Do Shipping Containers Rust?

Shipping container homes are made out of metal, so of course, they can rust. However, it’s not as cut and, um, dry as that. A lot of it depends on the climate where the container is located. Wet and dry climates will affect shipping containers differently.

When it comes to surface rust, however, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t necessarily indicate that the container itself is worthless. Shipping containers are designed to last and to be rugged in and out of all kinds of weather. In fact, a container marked by surface rust or rust patches can survive a storm just as well as a non-rusted, spankin’-new container.

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What is rust, anyway? For the answer, we turn to

R­ust is the common name for a very common compound, iron oxide … Iron combines very readily with oxygen — so readily, in fact, that pure iron is only rarely found in nature. Iron (or steel) rusting is an example of corrosion — an electrochemical process involving an anode (a piece of metal that readily gives up electrons), an electrolyte (a liquid that helps electrons move) and a cathode (a piece of metal that readily accepts electrons). When a piece of metal corrodes, the electrolyte helps provide oxygen to the anode. As oxygen combines with the metal, electrons are liberated. When they flow through the electrolyte to the cathode, the metal of the anode disappears, swept away by the electrical flow or converted into metal cations in a form such as rust.

That’s certainly a mouthful. For those of us who haven’t taken a chemistry course since 11th grade, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around the science of rusting. But worry not! All it really means is that things rust when they come in contact with water and air. This forms a weak carbonic acid, which begins to corrode, rust, or pit the metal.

Another point: Storage containers are designed to be airtight and watertight; they’re traversing oceans, after all. But once the containers reach dry land, this same protective air- and water-tightness can actually lead to rust. How? Poor ventilation leads to condensation, which can cause the steel container to rust. It’s why we recommend ventilating storage containers.

When the time comes that you need your container to be relocated please ask yourself the three basic questions:

  • What size of container do you need moved 9 example 10′, 20′ ,40′)
  • Is the container empty or loaded? If the loaded, what is in it and how much weight is in the container
  • Is there anything blocking the container that would prevent the relocation truck to access the container and get it loaded safely clear of obstructions ( trees, vehicles, fences, etc.)

All of this info is very important because it will determine which truck we dispatch to complete the job. There is a big difference in equipment used when moving a 10′ container compared 40′ container. We need to ensure that we have the answers to the three questions beforehand so we can send the right truck for the job. A little preparation goes a long way, nothing worse than sending the wrong truck to move a container and we can’t complete the job because of misinformation.

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