Container’s life expectancy? Shipping containers are built to last. Their specific structure and materials allow them to resist an arduous life of frequent use traveling around the world without suffering major damages.
This “boxes” are made with Cor-ten steel. This type of steel has a chemical composition that protects against corrosion. Even when gets rusty, it creates a superficial film that prevents water or steam from penetrating into the container space.
Shipping containers also have corrosion-resistant coatings that assure extra durability to environmental conditions and extreme temperatures between -40°C and 70°C.
With all these features, a new shipping container for storage has a life expectancy of 20 years. However, with a frequent use and no maintenance, this period could reduce between 7 and 14 years.
This could reduce the shipping container’s life expectancy:
Ricard Marí Sagarra (2003) on his book explains that container’s life expectancy depends on:
- The quality of building materials: As we previously said, containers are made of steel, wood and protective coatings. Some manufacturers started to produce lower quality containers with an even lower price. This shortens life expectancy.
- Container’s maintenance: As time goes by, maintenance work should be carried out in order to ensure safety. Everything related to container’s structure is more expensive to repair than internal damages, followed by damages to the container’s appearance.
- Climatological variables: Humidity excess, the sun exposure, and other variables can produce accelerated wear of the container. The corrosion could lead to holes on the container’s surface that could affect cargo’s wellbeing.
- Container’s handling: Some terminals do not have proper facilities for container care. Using the incorrect equipment to move the units during transport, loading and unloading could lead to damages such as deformations, cracks or fissures that turn into corrosion problems.
Nowadays, the price of a new 20 ft shipping container is between US $3000 and $3500, while a used one could cost between US$1500 and $2000 depending on its condition.
In the case of any damages caused to the intermodal unit during its useful period, this represents important economic losses for both the merchandise and the shipping container to the shipping line or leasing company. That´s why it is extremely important to protect this capital with an insurance policy that covers the damages caused to the container and the cargo.
Remember that your container’s policy should cover not only damages on board but also any unexpected situations when the container remains on land.
Extend your shipping container’s life expectancy!