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What Makes a Great Shipping Container?

At Port Containers USA, we have drawn on the half century of trial-and-error that has gone into producing the ubiquitous shipping containers we see at docks all over the world today, to bring you our own class-leading range, in a variety of sizes and configurations to suit your cargo.

The Miracle of Cor-ten® Steel

The metallurgical DNA that underpins all our shipping containers is termed ‘weathering steel’, best known in the industry by its brand name of Cor-ten® steel. The unique properties of this resilient alloy make it perfect for sea-container manufacture. It’s also used widely in other industries, including construction, where exposure to the elements is expected, and even in the art world for outdoor sculptures.

Port Containers USA-Containers for sale-Corten steel colour chart

If left unpainted, Cor-ten® steel is corrosion-resistant and goes through a natural, oxidizing process from yellow to dark brown over a period of years, due to its unique composition, which includes chromium, nickel and copper.

The advantage of this oxidization process is that shipping container panels form a stable coating that inhibits further rust and significantly extends the life of the product, when compared to regular carbon steel (some studies have shown double the resistance period once the layer is fully established). Ideally, Cor-ten® requires alternate wet and dry cycles to properly develop its protective layer, which makes it ideal for use in most American regions with their varied rainfall patterns. Exposure to rain, snow and other moisture increases the rate that the beneficial, rust coating forms.

The Science Behind the Process

Many are simply happy that their shipping Conex boxes‘ lives are significantly prolonged, thanks to the miracle of Cor-ten® but we understand that other customers would appreciate a physical understanding of the process. This is best explained by pointing out that the oxide structure forms two distinct layers. Imagine the inner layer being primarily comprised of densely packed particles (mostly goethite) that stick firmly to the steel; while the outer layer is more dynamic, constantly changing and termed ‘non-adherent’. Its composition commonly includes lepidocrocite and magnetite, among others. The main advantage of this protective patina is that water molecules find it a real struggle to penetrate as far as the inner steel substrate of the shipping container. It also resists flaking and eventually forms a stable colour that many find attractive and architects have incorporated into many striking buildings.

Further Characteristics of the Ideal Shipping Container

Port Containers USA’s sea-containers are built to last with welded, corrugated steel panels used throughout, be they insulated, high cube or refrigerated. Most feature forklift pockets, grappler pockets and gooseneck tunnels for ease of loading and unloading.

Flooring is made from reinforced plywood or timber planking that can be specified by the client on ordering. Both are resistant to the inevitable denting from heavy loads and provide friction to help prevent cargo movement during transit. In many cases insecticide is used on the timber, to comply with the strict import regulations imposed by many countries.

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