site… or perhaps you have been researching their structure to repurpose as an office, home or classroom. Fundamental components to the design of a shipping container provide an extremely secure and durable structure for a variety of uses.

A shipping container’s strength, adaptability and relatively low expense make them perfect for…

  • Apartments / Studios
  • Affordable Housing
  • Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Music Recording Studios
  • Training Facilities
  • Storefronts
  • Medical Units
  • Emergency Shelters
  • Additional Storage
  • Modular Data Centers
  • Workshops
  • Remote Site Accommodations

shipping container office


Here are a few details about the architecture of a shipping container to contribute to your knowledge about the structure’s reliability and adaptability.


The load-carrying segments of these containers are made of steel profiles – the frame, the bottom cross members and the bottom side rails. The walls of the containers are constructed from weather resistant corrugated steel, and the flooring is typically made from plywood with glass fiber-reinforced plastic coating.


shipping container storage boxes

Tare Weight

40-foot container – 8,300 pounds

20-foot container – 5,100 pounds


Payload Capacity

40-foot container – 61,200 pounds

20-foot container – 55,126 pounds


Architecture At A Glance

  • The four corner posts, two bottom side rails, two topside rails, two bottom cross members, front top end rail and door header create a secure steel framework.
  • Additional bottom cross members are fitted between the bottom side rails to serve as extra support for the floor covering.
  • A shipping container’s eight corner castings are extremely strong. They absorb the forces which lock the units in place when they are stacked on top of one another during handling and transport
  • Shipping containers possess a rigid skeleton because of their original function – to be transported across the seas, stacked 8 or 9 containers high.

shipping container four dimensions


Referred to as “cargotecture,” the use of shipping containers as construction elements has becoming increasingly popular, but they have always been used as reliable structures for storage and small, movable offices or classrooms.

Shipping containers provide an eco-friendly alternative to traditional methods of building. Their mobility, durability and low cost make them the most cost-efficient option for a variety of structural needs. Contact our experts at Saf-T-Box to get your next shipping container project started.



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